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usualgerman's profile

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usualgerman  ·  175 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: USA Powerlifting to allow trans athletes to compete with women after losing suit

I think I’m a bit more conservative on this as an American woman. The big issue even on non-contact sports is scholarships. College sports in America are a critical way that kids who otherwise could not afford a good college get in, especially for minorities. But, women cannot possibly compete for those spots even in the situation where a man, even one on hormone replacement is available. And with the prospect of free tuition on the side of a male student, this might be something they’d be willing to do simply to escape poverty. On the coaches side (again in the USA) there’s huge pressure to build a winning team. Coaches of Division I sports are often the highest paid people in that college. It’s a huge business, and if you can get just under the NCAA hormone levels with a couple of B p-team men, you can wipe the floor with a woman’s team. And thus, now you’ll essentially shut a lot of women out of those scholarships and those teams because they’re unable to keep pace with the men playing.

usualgerman  ·  177 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Not a Parrot

Couldn’t that definition apply to anything electronic? My cell phone matabolizes energy from a battery which i charge from a wall socket. It responds to commands I give it via a touch screen. Other than needing a factory to reproduce, it’s meets the definition.

usualgerman  ·  179 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Not a Parrot

It’s called the “hard problem” for a reason. Consciousness and free will are extremely hard to provide good definitions for, and in fact there are good philosophical arguments on how we — Humans — may not really have either one. Now if we can’t be sure that WE are conscious, that WE have the ability to exercise free will, is really not possible to make coherent arguments about whether anyone or anything else does. It ends up something like arguing about souls — and it’s amazing how groups of living things we didn’t historically see as “equal to us” were seriously considered to maybe not even have a soul. There are historical arguments during the pre-civil war era arguing about whether Black people had souls. We argue in much the same way about animals — are animals “conscious” which TBH is a stand in for the discussion people don’t want to have about rights. If you can deny souls or the modern equivalent of consciousness to a being whether it’s an amoeba, a cow, a robot, an alien or a human, then you don’t have to give them rights.

My interaction on the topic is fairly shallow. Mostly reading about it, although I’ll admit that science fiction has shaped my thinking as well.

usualgerman  ·  180 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Millenial "Adulthood" Pledge.

I agree. I’m in retail, and there are a lot of people (not just millennials, but in every generation) who simply are entitled little shits. They seem to have no concept of how they affect other people, cannot stand the word “no” or even “it might take some time” . It’s a narrow segment of all generations and it’s weird to me how they’re so cacooned from the outside world that they assume everything is all about them. They can be late or absent and just ghost people without having to explain or even apologize for it.

usualgerman  ·  180 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Are Not a Parrot

I think a huge problem for the debate on whether robots and AI are conscious in any meaningful sense is less about the capacity of the machine in question and much more about the fact that consciousness is a hard problem in itself. We simply lack a good enough definition of consciousness to make any meaningful tests for consciousness that are based on real theory.

The general philosophical definition is that a conscious being has a subjective experience of the world. Or to quote the common question “is it like something to be an X?” Does it have an internal thought process, will, wants, and desires? Does it experience things subjectively? Does the robot experience something like pain when it falls off a platform? But how do you define pain? An amoeba will react negatively to a stimulus, and it will be attracted to others. But if it encounters water too hot for it and moves away is this a biological equivalent of machine learning, or is it pain? Keep in mind that amoebas have no CNS or brains, just a single cell. To my mind the amoeba could be doing either of these. It could be doing exactly like the robot falling off a platform. “This event is negative, avoid.” Or it could experience pain.

Cars, used as designed aren’t supposed to injure or kill people. Any time a gun is used properly, on the target it was designed to destroy, a life ends, whether human or animal. That makes guns a different animal than most other consumer products. No other consumer product is designed such that proper use on the target intended causes death. And outside of potentially causing that death (whether in self-defense or offense) there’s no use for them. Cars are transportation, they are used to move the driver and any passengers from one place to another at speeds faster than humans or beasts of burden can go. They’re designed to move cargo as well.

I believe that self-defense can be a necessary thing, and preparing for that can be perfectly legitimate. But the argument “other products kill too, and we haven’t banned them” is a deliberate obfuscation of the issue at hand — guns are, for better or worse, designed for the purpose of killing. Cars are transportation. Ovens are for cooking. Cold medicine is for making you feel less sick. Off purpose uses of those things that injure or kill are seen as problems to be solved, not features to be enhanced.

usualgerman  ·  181 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The War in Ukraine Was Provoked—and Why That Matters to Achieve Peace

I don’t see how that’s better. If you allow a country into NATO that means that we go to hot war with any country that invades it (in this case Russia) no matter what. Add in that we’d basically be surrounding Russia, and I think we be at a hot nuclear war.

usualgerman  ·  824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mysteries around obesity and the contaminant hypothesis

I think it's the lack of things like fiber and proteins and so on in the processed American diet. Fiber and proteins and fats make people feel full, and thus stop eating. I've done fairly well for myself sticking to a semi-paleo diet (I allow quality cheeses and 100% whole grain breads). But what I find is that I can chow down on processed versions of real foods a lot more than I can of the whole version of the same thing.

usualgerman  ·  858 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Delta Variant

I'm a lot more pessimistic than you.

The GOP is running the political equivalent of prevent defense. Just like in 2008, they have the game plan of standing against anything the democrats want to do. They're going to make very good use of the filibuster that the democrats failed to do anything about. Our courts are packed with John Birch society vetted conservatives, which effectively means that a lot of legislation, provided that it actually gets past the Senate Filibuster, will be dead the minute it hits the courts. As far as democrats getting elected, I'm doubtful of this especially in the senate and the whitehouse. Reading the new voting laws that the GOP are putting in for the states they control, it's easy for them to manipulate the system to win no matter what the general public actually wants. I say this with a heavy heart, but I don't think our pseudo-democratic system is going to let the plebs get anything they want or need. No loan relief, no minimum wage increase, no infrastructure, and definitely no green new deal. To be blunt, anyone who still thinks the government will do anything for the plebs is willfully blind. We are on our own, for the most part.

Preview of coming attractions: the Attorney General of MO is suing to prevent a mask mandate. I don't think lockdowns are remotely on the table here. And again, I m telling you, if you're vulnerable, you need to figure it out yourself because there's no bailouts or lockdowns coming that I can see in the future. And those cities and states that try will be heavily resisted because everyone understands now that they'll lose a year of income and get $1400 with only a moratorium on payments of their rapidly expanding debt. That's if (as happened last summer) local cops don't simply announce that they have no intention of actually enforcing those mandates. If you want a real lockdown, you'll need the National Guard.

usualgerman  ·  921 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: You Won’t Remember the Pandemic the Way You Think You Will

I mean it depends. One thing about 1918 is that most people who actually lived it are ... Dead. This means essentially that the stuff that lives on are things in the media reports. We have photos of guys in trenches and people in masks and anti mask leagues (which were formal clubs in 1918). On the other hand, judging from my family, the stuff we actually remember to pass down as oral history are things that affected us personally. My great grandmother caught the Spanish flu and lived. They boiled the silver wear (which probably didn't help because it's a virus, but what would a young Polish girl know). From the Depression I have stories of my great grandfather feeding random kids in Chicago and not charging some people for the milk he delivered. Also he had a blind horse.

I think people who personally lost jobs and houses will remember. People who couldn't have their weddings the way they wanted will remember (my grandparents couldn't get some stuff because of WW2, so they made their wedding meal brunch after trading ration points), they'll remember if they participated in protests. I think 1/6 will join 9/11 and the JFK assassination as a "where were you when" thing. For the record, I was watching the speeches, Ted Cruz put me to sleep, and I woke up 20 minutes later hella confused.

Stories that happened to you, you'll remember. Marquee moments that get press will be collective memories.

I had a coat I ordered online which I didn't know at the time came from China. Months went by, no coat. Like ordered it in November and it didn't show up. At the same time I started hearing all the weird stuff in Wuhan. I eventually put it together when I saw a post on Slatestarcodex about it. Which said that masks probably work. Then everybody bought TP.

usualgerman  ·  1164 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just died

Electorally it doesn't matter unless states actually flip. 10,000 more democrat voters in various blue states don't matter because of the electors. There's no reason for them to worry much about blue voters "voting really really hard" because their regions are generally blue anyway.

usualgerman  ·  1164 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just died

Electorally it doesn't matter unless states actually flip. 10,000 more democrat voters in various blue states don't matter because of the electors. There's no reason for them to worry much about blue voters "voting really really hard" because their regions are generally blue anyway.

usualgerman  ·  1164 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Online Privacy Should Be Modeled on Real-World Privacy

We tolerate it because it's absolutely different.

In the real world, you don't know anything unless I tell you specifically. I went somewhere last Tuesday, you don't find out unless I TELL YOU. Unless you are following me and listening in, which is creepy.

Online, you pretty much telegraph the entire thing. You carry a locator in your pocket. You leave trails based on your IP address. There are no secrets. You can't tell the world where you are and what you're doing and then get mad because people know. You told them.

usualgerman  ·  1164 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pandemic. Politics. Economics. Quarantine. It’s all hitting me...

I feel that way too sometimes. I think it's a rather big ask for anyone to simply pause life except for social media. I feel bad for those who have it worse than I do. I think the key is finding healthy outlets for the needs you feel. I've rediscovered reading, and I'm trying to learn Korean because Kpop and kdramas are interesting. But you do you, which is the point.

You need something to keep you grounded.


usualgerman  ·  2033 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet

The tags are much better than the subreddits. You can't sit on a tag and create a unified culture around it like you can a sub. If you make a The_Donald tag, you can't ban liberals from using it, and thus anyone on that tag will see all kinds of things. If you're on Reddit you moderate that sub, anything you don't like can be filtered away from the audience thus pushing radicalization. Reddit has that structure problem -- it's designed ground up to facilitate factions and filter bubbles where you can spend your time reading only things you agree with and nothing else.

usualgerman  ·  2069 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Talk Religion: Religions and Perceptions of Ostentatiousness and Modesty

Minority opinion, but I like the ostentatious displays. God is supposed to be the king of the universe, and any earthly leader doing the same things nobody would question. Why is Queen Elizabeth worth all the pomp and circumstance, the jewels, the cars, and so on, but God isn't. Why is it that you wouldn't dream of going to an audience with HRH in ripped jeans and a ratty t-shirt, but that's good enough for the God of the universe?

My two cents is that I find the reverse to be just as ostentatious in the opposite direction. People tripping over themselves to remove anything that's not absolutely mundane. Like you decided that organs are too formal, so you use a guitar. And decorations are too formal. Its still showing off, you're showing off by not being formal.

usualgerman  ·  2072 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How Conservative Christianity Can Warp the Mind

I think this is true of any ideology. Professionals, just like the rest of us aren't used to thinking of opinions as the source or even a symptom of a problem, but that's not necessarily true. Anything taken to extreme ends won't work. If you're on the extreme ends of political or religious or social ideas, it usually doesn't end well.