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"Show forbearance and benevolence and love to one another. Should anyone among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and goodwill. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments."


recent comments, posts, and shares:
buteos  ·  4 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 8, 2020

    There's definitely some interesting physics there, but as far as i know, no one has figured it out satisfactorily. One of the most popular animal models of traumatic brain injury (it's also in fashion these days to refer to concussion as a mild TBI) is call the "lateral fluid percussion" model. In this model, you open up the animal's skull and use a tube to direct a compression wave of about a couple atmospheres (I think...can't remember the exact number off the top of my head) to the direct top of the brain. The injury it creates is a very focal lesion far from the site of the blast, but always in the same spot (lateral to the blast, hence the name). I suppose that suggests that it creates a travelling wave that bounces around the brain and two or more of the rebounds create a superposition at the site of the lesion, but I'm not really sure about that.

Is that similar to, different from, or complimentary of the diagrams and videos that show the cause of a concussion of the brain just bouncing back and forth in the skull?

buteos  ·  12 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Reddit's website uses DRM for fingerprinting


Shame. There's a few pockets of interesting conversations in that place still, off the beaten path. I rarely ever visited, except on a whim, but now? No more visits.

buteos  ·  18 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Gerald Has a Pool at His Vacation Home

This is probably the most entertaining thread for the most mundane observation I'll ever see.

Random aside. I used to readily argue with people that "nope rope" and "trash pandas" are unofficially, officially folk names for snakes and raccoons. iNat uses both terms.

buteos  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Native Americans and Polynesians Met Around 1200 A.D.

Did he talk at all about stick charts? Those still blow my mind.

Edit: My mistake. Wrong culture. But stick charts are still pretty nifty.

buteos  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Native Americans and Polynesians Met Around 1200 A.D.

I'll just leave this little rabbit hole for anyone who might want to take a gander at more theories.

buteos  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 8, 2020

We have it and The Zombie Survival Guide. That book, WWZ, oddly holds a special place in our collection. It's the first book I bought while we were dating. You're now bound by the nebulous rules of spousal obligation to read it from cover to cover.

I think the term "Playing God" used to hold more weight, because it was encapsulating a big, weighty, concept into two words. Unfortunately, it's used to death to where it's kind of lost its meaning, like if you say the word "calculator" over and over and over and suddenly it doesn't sound like an english word even though you know what it means.

Population management concepts are often really interesting arguments to read about and assisted colonization in particular seems to be a very urgent topic, which just adds to the interest. Most people, when first asked, often think they don't have any opinion on the subject. But once you get them talking about things such as hunting and fishing, wildlife conflicts with livestock, wildlife conflicts with humans in urban and suburban settings, etc., they often realize they have some strong opinions on the matter and it doesn't take long to really start getting philosophical about humans, nature, control, lack of it, responsibility, lack of it, the whole nine yards.

buteos  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 8, 2020

Only a grape? Can you bring one or two more things to give a chance? You know, for science.

    No one quoted in the article said that, and there was plenty of opportunity to quote someone who did if such a person could be found. This journalist is just trying to create a controversy where none exists.

From the article

    "Landau says that, on Facebook, TNC’s longleaf project has been accused of “playing the hand of God”. She dismisses the criticism. “There’s so little nature left that we haven’t already had a heavy hand in,” she says."


    "It’s the experimental nature of assisted migration that makes some scientists wary about the risks involved. In 2009, the ecologists Anthony Ricciardi and David Simberloff published an op-ed contending that the strategy was “likely to produce myriad unintended and unpredictable consequences” and could profoundly interrupt the established ecosystems and food webs where the new trees are planted. Assisted migration, they said, was tantamount to “ecological gambling”."

To your question . . .

    Hey, is the entire field of biology just "playing God?" Does anyone other than dumb science journalists or young earth creationists ever think that?

The entire field of biology? No. However, people have all sorts of concerns in issues that are related to biology and there are intense conversations on things such as antibiotics, commercial farming, gene editing, cloning, geological manipulation, population manipulation, on and on it can go. I mean, there's literally a subfield of ethics devoted to these conversations.

And lastly, there are tons of conversations around the exact topic of the original article. Wikipedia has a nice primer to jump off of if you're curious.

    Ultimately, I think we will have to think about some kind of technological way of sequestering carbon.

There's interesting talks about some work taking place in Iceland right now, believe it or not. I don't know enough to know if it's hype or not.

Personally, I think the whole "We can fix things with technology!" approach isn't a good one, on the grounds that there's no guarantee we can do it, there's no guarantee that we won't do more harm than good, and it creates a mentality of being able to kick the can down the road and making the solution "science's responsibility to do something eventually" instead of "humanity's responsibility to do something yesterday." But at the same time, we're past a tipping point and I also don't think things like tree planting, ocean cleanup, reducing carbon footprints, etc. is good enough anymore.

Like I said. There's a crack in the foundation and it's looking more and more horizontal to me.

buteos  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Court orders Dakota pipeline shut in latest blow to U.S. fossil fuel projects

Covid related, maybe? I hear a lot of energy discovery expeditions are being put on hold cause of the current climate.

For an extra read . . .

Scientists put forward plan to create universal species list: Single classification system could end centuries of disagreement and improve global efforts to tackle biodiversity loss

    With at least 26 competing concepts, biologists have never reached agreement over what constitutes a species, the most basic classification of an organism. As a result, conservation organisations, national governments and scientists often use separate lists of mammals, fungi and other organisms with differing taxonomic descriptions.

    For example, scientific evidence indicates the African elephant could be two species – the forest elephant and the savanna elephant. Yet major conservation organisations such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) only acknowledge one.

    “The general public are identifying with these entities they call species and they think they’re real biological, natural units rather than being a slice in time that is a human construct,” said the lead author Stephen Garnett, a professor of conservation and sustainable livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Australia.

    A widely used definition of a species centres on whether a group of living things can exchange DNA by creating viable offspring. But in several cases, the lines between species are blurred, causing disagreement between taxonomists – the scientists who discover, name and classify species.

    New techniques, including genomic analysis and micro CT scans, have also prompted scientists to discover that organisms previously thought to be one species may, in fact, be several, such as south-east Asian leaf monkeys, giraffes and walking sharks.

    “For probably 90% of the species, there are natural units, they don’t interbreed and they’re well behaved. But there’s 10% that are busy evolving and we have to make this decision about what is the species and is not,” said Garnett.

    “The public is expecting science to be able to do that. And science hasn’t got a system for doing it reliably.”

I've been finding lately, the conversations about populations and ranges and climate change, really interesting. To the point where I have informed opinions, but I would caution people to take them with a grain of salt because I'm not a scientist, I just listen to scientists speak, and boy howdy, scientists like to disagree sometimes.

One of the things that I'm worried about, is that with climate change, life that is used to warmer areas have two main options. Move to higher altitudes, or move closer to the poles. On the face of it, that doesn't seem to be too big of an issue, but especially in the northern hemisphere that could become an issue where biodiversity is involved. When you're closer to the tropics, there's a lot more variety of pretty much everything. If you want to run into the chance or discovering a previously undescribed species, someplace like Ecuador or Madagascar is gonna offer you a better chance than say, Ontario. Plants and animals especially, we pretty much have a good idea of what's in Ontario just because there isn't as many species. When animals that are used to living further south move further north, what's gonna happen to the residences further north? What's gonna guarantee that the new residences are gonna be able to establish stable populations, thrive? The will to live, pretty much, maybe human intervention to.

One of the things that irks me about iNaturalist is that a lot of people on there depend way too much on range maps to make a decision on what to identify as a species. For example, Carolina Chickadees and Black Cap Chickadees look very similar, can sound similar, and where their populations overlap there's issues of coloration and songs blending into each other. Someone sees a picture of a chickadee on there, without the distinguishing feathers to show without a doubt what kind of bird it is, and they say "Carolina Chickadee cause range" and leave it at that. Sometimes it comes down to common sense, for example if you see what you think is a Five Striped Skink in the hills of Appalachia, you can be pretty certain you're wrong because those are found in Asia and what you're looking at is more likely a Common Five Lined Skink or a Broadhead Skink. But overall, I think relying solely on range maps to make a decision on close calls is a philosophical problem. Animals move, plants spread, hitch hiking and getting lost in storms and human introductions of new species are all common occurrences. Interlopers aren't rare, just rarely spotted. Range maps aren't static, in fact, they're very dynamic. I have some bird books and other field guides from the '60s and '90s and if you compare their range maps to today's, you're gonna see a ton of shifting in borders, sometimes startling growth and sadly sometimes startling contractions. Climate change is a cause, creation and destruction of habitat is a cause, animals will to migrate is a cause. I mean, just look at Coyotes and White Tailed Deer. Due to massive loss of deep woods, their populations have completely spilled out across the United States over the past century. Where wolves and elk and moose have lost out, coyotes and white tails have won.

I think the other thing that gets me thinking is that we're always taught "invasive species = bad!" and I can see the argument for that. Look at Lesser Celandine, or look at Asian Carp or look at Mussels in the Great Lakes. Everyone knows about these, because their effects on the ecology around them are dramatic. But a lot of introduced species, like The Western Honey Bee or Asian Lady Beetle or House Sparrows or Italian Wall Lizard are often viewed as relatively innocuous if not an outright curiosity to kind of be cheered on.

The conversation on invasive species is getting kind of dicey right now and if someone wants more details I can try to find some stories from both sides to show what's going on. What it boils down to though is on one side people will say "life that already lives here has adapted to live here and interact with other forms of life in this area, a fragile balance has been achieved and we need to do what we can to maintain it" and on the other side people are saying "the fragile balance won't last cause climate change, any living thing that can thrive in an area without causing harm should be left alone cause there's not guarantee that local species are gonna make it." I see both points. I agree with both points. I disagree with both points. I worry deeply. There's a crack in the foundation of our planet and more and more it's looking more like a horizontal crack than a vertical one and I don't think anyone really knows what to do with it.

buteos  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Court orders Dakota pipeline shut in latest blow to U.S. fossil fuel projects

There was a pipeline on the Atlantic Coast that was recently canceled as well, though I think it was due to economics and not court orders.

buteos  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Soon we’ll all be cancelled

    I am close to the point of wishing we all had our own private pay to enter bubbles with no inter connectivity.

Those are called bars, sewing circles, book clubs, debate clubs, cars and coffee, bowling leagues, etc. They're awesome. Unfortunately, Covid kind of put the brakes on all that.

buteos  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man is like. Be one.

That's a keeper right there.

buteos  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

    "that which you do" and "that which you say you do" need not be aligned in the slightest.

I don't understand. They totally do.

Edit: Wait, I get it. You mean in regards to thought movements, not Stoicism.

buteos  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

I think part of the issue you're running into with this is that you're kind of taking an "all or nothing approach" and if we're to approach this with Buddhism in mind (I'm gonna switch to that cause I'm a bit more familiar but the parallels with Stoicism are still there), there's the whole "middle path" and "avoiding of extremes." With traffic in mind, who's to say being cut off warrants any response more than knowing that it frustrated you, appreciate the fact that you can still be frustrated, and let go of the moment. I'm not necessarily saying "no harm, no foul" but sometimes it's better to just not act at all. Now say on the other hand, you're being mistreated by a co-worker and they're creating a hostile work environment for you and your other co-workers, that's a situation that requires a thoughtful reaction.

Similarly for generosity, it's not an all or nothing approach. It's important to give, but it's also important to not give so much that you burn yourself out, put yourself in financially, emotionally, psychologically precarious positions.

    Desiring not to be a jingoist or loving a country is a personal judgment in itself. What flaws you might find where you live might be different from which flaws somebody else finds. American exceptionalism, for example, might be good for the economy. Would you go to war to defend your country? One could argue the most compassionate response is to refrain from killing, always, and not to expose yourself to situations that could get you killed. Another might call you a coward who's okay with fascism spreading.

I feel like I could answer this from a Baha'i perspective, but since that's not the philosophy discussed here and I'm starting to doubt what I understand of Stoicism, I don't have a good answer for this. I think the best answer would to circle back to Stoicism's emphasis on personal, independent thought and say "you gotta analyze the situation and come up with your own answers."

    I don't disagree clear thinking and rationality are possible and desirable, but it becomes difficult outside of formal logic and mathematics.

It isn't, but you gotta factor in concepts of what is compassionate, what is just, etc. With that in mind, to the quote you selected . . .

    Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand the universal reason (logos).

Overcoming destructive emotions doesn't mean not feeling them, it means knowing that they're there, that they make you vulnerable, that they can cause harm, etc. It means empowering you to make the right choices not because they're absent, but because you can handle their presence.

Determinism is partially nonsense in my opinion. It's a good way to fall in an apathetic or fatalist mindset.

buteos  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

    The notion that "pure judgments" of situations can exist is a stretch. Personal judgments will always cloud reality. The illusion is in the "rational" approach not just being another personal judgment.

And I agree with you there, by the way. Like I said elsewhere when quoting Marcus Aurelius . . .

    I don't agree with that whole statement, because I think it leaves room for people to be tempted by their own egos and idle fancies
buteos  ·  5 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

    Stoicism shares a lot of parallels with Buddhism in its approach to detachment and focus on so-called virtuous behaviour.

    . . .

    My issue with Stoicism is it quickly becomes bent into a kind of tough guy, cold, emotionally detached approach to reality.

But isn't that missing three core concepts of Stoicism then? That one, concepts like compassion and generosity are in and of themselves virtuous behavior. That two, detachment isn't about separating one from reality but a way to live with it. That three, deeds matter?

    The problem lies in whether or not self-restraint and possibly self-denial is appropriate in all contexts, and to what degree.

Detachment isn't about self restraint or self denial though. Detachment is about the ability to let go and to not be moved by undue influences. For example, I love my car but if I crash it and total it, I need to learn to be okay with that or else the love of my car will harm me. Or I love and adore my country, but I need to exercise that love and adoration with detachment so that I am able to see its flaws and protect myself from falling into a jingoistic mindset. Detachment doesn't mean I can't own a car or love my country or hope for good things, detachment means I need to keep those things from corrupting me, harming me, or cause me to harm others.

    The other problem is it is very difficult to truly know what it is or isn't in one's control. I could spend the rest of today writing a song, call a random drummer in a Facebook group, work like a dog, and have a music video out by next Friday that will propel me to international stardom. Is that likely? It's possible. I would argue to desire anything seriously requires a degree of attachment, and potential disappointment and unhappiness. That doesn't mean you shouldn't still do it.

Once again, detachment empowers you to do your best, hope for the best, expect great things, but be at peace with the results if they're less than stellar or if they are stellar, keep the results from going to your head.

Edit: I'm not trying to be argumentative or combative here. I'm just trying to sound things out loud because the way you're talking about stoicism and the way I understand it feel really different.

buteos  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

Because it's as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional or because our familiarity with its themes offers an air of authority and legitimacy?

I dunno. This is news to me. Honestly. I kind of find it hard to see how a philosophy with a core tenant of "think for yourself" can, if taken seriously, be married to "thought movements" or "philosophical trends."

Maybe I misunderstand stoicism.


    Judge yourself entitled to any word or action which is in accord with nature, and do not let any subsequent criticism or persuasion talk you out of it. No, if it was a good thing to say or do, do not revoke your entitlement. Those others are guided by their own minds and pursue their own impulses. Do not be distracted by any of this, but continue straight ahead, following your own nature and universal nature: these two have one and the same path.

Meditations 5:3

I mean, I don't agree with that whole statement, because I think it leaves room for people to be tempted by their own egos and idle fancies, but it's definitely a call for independence. Maybe I don't understand Stoicism, but maybe others don't as well . . .

buteos  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

I did not know that Stoicism has been given a bad name recently, which is a shame. There's a lot of things in there that I find agreeable, such as the need to place emphasis on deeds over words and how a healthy outlook approach to detachment can help us focus on what is right and important over what is desired.

"Meditations" makes for a pretty good read, from what I've thumbed through. Dala bought two translations. I think she got the Gregory Hays translation with herself in mind, as it's written in modern English and is therefore easier to follow, and she got the Martin Hammond translation for me, cause it's a little more poetic, and she knows how much I love poetry with my religion/philosophy.

buteos  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

Interestingly, in this same series, there's a Buddhist Perspective. I only glanced at it, I might give it a thorough read later.

As for happiness, I wouldn't describe it as "unstable" but more as "ephemeral and conditional." Which, I guess from a certain angle, could be interpreted as "unstable." I tried to chase after happiness for quite a while, from treasuring things such as comics, video games, antiques, and cars, to trying to pursue money and status through my career. It never really worked because there was always the want of more and more and also the frustration of wants unfulfilled.

It wasn't until I decided to take a 90 degree turn and focus less on "happiness" and more on "detachment" that I started to feel more fulfilled. My priorities shifted from the material to the more philosophical. I still struggle with unhappiness, sure, and there's still a material component to it, but it's different. For example, I'm still unhappy career wise, but not because I don't make enough, but because I don't think my job reflects my values and I think it's a morally destitute place with a morally destitute function. I'm unhappy materially, but not because I don't have enough, but because I think I have too much and my possessions are a burden because they make it difficult to live in a clean and orderly home, they create sense of regret in money and time wasted, and I still own some things that remind me of who I used to be that I don't want to be anymore.

One thing I wonder is if "detachment" is an even more nebulous and harder to obtain ideal than "happiness," but one thing I do know is that as nebulous and elusive as it is, I'm pretty confident that pursuing it is making me feel like a more moral, more driven, more complete person.

buteos  ·  6 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to be happy? Most people have it backwards.

    I like how anti-"fun" he is :

Is he though? If he was "anti-fun" I don't think he'd have made this statement.

    I used to be part of the Territorial Army (now known as the ‘Army Reserve’) and spent most of my weekends in cold, muddy puddles getting shouted at. When I looked back on the weekends, I’d somehow convinced myself that I’d had a great time playing soldiers. So I put this to the test and one weekend I decided to write down how I felt as it happened. I realised I hated it. That was my last weekend with the Army.

Dude is all over the map, actually. It's not his fault, happiness is a complex concept (it's no wonder people struggle to achieve it). He seems to jump back and forth between the concept of happiness as approached by pursuing pleasure and contentment as approached by detachment, discipline, and self understanding. Not surprisingly, he finds arguments that validates and invalidates both. The whole conversation is unfocused, which is understandable, because it looks more like it was an interview instead of a thought out, planned, and focused essay. Even if it was, I don't think the concept of happiness, pleasure, fulfillment, contentment, suffering, and struggles could be tackled in so few words.

buteos  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: PSA regarding user bans

You know, as far as bosses go, you're tough but fair and I really appreciate that. I'll tell you what. I think I might pull a Rip Van Winkle and get back to you sometime in 2040. Sounds fair?