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veen  ·  65 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2023  ·  x 3

I no longer have a girlfriend…

…because I now have a fiancée! We’re currently on holiday in the Italian Alps. When I mentioned our plans for our summer vacation to kleinbl00 he went “you know, being proposed to on a lake in Como is pretty storybook” and I was like “you’re not wrong that’s for sure”. Proposing had until that point been an idea for a future day, but we’re still going strong after five oftentimes turbulent years.

So after finally finding a ring two days before we left, carrying it in my camera bag where she wouldn’t have any reason to look around in, finding to a gorgeous green lakeside pergola in a beautiful village on Lake Como, and her mentioning how romantic this place is, I tell her I’d love to make a video of us with my new camera to capture this wonderful place and go down on one knee. She was completely surprised and elated. (And she loves the ring! Phew.)

I’m still surprised it worked out as well as it did. I even got the video exactly the way I hoped. Not that that matters too much, but it’s the cherry on the cake that I got both the composition right as well as the technical settings that I wanted (6.2K, 30fps, shutter at 1/60 with my variable ND filter and the Eterna Fuji film setting). It helps that my new Fuji camera has been a joy to (learn to) shoot with.

kleinbl00  ·  79 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Titan Submersible Was “an Accident Waiting to Happen”  ·  


My wife was a midwife and naturopathic doctor in Westside LA. We're talking APEX woo. And we had a kid, and we were in with the Apex woo community, like "our friend the birth assistant was pretty much the impetus for Ricki Lake making a whole documentary about this nonsense."

So the kid needed baby swim lessons. How hard could it be? Well see there's "go to the YMCA in Compton" swim lessons but then there's "I think I can get you into Dolphinsgate" swim lessons. "I think I can get you in?"

Yeah. Turns out there's an interview process. You have to go to a "discovery session" with this weird Swedish or Austrian lady, at her house. And you don't get to do that unless you're vouched for. So... okay. We'll go to the "discovery session" at this lady's house. Which is in Venice, right there in the section where the houses are like two million dollars but the roads are dirt. It's fuckin' wild. You're a frickin' block off the Pacific Coast Highway and they've just never bothered to put down tarmac, and there's no parking, and there's like two dozen of you milling around because you were told to be here at ten on a Tuesday which is super convenient and it's twenty after and the weird Swedish lady opens the gate to the back yard and is that an above-ground pool?

So now we're all gathered around in a tiny back yard between the yurt and the Bubba Bucket and we're standing under a fig tree and no, we're not, we've been requested to form a circle and be seated and the weird Swedish lady has this giant embroidered Hindu pillow and you don't. And the singing bowl comes out and there's some sort of weird chant that we're all expected to participate in? And she's talking about some fuckin' discovery chakra thing and now we're going to talk about our traumatic birth stories?

Oh god. Yes we are. We're going 'round the circle while uncomfortable men hold their wife's hand while she nurses and tells you about how the trauma of having a baby in a room where the walls were a different color of taupe than what you had in your birth plan and we're just sort of riffing off each other and it's like noon? We've been talking about this shit for two hours? And hey, looks like we're done talking, I wonder if we can -

"And you? What is your traumatic birth story?"

Bitch is looking at me, not my wife? "yeah so my wife is a midwife and naturopathic doctor, we had the baby at home, it took like a couple hours, pretty much smooth sailing, sorry it sucked for everybody else?" 'cuz it's not like my wife can say shit, we've sat through 90 minutes of random strangers slagging on her competition? So I guess we drop the mic?

That was some awkward fuckin' silence, and the weird Swedish or Austrian lady just sorta stares? As if I'm somehow going to draw this out? She turns to my wife who just sorta shakes her head?

"So now it is time to watch the introductory video?" and she gestures us into the yurt and it's been two hours and now there's 20 of us squished into a 15-foot yurt and there's a thirteen inch CRT TV-DVD player combo in the Year of Our Lord 2014 and she slips in one of those purple "burned on my iMac" DVDs and John Tesh peals out and it's Nirvana's Nevermind cover for 20 minutes.

Naked babies. Naked babies everywhere. Nothing but naked babies. Yeah see Dolphins Gate teaches your kid how to swim successfully and safely by making them swim naked, none of that swim diaper bullshit here, just John Tesh and naked frolicking babies and then the credits roll and I'm doing my level best to keep my eyes in my skull and then Color by Technicolor crawls up and I am ALMOST LOSING IT and we somehow get out of there without me ROFLING myself into oblivion and I turn to my wife and say "well at least we don't have to worry about going there" because there is no. way. in HELL they'll let us in after that and frankly isn't that really for the best?

but no two days later we get an email telling us "we made the cut" and at this point I figure this is the most fuckin' LA Story experience we've had this year because fuckin' hell naked baby swimming in a bubba bucket in Venice is fuckin' amazing and since it's free because apparently my wife is all that sure this will make great stories. Color by Technicolor are you shitting me.

So I take the kid to her first swim lesson. Which is super-ultra-culty because parents aren't allowed to hang out it kills the vibe? And bitch is always late and the other person who showed up early and I are talking and I compliment her baby carrier because this is what you do and we talk a little bit and I mention that my wife has been looking at stuff and there's like this weird baby carrier culture in LA where women are paying like $1800 for a frickin' used baby carrier and the lady says 'this one cost me $3500' and I really have nothing to say to that but we soldier on because she showed up in an AMG somethinghuge and i'm driving a '95 Dodge and then the gate opens 15 minutes late and i get to stay long enough to "initiate" my kid through the singing bowl dolphin chant and then I have to leave? And come back when they're done?

And the kid is like 2 so you can't really ask her how things were but you try and she says "bobby pooped." And she gets an ear infection, and you treat it. And you get into this weird-ass routine of abandoning your naked baby in a bubba bucket off a dirt road in Venice in front of AMGs and hearing about someone else pooping and that can't be right, how much are they changing the damn water, that's gotta be expensive and she gets another ear infection, and you treat it, and isn't it nice that Mr. High Priced Crazy Pediatrician is comping you all your care because apparently your wife is all that and then your wife

reads on Facebook

That Austrian-Swedish lady is having to shut down Dolphinsgate because the Venice Health Department found dangerous levels of e.coli in the water and every time your daughter says "x pooped" plays back in your head and you take your kid to the Compton YMCA where she's one of two white people and she learns to swim and never has another ear infection ever again but goddamn your two best LA stories are Dolphinsgate and Goat Yoga and you think I'm joking about all this but Constanzia will still take your money.

kleinbl00  ·  120 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The War in Ukraine Was Provoked—and Why That Matters to Achieve Peace  ·  

    George Orwell wrote in 1984 that "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." Governments work relentlessly to distort public perceptions of the past.

Governments are not the only ones, of course, but they are certainly the greatest practitioners. The term of art is "active measures", a direct translation of the term used by the Cheka. The first active measures campaign was The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a badly transliterated version of a diatribe against Napoleon III riven through with blood libel in order to gin up support for the pogroms.

Put a pin in that for a minute. I am 1/4 Belarusian Jew. My ancestors had means and had emigrated from The Pale to Moscow so experienced most of the second pogrom second hand, in the accounts and losses of their friends and relatives to antisemitic terrorism and genocide. They decamped for Boston in 1891 because they saw the proverbial writing on the wall; thanks to the work of the Okhrana, the active measures of the Cheka had a circulation of 900,000 a week thanks to Henry Ford. As a consequence, this discussion is academic to me? But also not academic. There are no more Belarusian jews. Prior to the pogroms, Jews were 15% of the population. There are now fewer than 20,000. American antisemitism and its propagation delayed American entry into WWII and objectively made the Holocaust worse.

There's a term coined and used by the Bolsheviks that is relevant to this discussion: fellow travelers, or those with similar goals but no formal alignment with the Communist Party. And there's a term coined and used against the Bolsheviks that is relevant to this discussion: useful idiots, or those who lack the intelligence to not serve the purposes of adversarial political forces. Donald Trump is a useful idiot. Jeffrey Sachs is a fellow traveler.

Thomas Rid, in his seminal work Active Measures, catalogs the distortions of public perceptions of the past and future from the Renaissance (when it wasn't practiced) through the 2016 election (where it was practiced extensively). Aside from one Japanese example (a false Soviet battle plan between wars) and two American examples (a CIA-published fashion and lifestyle magazine distributed in East Berlin and material support for an underground Ukrainian independence movement through 1991), all catalogued examples of active measures have been practiced by Russia under the Okrana, the Cheka, the nKVD, the KGB and the FSB. Rid goes one further by pointing out that democratic governments have a poor risk/reward ratio with active measures because if they are discovered, the democratically-elected government loses credibility and, therefore, power. Totalitarian governments suffer no such misfortune as their actions are not constrained by popular will. A democratic government operates with the permission of the populace and Watergate breaks the government. A totalitarian government can spread the rumor that AIDS was genetically engineered against the Africans to cover up systematic Soviet poisoning of Afghan wells to cripple the Mujahideen without experiencing a single hit to its agency.

Now that we've set the scene, let's continue:

    Regarding the Ukraine War, the Biden administration has repeatedly and falsely claimed that the Ukraine War started with an unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

This is more a diplomatic measure by the United States than anything else because if they call it February 2014 then the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of Dutch tourists would arguably have triggered Article 5 and led to continental war. If you examine the conflict as a whole, the Russio-Ukrainian War is generally accepted to have commenced with the Russian invasion of Crimea In response to the Maidan on February 20, 2014.

    In fact, the war was provoked by the U.S. in ways that leading U.S. diplomats anticipated for decades in the lead-up to the war, meaning that the war could have been avoided and should now be stopped through negotiations.

"Provocation" was the justification for the Munich Agreement, whereby Britain opted not to "provoke" Nazi Germany by defending Czechoslovakia against invasion. This was the basis for Nevill Chamberlain's "Peace for our time" speech, now widely considered to be the greatest diplomatic failure of the 20th century. The Tory government bargained that Hitler would be satisfied with annexation of Czechoslovakia and thus would not jeopardize the West-leaning Polish Republic. Poland, of course, was invaded less than a year later.

As outlined in The Gates of Europe, a history of Ukraine from the Scythians to the Maidan, "provocation" has been the fundamental justification of war in Ukraine, Poland and Belarus since the dawn of empire. The plain between the Urals and the Alps has always been considered a "buffer state" for whomever is more civilized at the time against whoever is less civilized and in general, the stretch of land between Armenia and Sweden is the first to betrayed and the first to get overrun. Despite this extensively bloody history, the only polity to routinely practice genocide against the Cossacks, Slavs and Tatars are the Russians, first under Ivan the Terrible, then under the First Pogroms, then under the Second Pogroms, then under the Russian Civil War, then under the Holodomor, then under the Deportation of the Crimean Tartars..

"Provocation", then, has historically meant "letting authoritarianism do what it wants when it wants where it wants" and any act that defies the authoritarian is seen as justification of authoritarian behavior. By the authoriarians, anyway. And the fellow travelers and useful idiots.

    A far better approach for Russia might have been to step up diplomacy with Europe and with the non-Western world to explain and oppose U.S. militarism and unilateralism.

Note the careful use of the words "might have been" here - speculative passive voice. It's never worked before, but maybe this time would have been different.

    The Biden team uses the word “unprovoked” incessantly, most recently in Biden’s major speech on the first-year anniversary of the war, in a recent NATO statement, and in the most recent G7 statement.

In no small part because the FSB has flooded the zone with the word "provoked."

    There were in fact two main U.S. provocations. The first was the U.S. intention to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia in order to surround Russia in the Black Sea region by NATO countries (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia, in counterclockwise order).

Worthy of note: Russia was participating in NATO at the time.

    The second was the U.S. role in installing a Russophobic regime in Ukraine by the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014.

Right - the same Yanukovich who defied his own parliament and shot hundreds of the 800,000 protesters that demanded his resignation? Speaking as an American, "free elections and the defeat of tyranny" are big on my list of core values. If the price of freedom is "provoking" Putin, gimme the stick.

    Biden and his foreign policy team refuse to discuss these roots of the war. To recognize them would undermine the administration in three ways. First, it would expose the fact that the war could have been avoided, or stopped early, sparing Ukraine its current devastation and the U.S. more than $100 billion in outlays to date.

(By allowing a pro-Putin despot to take over a nascent European democracy)

    Second, it would expose President Biden’s personal role in the war as a participant in the overthrow of Yanukovych, and before that as a staunch backer of the military-industrial complex and very early advocate of NATO enlargement.

Just so we're clear: the argument here is that if the US had allowed the FSB to overthrow Ukraine unimpeded, there'd be no war in Europe. Let's not look away from that.

    Third, it would push Biden to the negotiating table, undermining the administration’s continued push for NATO expansion.

And just so we're crystal clear: It is my firmly held opinion, as an avid scholar of The Deep State, that the 2016 election cemented and prioritized the destruction of Russia by Western intelligence services. An uneasy detente has existed between Russia and the USA since Yeltsin but the benefits of this relationship have diminished yearly while maintaining the fiction of diplomatic alignment has grown ever costlier. Once the Russians attempted to provoke the collapse of American democracy, American operatives dusted off their operational plans and set about to negate Putin. The CIA holds a grudge. The Iranian regime will never be allowed to thrive until the CIA feels satisfied that justice has been served for the barracks bombing and Bill Buckley. There is a straight, bright line between Vladimir Putin and January 6 and whenever Russian mouthpieces talk about American plans for the destruction of Russia, the only thing I can say is "damn right."

But that's not about Ukraine. That's about a criminal organization that thinks nothing of murder, torture and genocide.

    The archives show irrefutably that the U.S. and German governments repeatedly promised to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move “one inch eastward” when the Soviet Union disbanded the Warsaw Pact military alliance.

Yeah and they show a mutual defense pact between Ukraine and Russia in exchange for Ukraine giving up their nuclear weapons, too. That didn't exactly work out.

    The great US scholar-statesman George Kennan called NATO enlargement a “fateful error,” writing in the New York Times that, “Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”

Worthy of note: Kennan basically established The Cold War by arguing that The Russians were too crazy to be reasoned with. Furthermore, Ukraine in 1997 sure as shit wasn't Ukraine after two Democratic revolutions. Kennan is two decades dead; considering how he felt about democracy I suspect his opinion would be different but Sachs doesn't get into that.

    President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Perry considered resigning in protest against NATO enlargement. In reminiscing about this crucial moment in the mid-1990s, Perry said the following in 2016: “Our first action that really set us off in a bad direction was when NATO started to expand, bringing in eastern European nations, some of them bordering Russia. At that time, we were working closely with Russia and they were beginning to get used to the idea that NATO could be a friend rather than an enemy ... but they were very uncomfortable about having NATO right up on their border and they made a strong appeal for us not to go ahead with that.”

He's still saying it. His primary concern, however, is Russia's nukes:

    The bitterness that emerged from dismissing Russia as irrelevant created a climate ripe for the rise of an autocratic leader who would instead demand respect and power through force. And there is no force greater than possessing a nuclear arsenal capable of bringing about the end of humanity. For those who had asked, “what could this defeated nation do to us?” the newly installed President Vladimir Putin would soon have an answer.

Perry, of course, has exactly fuckall to say about his engineering of the Budapest Memorandum which saw Ukraine disarmed, or about the fact that a document he wrote obligates the United States to defend Ukraine against Russia ("Seek immediate Security Council action to provide assistance to the signatory if they "should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used").

    Former Zelensky advisor Oleksiy Arestovych declared in a 2019 interview “that our price for joining NATO is a big war with Russia.”

Arestoyvich was merely parroting Wallerstein, Kaplan, Zeihan, John McCain and others. For reasons of demography, the geopolitical rationalists have been predicting a Russian invasion of Ukraine before 2025 since the early 2000s.

    During 2010-2013, Yanukovych pushed neutrality, in line with Ukrainian public opinion.

During 2010-2013, Yanukovich acted as an agent of Russia and suppressed anti-Putin dissent. This is why 800,000 protesters took to the streets to depose him.

    After Yanukovych’s overthrow, the war broke out in the Donbas, while Russia claimed Crimea.

"The war broke out." Not "Russian special forces stripped of insignia or flags invaded Donbas in order to kidnap and murder elected Ukrainian officials in furtherance of the future annexation of a sovereign nation."

    The new Ukrainian government appealed for NATO membership, and the U.S. armed and helped restructure the Ukrainian army to make it interoperable with NATO.

Under the terms of the Budapest Memorandum - see above.

    Russia’s leaders put NATO enlargement as the cause of war in Russia’s National Security Council meeting on February 21, 2022.

It's worth watching that meeting:

...and it's worth watching the template for that meeting:

    Historian Geoffrey Roberts recently wrote: “Could war have been prevented by a Russian-Western deal that halted NATO expansion and neutralised Ukraine in return for solid guarantees of Ukrainian independence and sovereignty? Quite possibly.”

"Peace for our time" where "our time" turned out to be exactly 334 days.

    By recognizing that the question of NATO enlargement is at the center of this war, we understand why U.S. weaponry will not end this war.

This is historically inaccurate. For over two thousand years, peace in the geographic area we call "Ukraine" has occurred only after the destruction of the invading empire. As a territorial buffer between regions more easily defended, the invasion of Ukraine has been the first step in over a dozen wars of territorial expansion. For over a hundred years, peace in Ukraine has come at the cost of genocide. There will be no peace in Ukraine until Putin is out of power and Russia is under a new regime. Full stop.


The above is two hours I didn't have to spend. If you were not a friend, I would have responded with a simple "lol eat shit tankie." As it is, I see you neither as a "useful idiot" nor as a "fellow traveler."

So I implore you to think a little, investigate easily disproved allegations and exercise caution before putting the words of fellow travelers on your lips.

kleinbl00  ·  200 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: USA Powerlifting to allow trans athletes to compete with women after losing suit  ·  

You watch motorsport?

Here's a demo of a top fuel fuel injector. There are eight of these.

The goal is to move a "vehicle" from a standing start to a point 1320 feet away in the least amount of time possible. the current record, set November 2022, is 3.66 seconds. It will not surprise you to learn that there are all sorts of peculiar engineering compromises in order to get this "vehicle" a quarter mile down the road. These engineering compromises, however, are nothing compared to the rules compromises. One small example: no electronic clutches. Dumping that much power onto the road is obviously a tricky application of physics and timing but it must be all analog. As a result, much of the innovation in top fuel dragsters is in tricking a bunch of fluid to leak just so such that big rubber tires can launch a spindly little needle down the road without flying apart but also without using, say, a fucking arduino to simplify things.

stupid compromises are the fundamental nature of motorsport. If you look at it, we should all be watching robots with vacuum-powered under-car plenums ripping around tracks doing 6 gees lateral but nobody wants to watch that. Instead we come up with stupid rules about how Michael Schumacher's tire touched the line while he was pitting so that he has to lose a race in order to keep the standings competitive and dumb shit like that. Top fuel? Top fuel without rules is a nitromethane-powered potato gun and a dude in a love sac being rammed down a tube. This was the evolution of the Purdue Mechanical Engineering Competitive Charcoal Lighting Championship - it took about three years before they just dumped LOX on a hibachi to watch the pyrotechnics.

Here's the reductio ad absurdum on powerlifting:

...at which point, any choices this side of that are cultural, the culture says that a woman is anyone who says they're a woman, and if they want to be a woman who powerlifts they should lift.

How many times in the past year have you thought even a tiny little bit about powerlifting?

Would you think about it even now if there weren't some transgender angle?

I'm sorry to be the one telling you that competitions are a social construct, not an objective measure of anything. This is why whenever anyone decides they're entitled to more rights, conservatives always jump to sports to tell you why you, a person who has never thought about this particular sport before, should be deeply, thoughtfully, moderately concerned.

am_Unition  ·  207 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Scott Adams is a crank looking for a problem.   ·  

The vast majority of conservatives bitching about cancel culture are simply upset that there is now a social stigma and actual repercussions for saying the hateful shit they used to get away with.

My favorite part of Adams' rant is when he was like "I'm gonna back off from being helpful to Black America". LOL, I cannot fathom what Adams thinks he was previously doing that was "helpful". Maybe barely restraining himself from yelling the you-know-what-word whenever he had the courage to venture into an urban area and saw one single Black person? Is he... helping Black America through a newspaper comic strip about a white guy working a white collar job? Did he... not call the police when a wealthy Black couple showed up to a dinner party? I wanna know!

What's scary is that instead of admitting an objectively bigoted rant is over the line, conservatives have largely rallied around Adams. Including Elon Dumbfuck Musk. (p.s. I love that Hubski could smell Elon's shit from a mile away 5+ years ago)

edit: update, hahahhah, new favorite part of the rant, where he says "I'm so sick of seeing videos of Black Americans assaulting White people on social media". Dude, lol, he really doesn't realize that he's getting served that shit because he engages with it and subscribes to people putting out that type of content?!? This guy's such a fucking idiot, holy hellllllllll

edit 2:

kleinbl00  ·  212 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Wolfram: What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?  ·  

    Particularly over the past decade, there’ve been many advances in the art of training neural nets. And, yes, it is basically an art. Sometimes—especially in retrospect—one can see at least a glimmer of a “scientific explanation” for something that’s being done. But mostly things have been discovered by trial and error, adding ideas and tricks that have progressively built a significant lore about how to work with neural nets.

Some history: chatGPT and neural nets got a real kick in the ass when Robert Mercer decided to apply Markov chains to high-frequency trading. Markov came up with his theories shortly before being blackballed by the University of St. Petersberg for refusing to rat his students out to the Tsar. Mercer, for his part, basically figured out that Markov chains would allow his hedge fund to reverse-engineer the trading decisions of other dark pool trading bots and front-run them. This made him a lot of money, that he didn't want to pay taxes on, so he hired Cambridge Analytica to destroy the world. All that and he only delayed the inevitable.

    In earlier days of neural nets, there tended to be the idea that one should “make the neural net do as little as possible”. For example, in converting speech to text it was thought that one should first analyze the audio of the speech, break it into phonemes, etc. But what was found is that—at least for “human-like tasks”—it’s usually better just to try to train the neural net on the “end-to-end problem”, letting it “discover” the necessary intermediate features, encodings, etc. for itself.

In other words, the blacker the box, the better the performance. This is important because we're talking about training a model - a representation of reality. There is no part of neural networks or markov bots that attempt to explain that model, their sole purpose is to ape it, input to output. They will give you what you have, and hopefully allow you to predict what you'll get... assuming the future matches the past.

My sound world is governed and defined by Fourier transforms.. This is applied math stuff that argues that any function, no matter how random and chaotic, can be modeled as a series of sine waves. It's a curve fit and for most things it's good enough. You talking into your phone becomes a collection of bits through liberal application of Fourier transforms. And most of the time it works and the world continues in its orbit but sometimes the normies can't tell if it's yanny or laurel at which point we need experts who can explain, in no uncertain terms, that it's fucking laurel, that the normie confusion about it is due to their inexperience with codecs gone bad, that when the curve fit no longer fits the curve the philosophical "what does green even mean, maaaaaan" discussion is fine for Medium but if you're prepping a legal brief it is generally accepted to mean 495-570nm, full stop.

    And, similarly, when one’s run out of actual video, etc. for training self-driving cars, one can go on and just get data from running simulations in a model videogame-like environment without all the detail of actual real-world scenes.

All well and good unless your video game doesn't include bicyclists at night where there are no crosswalks.

    And what one typically sees is that the loss decreases for a while, but eventually flattens out at some constant value. If that value is sufficiently small, then the training can be considered successful; otherwise it’s probably a sign one should try changing the network architecture.

Had an interesting insight while still talking to my mother. Medicaid was paying for her physical therapy. She got "better" much faster than me or my sister anticipated - although her therapists never used the word "better." They kept using the phrase "return to baseline." At one point I asked what, precisely, "return to baseline" meant. The lead therapist cleared her throat, put on her lawyer hat and stated that for purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, "baseline" is determined to be that level of performance at which improvement plateaus such that qualitative measures improve no more than twenty percent over the course of X sessions where X is dependent on the qualitative measure.

"What you're telling me," I said, "is that 'baseline' is not 'where was she before' but 'where does improvement stop.'"

"For purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, that is correct," she said.

Now - my mother left their tender care with a walker. She was good for 20 steps, with assistance, before being winded and in pain. Prior to the accident she was getting around without assistance. "Flattens out at some constant value" does not mean the problem is solved, it means the model can't get any closer. Yeah - "if that value is sufficiently small, then the training can be considered successful" but who is determining the value? "Our self-driving model has avoided running over imaginary bicyclists for 2 million runs, it'll be fine in Phoenix."

    In the future, will there be fundamentally better ways to train neural nets—or generally do what neural nets do? Almost certainly, I think.

Yeah but are we good enough? Remember - ELIZA was created to show what a bad fucking idea all this bullshit is IN 1965!

Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA, running the DOCTOR script, was created to provide a parody of "the responses of a non-directional psychotherapist in an initial psychiatric interview" and to "demonstrate that the communication between man and machine was superficial"

    Or put another way, there’s an ultimate tradeoff between capability and trainability: the more you want a system to make “true use” of its computational capabilities, the more it’s going to show computational irreducibility, and the less it’s going to be trainable. And the more it’s fundamentally trainable, the less it’s going to be able to do sophisticated computation.

And at some point, someone will decide that tradeoff is good enough - Microsoft figured Bing was ready, Google figured Bard was ready. To do that, they performed a sleight-of-hand that Microsoft didn't pull with Tay, but which underpins all this bullshit:

large language models are trained to talk. Search engines are supposed to provide ANSWERS.

This is a great article that I would badge if I had any left. Stephen Wolfram is a straight shooter in my experience and he's done a great job of explaining what the chatGPT is doing - it's chatting. It's not "AnswerGPT." "I'm sorry but you're mistaken, Avatar isn't out yet because the year is 2022" is a stellar answer for a chat bot. It's fucking garbage from a search standpoint.

This is bad enough when we're looking up showtimes. Complications ensue when we're making staffing decisions.

    Why does one just add the token-value and token-position embedding vectors together? I don’t think there’s any particular science to this. It’s just that various different things have been tried, and this is one that seems to work.

This is very much like how Google made their AI marginally less racist by deleting gorillas from the model.. That one sentence "I don't think there's any particular science to this" is why the whole thing is going to crash and burn in an extremely ugly way after doing a fuckton of damage.

"Please explain for the jury, Doctor Scientist, how your program determined my client's position should be terminated due to her work performance, rather than her inability to thrive in a racist environment:"

    But anyway, here’s a schematic representation of a single “attention block” (for GPT-2):

"Thank you, Doctor Scientist. No further questions."

    (As a personal comparison, my total lifetime output of published material has been a bit under 3 million words, and over the past 30 years I’ve written about 15 million words of email, and altogether typed perhaps 50 million words—and in just the past couple of years I’ve spoken more than 10 million words on livestreams. And, yes, I’ll train a bot from all of that.)

Title VII? 13,000 words. The theoretical, scientific underpinnings of Markov chains and neural networks will severely limit any LLM from accurately reproducing law, let alone parse it.

    So how is it, then, that something like ChatGPT can get as far as it does with language? The basic answer, I think, is that language is at a fundamental level somehow simpler than it seems.

Sure - but what we do with it and how we make it isn't, QED. The problem here is now and has always been pareidolia. We see something that talks and we presume it has a soul. The better it talks the more soul we assign to it. The more soul we assign to it, the more value it has and the more value it has the more we let it trample humans. Until, that is, we've trampled enough that they threaten to tear down society.

The fact that there's a lot more news about ChatGPT sucking than chatGPT succeeding is on the one hand heartening but on the other hand deeply discouraging. Neither Microsoft nor Google care. There is no bad news. Fuckups and how they respond just allow faceless corporations to show how much they care. And the Markov bots only operate on a time horizon of a few milliseconds anyway so we're looking for a derivative of a derivative of a derivative of a signal in order to juice the stock price.

"Dr. Wolfram, can you please explain whether these 'large language models' can separate meaningful language from meaningless gibberish?"

    ...is there a general way to tell if a sentence is meaningful? There’s no traditional overall theory for that. But it’s something that one can think of ChatGPT as having implicitly “developed a theory for” after being trained with billions of (presumably meaningful) sentences from the web, etc.

"In other words, Dr. Wolfram, flawed data will produce flawed responses?"

    The basic concept of ChatGPT is at some level rather simple. Start from a huge sample of human-created text from the web, books, etc. Then train a neural net to generate text that’s “like this”. And in particular, make it able to start from a “prompt” and then continue with text that’s “like what it’s been trained with”.

"Thank you, Dr. Wolfram. Your Honor, the prosecution rests."


A fourier transform will allow you to process an analog signal digitally. It rounds the corners off square waves but then, so does physics. It's "good enough" for what we need most of the time - you listen to Spotify at 128kbps VBR, I mix at 48kHz 32-bit floating point unless I need 96kHz or 192kHz. Even then, it tells you what is, not what will be and the whole of what we want LLMs to do is tell us what will be.

Large language models are improvisational LUTs. LUTs are great so long as you don't wander off the map. In the case of office racism, the AI knows what a stereotypical employee should do in a stereotypical environment and anything that deviates from the stereotype is statistically rounded off.

Ergonomics and biomechanics are governed by the "5% human" and the "95% human." Your cars, your bicycles, your scissors, your coffee mugs are designed around 90% of humanity and the other 10% cope for better or worse. I've long said that any schlub can do 80-90% of any job, it's that last 10-20% that keeps you employed.

AI is gonna be great for the stuff that requires no expertise. Unfortunately, expertise involves knowing when expertise is required and AIs suck at that.

Google was gonna have their self-driving cars on the road by what, 2018? This is the problem marketing always has: they don't understand the difficulty of complex problems and they don't want to. Google is usually smart enough not to let marketing steer the ship while Tesla is the opposite of that. Results were predictable. Unfortunately for big stupid tech companies, Western law has sided with "wronged individual" over "faceless corporation" every time the faceless corporation can't prove they were abiding by the law.

And the achilles heel of AI is that the more sophisticated it is, the less you can prove.

OftenBen  ·  213 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Case for Hanging Out  ·  

We are so fucked if we need an academic defense of why it's a good idea to have friends and do things with them.

I get so frustrated with long time friends when they bum out on small social stuff because it's the small stuff that adds up to memories that make a lifetime.

I'll just continue to cook too much food on Friday nights and keep the invite open. I don't know what else to do.

kleinbl00  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A post for chat gpt  ·  

(rolls eyes)


(pours cup of coffee)

So look. Once upon a time, American conservatives believed in welfare. Conservatives believed that if you wanted to see what capitalism could do, your best move was to unchain your captains of industry from the social morass. It's not that conservatives liked poor people, it's that they figured the whole point of government was to get the waste people out of the way of the ubermensch. That all changed with William F. Buckley and The National Review, and it all changed with Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.

Buckley was the son of an oil magnate who did well in the Mexican coup of 1914. Rand was the daughter of a pharmacist in St. Petersberg who did poorly in the October Revolution. Buckley was of the opinion that the rich owed poor people in general nothing, and poor brown people less than nothing. Rand was of the opinion that poor people will come with guns and take away everything so get yours and defend it with your life.

But you can't say that without circumlocuting around it so they invented a whole new language for "fuck poor people." They smothered it in intellectualism, terminology, metaphor. What, according to Rand's biographers, is Objectivism? "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute". Buckley, for his part, burst onto the scene by claiming that Yale was full of godless communists who refused to let good Christians practice their god-given selfishness.

Sometimes they let the mask slip. Rand called John F. Kennedy a fascist for coming up with the Peace Corps. During the '80s, the most outwardly flagrant decade of "objectivism" or "compassionate conservatism" or whatever, Ivan Boesky said "Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”

The thing is? It's nothing but intellectualized selfishness. It is the core principle that you are the center of the universe, you should own it, and you should expect everyone else to do the same. Rand called it "the Virtue of Selfishness" and "objectivists" spent the next sixty years arguing about whether she really meant "selfishness" because it's really hard to see "selfishness" (or "greed" for that matter) as anything but a pejorative. Rand didn't give a fuck, she was on the losing side of The Terrors.

Objectivism is this thing teenagers fuck around with because teenagers are isolated, pampered and circumscribed by more rules than adults. In general, objectivism goes by the wayside as soon as your place in society becomes rewarding but some people get stuck.

If the only place you have friends is online discussion forums, you are more likely to get stuck.

Yudikowsky is younger than I am. He caught that tail end when things were switching from UseNet to MySpace. Usenet had no formatting and the only thing you could distinguish yourself with was your ability to argue; MySpace had pictures so it was all over as far as nerd culture was concerned. IN MY OPINION this drove the can't-get-laid types deeper underground where the only place they could find any friends was among themselves. And, since "themselves" were generally over-clever, socially-awkward people who didn't get invited to parties, I-Me-Mine became the obvious guide star. You can't talk about Reagan, though, that's what your parents are doing. And you can reference Rand but you're doing something new and exciting. And nobody will listen to you but your online friends so you basically go Philosophical Incel.

Incels can't get laid not because they suck at life but because there's something wrong with women. Objectivists can't get ahead not because they lack the empathy that most people use to form bonds but because society is broken. And, much like Incels sprayed all over society with GamerGate and Elliott Roger and Enrique Tarrio and all that bullshit, the Objectivists gave us LessWrong and SlateStarCodex and Nick Land and latter-day accelerationism and this whole constellation of entitled white bullshit. If you want to see what that looks like among the dipshits who aren't posturing intellectuals, this is the book. If you want to see what it looks like among the dipshits who are?

Look. The protective coloration used these days is "effective altruism.". Here's how that works:

    Effective altruism emphasizes impartiality and the global equal consideration of interests when choosing beneficiaries. This has broad applications to the prioritization of scientific projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and policy initiatives estimated to save the most lives or reduce the most suffering.

Sounds great, right? It's altruism, but it's effective, because you're being impartial! You're saving the most lives! You're reducing the most suffering! And you're doing it this way because you know better!

The definition of "effective" and "altruism" is just as tortured as "selfishness" was under the Objectivists. Hitler was an "effective" "altruist" because humanity would benefit from a world without Jews, since Jews were inferior. The living standards in the United States and Australia are substantially better now than they were when the place was full of aboriginals, and so much more population is supported - objectively speaking, genocide is good! Can't say that out loud, though. Far better to spreadsheet that shit so you can talk about which genocides you can slow down with the least amount of intervention.

Here's the problem. They all want to be Hugo Drax. That's the whole schtick. Elon Musk moving to Mars. Peter Thiel on his tropical island. They know better than you - they are "less wrong" - and obviously only the most credible rubes believe in a second coming while true geniuses know that it's the AI we have to worry about.

And I wouldn't give a shit? Here's the punchline about Roko's Basilisk.

...see, that's Harlan Ellison's most famous story. "Roko" was fucking trolling. "There's nothing to attract a troll quite like a posturing pseudointellectual who thinks he knows better than everyone else," he said, tongue-in-cheek. But you either learn from that?

Or you give Sam Bankman Fried billions of dollars.

    For as much good as I see in that movement, it’s also become apparent that it is deeply immature and myopic, in a way that enabled Bankman-Fried and Ellison, and that it desperately needs to grow up. That means emulating the kinds of practices that more mature philanthropic institutions and movements have used for centuries, and becoming much more risk-averse. EA needs much stronger guardrails to prevent another figure like Bankman-Fried from emerging — and to prevent its tenets from becoming little more than justifications for malfeasance.

Fundamentally? It is now, has always been and shall always be "It's okay that I'm a selfish fuck because I'm smarter than you." In any reasonable society that gets you pilloried. In shareholder capitalism that gets you a board seat.

And that's why it will never be okay.

kleinbl00  ·  252 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Unexpected Heaviosity of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  ·  

Dude you just hate everything and have done for years. The smug thing is you look out, decide the whole world and everyone in it sucks, and then instead of thinking "huh, maybe this is a function of my well-earned chronic depression" you go "it must be because everything is terrible and I'm the only one who has cracked the code." You're literally sitting there going I wonder if I can bait anyone into fighting about... the existence of culture.

I'm not going to tell you to watch Ferris Bueller. I'm not going to tell you to watch Back to the Future. I am going to point out that you took a discussion of a movie you've decided to never watch and used it to shit on everyone who ever has just to give yourself that little edgelord troll-hit of endorphins so... yeah. Good talk. What else haven't you seen, read or heard that you need to pronounce condemnation on? We'll start a list and whenever you have the downzies we'll post something!

am_Unition  ·  254 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 11, 2023  ·  

Guys, it's not a big deal.

Sorry I left in a tizzy.

I'll try to finally make it to shitting all over the recent optimistic fusion news within another week or so.

Glad to be back though, but I'm still on twitter 😬

ThatFanficGuy  ·  268 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: December 28, 2022  ·  

As of two days ago, I'm officially and completely employed by the company.

This was somewhat in the air (not on the ground level but legally) because I signed my work contract all the way in July, and I'd only arrived into Belgium to work in December. I'm not sure what the actual issue was, but now I have a new contract, and it's all good. I even got paid my first salary!

The social secretary (who runs the documents for my boss in the background) did a great job by giving me a higher-status position legally, which prompted higher pay for fewer hours. (Apparently all of that is not for my boss to decide directly, and is instead governed by employment rules of Belgium and/or the EU.) All in all, it's a significant bump to my available funds, and it's welcome even more so now that I think I have a good shot at celebrating Christmas and New Year in New York in 2023 → 2024.

Hearing a fair amount of Russian in Brussels. Mostly from women. Some of them were discussing the happenings in Ukraine from the position of (what sounds like) having fled the country. Hearing other people speak openly of the war and its consequences in my native tongue is somehow affirming, but also chilling: in as much as it feels like the war is that much closer to me, that much more observable, than it ever was when I was in Russia.

Having no money worry is a big relief. Being able to plan out more, and sooner, upgrades to self is a bigger relief still.

kleinbl00  ·  270 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: IT DIDN'T HAPPEN HERE  ·  

Whelp, I think Consequence 1 is that the State Department and CIA will never let Russia be a world power again. The fact that the neocons allowed Russia to regain enough power to place a useful idiot in the oval office will forever inoculate the Gray Men from allowing politicians to set policy. The CIA gets their teddy bear back - "destruction of the Former Soviet Union" has been on their wishlist since they checked off "Destruction of the Soviet Union". I don't know that they'll succeed but between the Magnitsky Act, the Bucket'O'Sanctions and the half-tithe we're spending to decimate the Russian military five times over, I know it's rough for Russia.

I think it will take several electoral cycles for Teh Crazeh to burn itself out in the Republican Party, but burn itself out it will. People forget: the number one requirement for Republicans has been LOYALTY since Newt Gingrich and we've seen the logical outcome of that. The era of Mitch McConnell is over; Democrats gained more seats than gerrymandering could protect, and Biden has nominated more judges than Trump as anyone with any character basically went "four more years" during the Trump Era. You can see this playing out in the Boebert Vs. Green debacle as the former nearly lost to a progressive Democrat while the latter handily beat her centrist challenger - Boebert now has to worry about actual voters while Green has to worry about even crazier morons to her right primarying her.

I think the cost of opportunism has been demonstrated for all far and wide. You can be Jason Miller? But all that's left for you is stand-ups on a hated network for old people whose only advertiser is a coke-addled pillow salesman. When all the world is leaning into ESG and everyone around you had a choice between ethics or opportunism, your scarlet letter is never going away. You know how Snowden shocked the world with all his revelations about the NSA? Ten years previously all that shit was called Total Information Awareness. Know what drove TIA underground? The whole country going "oh fuck not John Poindexter again." And that was effectively before social media, an era before teenaged citizen journalists could supercut your transgressions while bored. You can no more get history off the internet than you can get piss out of a swimming pool, and the whole of the Trump Posse Baby Ruthed the fuck out of that watering hole.

I think Jared Kushner is now Our Man in Riyadh. I think MBS went "I am the despot now" and the CIA went "fine, we see how well flattery works, we've got our own Donald Trump now." People forget - Donald Trump went "Jared is going to fix the Middle East" and by damn if Jared Kushner didn't somehow normalize relations to the point where you can fly direct from Riyadh to Tel Aviv now. Do I think Jared Kushner had anything to do with this? No I do not. The man's COVID solution was Facebook. But I think MBS doesn't give a shit about Palestine and the CIA went "we'll fund that emotion" and here we are. Will he still turn up drowned off the Canary Islands like Robert Maxwell? I sincerely hope so. But not while he's still a useful idiot. At its most cynical level, the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi sent a message to the CIA as to how MBS intended to run the country, and from a CIA standpoint, it wasn't particularly expensive or damaging - compare and contrast with Iran.

As far as consequences for Donald Trump? Whelp, he's likely got federal charges lined up against him, his extremely shady taxes are public, and at least two states are lined up for criminal and civil charges related to a smorgasbord of shady shit. And there is no disinfectant like sunlight.

I think he's got five, six years of ignominy left. I don't know if he'll ever serve time. I know we'll be talking about it until he fucking dies, which is extremely tedious, but objectively speaking, the man is a historical figure. He matters more than George Wallace, Herbert Hoover or Richard Nixon. He's up there with John Wilkes Booth as far as I'm concerned.

We have been worried about a man like Donald Trump since before he was born. It has always been up to question what would happen if a legitimate challenge to democracy were to arise - how fragile is the republic, really?

I believe we have our answer.

One thing about our Mennonite form of government: it doesn't move quickly. There are many faster, more agile implementations of democracy in the world and while they're clearly better at coming up with things like universal healthcare, they also give you things like Brexit and Hugo Chavez.

Which is not to say it won't happen again. But a whole lot of Donald Trump's maneuverability was due to the element of surprise. You can attack Pearl Harbor twice but it won't do nearly as much. History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme? And Donald Trump was what happens when George Wallace or Huey Long don't get shot, frankly. I don't know what that means for the future? But I know it'll be generations before anyone allows another Donald Trump to happen.

kleinbl00  ·  275 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2022  ·  

I'm sure there are people who can make open relationships work. I'll just say that in the 30 years I have been peripheral to the polyamorous community I have never once met one. More than that, nobody griefs quite like polys. Every anecdote I have about a bad breakup - every single one, except with the guy who is a diagnosed sociopath - involves a joint decision to fuck other people. The bitterest humans I know are the ones who tried to make open relationships work.

Quoth lil:

    If monogamy is not based on the desire and joy in being together, then it’s control.

"Monogamy" can be substituted out of that sentence with no difficulty whatsoever. Polyamory, chess, bass fishing.

"I want to explore my sexuality" is a very, VERY different statement than "I want to explore my sexuality with you." Recognize that she is saying "I am offering you no commitments" and that is literally all she is saying. Recognize that she is laying the groundwork for "I owe you fuckall behaviorally speaking" and gird your loins for it. You will suck at this. I say this because I know you.

Your best move is to say "come find me when you've figured it out, because you matter to me more than I matter to you right now and I'm not going to put up with that."

Li'l story. I've known my wife since 1994. She literally gave me my dorm key. And within a week she was dating this other guy. Dated him for five years. Married him. Stayed married to him for two years. Then got sick of his shit and kicked him out. He was literally the only person she ever dated.

And we started dating, and she said a few things about having never really dated, and wanting to maybe figure out what that looked like, and I was kinda cool with it, and she had a party with a group of friends, one of whom, like me, wanted to date her earlier but couldn't, and I thought "I owe her this" and then I immediately thought "no, no I don't" and came right back to the house having left and kicked his ass out.

We'd been "dating" for two weeks at the time. That was more than twenty years ago.

A serial monogamist who was married for six years doesn't need to figure out her shit at your expense. You can be cool with it? But you won't be happy about it. And she won't respect you.


lil  ·  275 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 21, 2022  ·  

bfx, the important thing is to have fun now, to deepen your relationship now, and continue being honest and open about fears and feelings. “Now” is all that’s real.

I went through three long relationships and two (too) long marriages before I stumbled across my current partner and and for the first time didn’t want to be with anyone else.

I was sixty-fucking-three when I got it, that monogamy is just wanting to have the best time with someone you like — not externally imposed.

Prior to now in my life, monogamy was just another word for controlling. If monogamy is not based on the desire and joy in being together, then it’s control. Good for her that she’s exploring her feelings about sex and sexuality. She may want to do more exploring than you feel comfortable with - if that’s the case, figure out the roots of your discomfort- which is probably insecurity, which leads to control.

Still, time with others is time not with you.

Having a “relationship” or an imagined “future” with someone does not replace the necessity of also having to have a life.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  296 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 30, 2022  ·  











Update 2:

Boarding the bus into Helsinki in two hours. Probably will not update y'all when I get to my hotel in Brussels. Probably the morning after. Today is gonna be a long day... literally.

Thank you for all the support.

kleinbl00  ·  313 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Lolbrooks on the election results  ·  

Holy shit this is amazing. It's like he's doing an impression of Doug Balloon but without realizing he's the target of the parody.

    To his great credit, Trump reinvented the G.O.P.

...as archetypal Italian fascism...?

    He destroyed the corporate husk of Reaganism and set the party on the path to being a multiracial working-class party.

Which races, exactly? Anglos, Saxons and Protestants? Scots-Irish and Muscovite Slavs?

    To his great discredit, he enshrouded this transition in bigotry, buffoonery and corruption.

aaaaaand fascism. Let's not disregard the fascism, shall we?

    He ushered in an age of performance politics — an age in which leaders put more emphasis on attention-grabbing postures than on practical change.

Ohhhh I dunno, some of us will never forget Terry Schiavo or the original October Surprise.

    The left had its own smaller version of performative populism. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became a major political figure thanks to her important contributions to Instagram.

    The Green New Deal was not a legislative package but a cotton candy media concoction.

...much like the New Deal, except without passing.

    Slogans like “Abolish ICE” and “Defund the police” were not practical policies, just cool catchphrases to put on posters.

I have boots older than ICE, that shit could be abolished tomorrow and the world would breathe a sigh of relief. "Defund the Police" should have been "Demilitarize the Police" and you know it and things would have been fine.

    That year, after progressives appeared to cost the Democrats several House seats with randy talk of socialism, moderate Democrat Abigail Spanberger roasted the left and was one of those who helped pull the party back toward the center on crime and other issues.

...who? The former spook who won suburban Virginia by 5 points? That I legit had to look up?

    Biden rejected the performative style of the populist moment while harnessing some progressive ideas.

LOL you mean the guy who used executive actions to pardon marijuana offenses and relieve student debt by edict?

    Performative populism has begun to ebb. Twitter doesn’t have the hold on the media class it had two years ago.

...which is why they've all been completely silent over the past week.

    Peak wokeness has passed.

...maybe you made it up

    There seem to be fewer cancellations recently, and less intellectual intimidation.


    I was a skeptic of the Jan. 6 committee at first, but I now recognize it’s played an important cultural role.


    That committee forced America to look into the abyss, to see the nihilistic violence that lay at the heart of Trumpian populism.

But remember, it's multicultural "Trumpian populism."

    The election of 2022 marked the moment when America began to put performative populism behind us.

Yep it certainly wasn't about abortion.

    Though the results are partial, and Trump acolytes could still help Republicans control Congress, this election we saw the emergence of an anti-Trump majority.

Because while 4/5ths of the country didn't vote for Trump in 2016, they are also 7-year locusts and it's taken them a while to claw their way out of the sand.

    According to a national exit poll, nearly 60 percent of voters said they had an unfavorable view of Trump.

...'cuz it wouldn't be the New York Times if they weren't linking to polls that have been useless for a decade or more.

    Almost half of the voters who said they “somewhat disapprove” of Biden as president still voted for Democrats, presumably because they were not going to vote for Trumpianism.

Shit SURE has changed

    The single most important result of this election was the triumph of the normies. Establishmentarian, practical leaders who are not always screaming angrily at you did phenomenally well, on right and left: Mike DeWine in Ohio, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania. Workmanlike incumbents from John Thune in South Dakota to Ron Wyden in Oregon had successful nights. Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin had the quotation that summarized the election: “Boring wins.”

"Here are a list of elected officials nobody is talking about that I can cherry-pick to prove my point."

    Americans are still deeply unhappy with the state of the country, but their theory of change seems to have begun to shift. Less histrionic media soap opera. Less existential politics of menace. Let’s find people who can get stuff done.

©2020 David Brooks

    The telling election results were at the secretary of state level. The America First Secretary of State Coalition features candidates who rejected the 2020 election results and who would have been a threat to election integrity if they had won Tuesday. Most either lost or seem on their way to losing. Meanwhile, Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia who stood up to Trump’s bullying, won by a wide margin.

Thereby surprising exactly no one except the establishment pundit class and those who still humor them for some reason.

    Because Democrats restrained their more extreme tendencies while Republicans didn’t,

I love how "extreme tendencies" on the left is things like healthcare.

    On abortion and many other issues, the median voter rule still applies.

Let's elide the fact that 80% of the population agrees with democratic policies so we can ignore who the extremists are, shall we?

    To be clear, I am not saying the fever has broken within the minds of those in the MAGA movement.

Oh hell no. Nor will he talk about their numbers or their sources of funding.

    I am not saying MAGA Republicans won’t unleash a lot of looniness in the next Congress.

Because then who the hell will you ask diners in Cleveland about?

    I am saying voters have built a wall around that movement to make sure it no longer wins the power it once enjoyed.

Bothsides it again, David.

    I am saying voters have given Republicans clear marching orders — to do what Democrats did and beat back the populist excesses on their own side.

chef's kiss

    There are two large truths I’ll leave you with.

Only two? c'mon David you've got some words left!

    The first is that both parties are fundamentally weak.

This is why over half the country wants a third party to vote for yet the Democratic Socialists elected one state office and Libertarians won zero.

    The Democrats are weak because they have become the party of the educated elite.

The Democrats are weak because they require a stance against corruption in order to retain their voter base.

    The Republicans are weak because of Trump.

The Republicans are weak because they've practiced demagoguery and fascism for long enough that eventually, a fascist demagogue captured the party.

    The Republican weakness is easier to expunge.

My favorite quote of this election: "You can turn away from Trump and lose the primary or you can turn towards Trump and lose the general."

    If Republicans get rid of Trump, they could become the dominant party in America.

something something active shooter drills something something abortion something something debt something something

    Second, the battle to preserve the liberal world order is fully underway.

    While populist authoritarianism remains a powerful force worldwide, people, from Kyiv to Kalamazoo, have risen up to push us toward a world in which rules matter, practicality matters, stability and character matter.

No thanks to the New York Times, which is far too busy rewarding pithy phrases like "from Kyiv to Kalamazoo."

    As Irving Kristol once wrote, the people in our democracy “are not uncommonly wise, but their experience tends to make them uncommonly sensible.”

Great thing about David Brooks? You always know he's quoting out of context. For one thing, he wasn't writing, he was speaking. For another, he was speaking before the American Enterprise Institute, a group that can be referred to safely as, shall we say, "fans of conservative politics." Finally, he was addressing them on the occasion of the end of mutherfucking communism. This is an arch-conservative thought leader, doing a victory lap in front of his biggest fans, and what did he have to say?

    The common people in such a democracy are not uncommonly wise, but their experience tends to make them uncommonly ­sensible. They learn their economics by taking out a mortgage, they learn their politics by watching the local school board in action, and they learn the impossibility of "social engineering" by trying to raise their children to be decent human beings. These people are the bedrock of bourgeois capitalism, and it is on this rock that our modern democracies have been built.

    But a society needs more than sensible men and women if it is to prosper: It needs the energies of the creative imagination as expressed in religion and the arts. It is crucial to the lives of all our citizens, as it is to all human beings at all times, that they encounter a world that possesses a transcendent meaning, in which the human experience makes sense. Nothing is more dehumanizing, more certain to generate a crisis, than experiencing one's life as a meaningless event in a meaningless world.

The whole piece is worth worth reading. It's an old-school conservative saying "let's be careful of our victory laps." This lolbrooks drivel? This is an old-school conservative saying "we're still relevant." The former is thought-provoking. The latter is a lie.

katakowsj  ·  315 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: My mom might die  ·  

Shit. That situation sucks. That's all there is to say. I'm in the waiting room for radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital ,Detroit. I''m getting Radiation treatment 3of4 for arecurrent glioma. Been surviving it for over ten years now. No cure for gliomas either. We've been managing this shit for over ten years now. Not all of ithas been terrible eitherthough. I'v e had some amazing times with my kids

and family. Times that are farmore amazing as I didn't think knewthey were guaranteed. I heard a hopeful statement about situations like ours. "It doesn't always get worse."

It's true.

I No one's disease is the exact same. Only by keeping fears at bay can we get our best result. I hope you guys find yourselves feeling better soon. I also work hard to live by ," It's rarely as bad as you think it will be and rarely as good as you think. Lastly, I've learned to recognize and discard related fearful thoughts that pop into my head. Listening to your random fears will drive a person to make terrible decisions.

Also , sorry as my typing is shit. My last two surgeries f-ed up my left field of vision. navigating a keyboard by sight is super tough.

bhrgunatha  ·  315 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: My mom might die  ·  

When my dad was diagnosed with myeloma I told him I didn't know what to say. He said there's nothing to say about it.

Rather than talk about our feelings, which my family never really did, we just continued shooting the shit and joking and sending each other the equivalent of cat pics for old people.

Despite myeloma being incurable, it's treatable and some people last a long time and you kind of cling to the hope that this case will be one of those. Despite the statistics.

When the melonomas appeared though, every conversation became incredibly weird and difficult because we both basically assumed we were just waiting for him to die, which he did quite soon.

Sorry for making this about me and again, I'm not really sure what to say to you. The death in life sucks. Not sure about your relationship with your mom is like, but I hope you can avoid my situation of being weirded out talking to each other.

bhrgunatha  ·  325 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: COVID-19 Origins: Investigating a “Complex and Grave Situation” Inside a Wuhan Lab  ·  

CCP has everything locked down so tightly, outsiders generally will never know the extent of censorship and totality of clampdown exerted. There were no results searching for mentions of Sitong Bridge Beijing on weibo or anywhere inside the great firewall recently. There are hundred or thousands or more police posted on bridges across China...

And anyone who's spent time in China will be aware of the pervasive chàbuduō attitude.

A mixture of a very pragmatic response to a situation, combined with meh, good enough, but it goes a lot further. It's also a very sharp, double edged sword.

Cable won't reach? Drill a hole in the door, feed it through... very pragmatic|meh good enough. Can't afford to buy and process vegetable oil, gutter oil..., so pragmatic|meh good enough.

Can't be bothered to follow to strict chemical/biological waste disposal procedures, dump it in the sewer.

chàbuduō also means if you can get away with it, you definitely should.

Now I'm not saying they were so slapdash with their attitudes, that a dangerous virus being experimented on for gain of function, funded by the US (because they aren't allowed to) - only co-incidentally the very virus that caused a worldwide pandemic killing millions - could have been exposed to the outside world accidentally because some fuckwit threw a virulent bat's carcass in the dumpster out back that one time because Joe Chao mixed up the labels on the infected/uninfected cages, or someone tore their protective clothing, or spilt a vial and just used a mop to clean it up because ... chàbuduō.

But that is exactly what happened.

Then the CCP machinery kicks in to cover it all up, now no-one will ever know the difference ... chàbuduō | meh good enough