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briandmyers's badges given

It was my dad.

I'm glad I was born before the internet took off. It must be so incredibly hard these days for kids to get interested in books or for parents/teachers/others to spark the interest for long form reading.

My dad only had a small collection of books, but was an avid library member. I have so many fond memories of visiting the library every month. Even better when we moved and our house was on the same street as the local library.

Thanks for this post. I haven't read any "joy" books in the last 18 months, only technical, work related books.

Going to remedy that starting tonight!

Of course! I guess it's a large combination of things though, definitely not one thing.

I wake up each morning with a strong urge to.. I dunno. Get things done. I wake up and the first thing on my mind is "There's work to do". Be it go to the gym, play all my various sports, actually go to my job, go be social etc. I think it's all of my interests rolled in together. I have so many things I enjoy doing, and that would likely be why I would fail at convincing this person out of his belief; we're just too dissimilar, I don't have the experience he does and I can only use examples from my own, very positive life.

Today for example, I woke up, went to the gym and busted through my routine. Came home, had some breakfast and a protein shake. Had a shower and washed my hair cause I'm getting a haircut after work and I know it'll make the job easier for them. Head down to work, listening to my "strut" playlist (these are all songs I feel good listening to). I get to work, do my thing, converse with people, get a little shitty at times, and then eventually it's the end of the day and it's Friday here so yay! I went out to get my haircut down the street, then joined up with the workmates for a Friday beer. After that I came home, organized dinner and then checked Hubski and saw your fascinating post. Now I've had dinner, am looking at some art I've been working on thinking I really need to finish that before I see my brother in November. And I'm also setting up a date tomorrow with a friend, going to the SPCA to play with the kitties.

Outside of that; I'll organize my music and find some new artists, maybe watch a movie if something cool is available (I go alone most of the time, it's easier for me to get immersed that way), practice for rugby, go see my friends elsewhere in the city. If the weather is crap I'll jump on some games on Steam and shoot things, cruise Hubski and see what Reddit has to offer. Work on art some and get new ideas. Read! Reading is a great escape for me, I'm going through the Wheel of Time and also all of Brandon Sanderson's works and I truly get lost for hours.

If my city isn't really doing it for me, I can go for a drive. 3 hours away is Queenstown http://imgur.com/gallery/czFv5Dy , where I used to live and just a truly stunning place to be; alone or with friends. New Zealand is a truly small place, everything is so local and at hand (despite being an Island).

Sorry this is truly rambling, I guess I just wanted to convey somehow that it's so many things that I live for. All these little things come together and get me out of bed, I love doing everything and I have so many things to keep me occupied that in the odd weekend where I have nothing to do, I'll feel fine about sleeping till noon.

I try and be appreciative for everything I have, and posts like yours bring to the forefront how good life is for me - so thank you for that at the very least!

WanderingEng  ·  1160 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What do you understand about life?

A big one someone told me is everyone around you has a rich life. A favorite song, a book that stuck with them, friends, family, hopes and fears.

That jerk who cut me off on the way to work wasn't some jerk put on Earth to cut me off, it's someone who has their own things going on in their life.

Putting a rich life behind the strangers I cross paths with helps me feel better about life.

lil  ·  1190 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Germany to legislate 30 percent quota for women on company boardsx 2

    Can you make some examples of how feminists have tried to improve the lives of men?
Because of feminism, more women have been able to get educated. Because of education, they have been able to contribute to running all societal institutions: political, judicial, educational, spiritual, financial and so on. Thus, they have improved the lives of men, by taking some of the pressure off them. They don't have to feel responsible for everything all the time. Women can help.

Because of feminism, women have been able to get more jobs. Occasionally these jobs are well-paying. Even at 77% of what men make (Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/equal-pay/career), these jobs allow women to contribute to feeding their families. Men don't have to feel totally responsible for supporting their families. Women can help.

Without feminism, women would be stuck in the 19th century.

Are you familiar with The Declaration of Rights and Sentiments produced for the Woman's Rights Convention, Held at Seneca Falls, N.Y., July 19th and 20th, 1848. Here's a bit of it. I think you'll find it interesting.

    The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.

    He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.

    He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners.

    Having deprived her of this first right of a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.

    He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

    He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

    He has made her, morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.

    He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women—the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.

    After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.

    He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.

    He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.

    He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education—all colleges being closed against her.

    He allows her in Church as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.

    He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.

    He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.

    He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

    Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation,—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.

Meanwhile, it's obvious that you feel aggrieved and you probably have good reason.

Meriadoc  ·  1299 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Leonard Nimoy dies at 83

...

"We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human."

EDIT: I was holding up until I came across that quote and then choked up. But I lost it after seeing his last tweet. I can't comprehend that level of acceptance of mortality, and in the moments leading up to your death, having the clarity and ability to put something valuable out there.

elizabeth  ·  1412 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Discussion: Why do you stay in the US?

    It doesn't incapacitate anyone farther than maybe nausea and permanent hearing damage.

When you are permanently taking away something like a sensory ability, that is especially criminal. There is absolutely no reason that these devices should ever be used... anywhere. Other non-permanently damaging methods of riot and crowd control are just as effective. Utilizing LRAD is the result of someone's (really, multiple persons') hard-on(s) for harming other people.

It's about fucking time that we started having a national dialog about the out-of-control militarization of the U.S. police force. That it took such a series of unfortunate events to get peoples' wheels turning is pathetic.

kleinbl00  ·  1499 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Should your robot driver kill you to save a child's life?

Alright. So it comes down to "engineering problems" vs. "philosophical problems."

Engineers solve engineering problems all day long. Thing of it is, though, most of the solving is in formulating the question. Contrary to popular belief, an engineering degree is not a degree in solving story problems, it's a degree in writing them - and in writing the correct ones to give you the answers that matter.

Philosophers don't really solve anything: they look for the unsolvable. The qualia of color and Agrippa's trilemma can keep philosophers going for decades. Some problems are indeed unsolvable: if you step halfway to the wall with every step, will you ever actually touch the wall?

This is never an issue until an engineering problem is framed as a philosophical problem, or a philosophical problem is framed as an engineering problem. An engineer will take a look at qualia and go "approximate green as green" and Munchausen and say "test for repeatability" and be done with it. Will you ever reach the wall? sure. The tolerance on your ability to stand that still is about a quarter of an inch. Philosophy suddenly becomes a story problem and it's solvable.

My least favorite story of all time is The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, supposedly about a stowaway on a space ship facing certain death. Why does she face certain death? Because Tom Godwin wanted to write about a girl facing certain death. Great stories can be written this way: "Kaleidoscope" by Ray Bradbury deals with the problem, as does Heinlein with "The Long Watch." However, both of these latter authors established as the ground rules that death was inevitable because of a catastrophe and bravery respectively. Godwin, on the other hand, argued that death was inevitable because the supply ship the stowaway was aboard was so precisely engineered that an extra 100 lbs meant the difference between total 100% success and a fiery death for the pilot and utter destruction of his life-saving medicine.

The issue with phrasing a philosophical problem as an engineering problem is you are dismissing the universe. You are saying "it's not worth asking about solutions because there aren't any, I checked." Which forces the reader to poke at your problem and find all the unexamined issues. Which, if you're after a philosophical discussion, pisses off both parties - "any of that other rubbish" misses the philosophical issue of, in this example,

autonomous cars choosing to kill people.

    Consider this thought experiment: you are travelling along a single-lane mountain road in an autonomous car that is fast approaching a narrow tunnel. Just before entering the tunnel a child attempts to run across the road but trips in the centre of the lane, effectively blocking the entrance to the tunnel. The car has but two options: hit and kill the child, or swerve into the wall on either side of the tunnel, thus killing you. Both outcomes will certainly result in harm, and from an ethical perspective there is no “correct” answer to this dilemma. The tunnel problem serves as a good thought experiment precisely because it is difficult to answer.

Autonomous cars are an engineering problem. Everyone wants to discuss the philosophical issues - everyone wants to talk about the "choices" that an autonomous car will "make" and how that will endanger our lives and open up "dilemmas."

and it's bullshit.

It is purest, simplist, most saccharine bullshit because cars don't choose. Robots don't choose. Computers don't choose. Logic dictates operation based on inputs and the system is truly complex. But that doesn't even matter because the issue here isn't what a computer will do, it's what you'd do: the basic premise of autonomous cars is they have to perform at least as well as we do. So as soon as you swap yourself for the car, the question, when posed as a binary (kill you, kill the kid) becomes offensive as fuck.

Look. Let's get real, shall we? Let's pick a real tunnel.

That's Bluff Mountain Tunnel in Virginia. Here it is in Google Streetview. seems to fit the bill - a car and a kid can't both fit through it, swerve and hit the wall. Speed limit through there is 45mph, which is cruisin' fast enough that things are gonna get dicy. So let's take things at face value: swerve and hit a wall or run over the kid?

As a philosophical problem, it's clear-cut: the discussion is whether you're going to die or the kid is. As an engineering problem, it's anything but:

1) NHTSA safety standards require a car to protect its occupants from a 35mph front-end collision with an immovable object. You tellin' me you can't bleed off 10mph?

2) What the hell are you doing hauling ass so fast where you can't stop anyway? If you are, you're breaking the law - and guaranteed, your autonomous car won't break the law.

3) I'll bet you could bleed off some speed on that grass. And those trees are gonna slow you a whole lot more gently than the cliff face.

4) You know, if you run over the kid's legs, she'll live.

5) You know, if you glance the side of the tunnel with your passenger side, you and the kid will be fine even if you don't so much as tap the brakes.

And yeah - it's tough for you to make dispassionate decisions like this in the heat of the moment. But it isn't for an autonomous vehicle because a real-live human programmed all this stuff in before it ever rolled off the factory floor. It's thinking at 3gHz and it has absolutely no adrenaline in the game.

Besides which, the software is just responding to the conditions in the way it was programmed to respond by engineers who are dealing with real problems that they have to investigate and put numbers to and error-check and beta-test and otherwise suck all possible philosophy out of it. It really isn't the lady or the tiger, it's "how much braking traction does the vehicle have on these road conditions and is that adequate to address the limited sight distance of the blind corner ahead."

Honda's rolling that shit out next year.

There was a science fiction story called "The Cold Solution." It was one of a long line of pragmatic thinkers bugged to distraction by philosophers attempting to call engineering problems "unsolvable." In it, the pilot and the stowaway cut off their legs and pitch them out the airlock. Everybody lands safely and the manufacturer of the space tug is sued for negligence.

The problem of autonomous cars is worth discussing. The problem of the "choices" they will have to make as we wring our hands in panic about the Frankenstein we have unleashed to the countryside is worth ignoring.

Any time someone tells you there are only two choices, you know at least one thing:

They haven't thought about the problem very hard.

lil  ·  1686 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham (HD)

I just came across this quote and it made me think of the creationist arguments:

    Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid ... Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”

    ― Bertrand Russell, Why Men Fight

mike  ·  1926 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I live in a Surveillance State

I live in Norway. For comparison, the government here cannot monitor your web activity. Or your phone records. Private surveillance cameras must be pointed away from streets and sidewalks. Traffic cameras, if they do not issue a ticket, must delete data about your transit within 30 seconds of recording it. Citizens are not permitted to take pictures of other people, or inside buildings. There are 7 police video surveillance cameras in the entire country, all in Oslo. Privacy is important here. Even if it makes police work more difficult.

Even though the Norwegian government isn't monitoring me though, I'm still being spied on by the U.S. I use gmail, which we now learn might all be copied (easy enough). And my data surely travels through U.S. servers, so the NSA knows what I buy and many of the websites I visit. Yep, even though I'm living and conducting my business in Europe, the U.S. is spying on me.

While Norway is deleted records that are 30 seconds old, I don't expect the NSA will delete their records. At all. Ever. Even if they say they will. And I don't expect they will stop. Even if they say they will. Everyone's pretty screwed.

Time for a new mode of email. Some kind of anti- Tin Can.

littlebirdie  ·  2075 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: First honey from the new hive

I love bees! My neighbor kept bees when I was a child! I bet that honey is wondrous, healing, full of memory and hard work. I want to hear more about it!

The field behind my childhood home stretched for countless acres of tall pale grasses and hidden snake holes, all of them covered by swarms of honey bees. They landed on blue bachelor's buttons and the delicate stalks of goldenrod that made my mother sneeze.

The bees "belonged" to our next door neighbor, as if thousands of migrant winged aliens living in a city of sand could belong to anyone. He crept through the fields in canvas overalls, carrying leather gloves and a bee-keeper's veil for the times he would dip his hands into the white boxes, small specks from our house, removing mounds of lumpy honey.

My friends were terrified of bees. They never walked the field, never put foot softly in front of foot to feel for quail under the brush, never knew an ancient oval piece of black basalt lay at the ridge of Johnson's Hill. I knew these things, felt quail rush beneath my feet, knew the incessant sawing of worker bees floating through the white trumpets of morning glory.

My neighbor siphoned angry bees into a glass bottle and gave it to me to hold. I studied hairs on tiny legs, learned to identify workers and sentries and the elusive queen. I carried his bucket to the hives and stood yards away while the flapping wings of the colony added to the gentle breeze, and smelled the rich scent of beeswax and honey he would carry home to bottle and sell. He called it "bee barf" and though he was right it made the honey hard to eat. He looked like a bee, with short stubbly arms and sun wrinkles like stripes across his face.

Winter was a quiet time. The field slept, covered in crunchy layers of ice and snow, dead goldenrod encased in fairy tale icicles. My sisters would walk the field these cold days, to Johnson's Hill, unafraid of the frozen bees on the ground around the hives, and by February the snowy grass parted for our sled trails like tracks in a rail yard.

One winter I collected frozen bees in a jar. I examined them carefully, made sure I had all worker bees, as they do not sting. I screwed the metal lid onto the jar and slipped it into the pocket of my down Eskimo coat. I put the bees behind the front door, in stasis, until my mom lay down on the coach to watch Day of Our Lives. I tiptoed to the kitchen and set the bottle on the spitting radiator, let the heat and steam and kitchen smells wake the bees, and saw wings start to vibrate, small sticky feet start to shake, until the jar was a rumbling bumble hive of summer. I snuck it to my room and slept that night to the snoring sound of busy insects on my windowsill.

The next morning I bundled up in long underwear and turtleneck sweater and snow pants and red knit mittens and grabbed the reins to the old wooden sled. I placed the rumble bees, bottle wrapped in a towel, on the peeling paint and pulled through new snow, across the driveway, the yard, into virgin white field. By the time I reached the hives, the bees were already back in winter slumber, silent and static like fuzzy bitter popsicles. I poured them on top of the hive, knew they would wake once again, and padded off to Johnson's Hill.

My life is like the bees these days. I'm in stasis, waiting for sunlight, ultraviolet rays of knowledge and understanding and rest. I'll wake up on some good radiator, reborn, life begins again.

thenewgreen  ·  2157 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: New member

Welcome. I've been around for a bit, some things that might not be immediately intuitive: There is a "hubwheel" beneath your name and the more you participate in the community and the more your contributions are appreciated, the more the little "wheels" will fill in and eventually you will make a full rotation and earn a badge. Once you've earned a badge you can gift it to a post or comment that you appreciate. These "badged" posts/comments can be found under the discover tabs on the left and they're a great place to find quality content imo.

It's a fun place with some interesting people of all sorts. Let me know if I can be of any help. mk is the creator and is really accessible and open to suggestions. Cheers!

thenewgreen  ·  2206 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Differences in conservative and liberal brains

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum". -- Noam Chomsky

Why do we keep debating things like abortion continuously like clockwork every election? Because it has no bearing on corporate earnings. We are allowed to have this debate. The power brokers want us to talk circles around this. The more we do, the less likely we are to talk about things like the repealing of Citizens United or re-implementation of Glass Steagall or raising the capital gains tax.

Another great Chomsky quote: Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.

user-inactivated  ·  2253 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What should I do with my life?
I feel like I have recently hit a wall in the "What should I do with my life?" question. I could go on and get my Masters in Economics, but I really don't want to. I haven't gone to a good school and even if I could go to a good school I have other obligations that would make it very hard to pull up stakes and do so. That pretty much leaves me doing linear regression for Frito Lay to figure out the optimum number of facings of jalapeno chips to put in vending machines to maximize profit and customer utility. I really don't want to do the work that will get me the Frito Lay job.

I have worked as a bartender for a while, I'm good at it. I'm not good at keeping up on the latest drink's, I could really give a fuck about stupid shots. But I am good at glad-handing, management and running a business efficiently. So I have decided to buy a bar. I have a partner (who has a complementary set of skills) and we have enough funding to buy a low budget bar that is on the ropes and nurse it back to health. While I'm good at "bars" I don't really like them all that much, and to tell you the truth not liking bars a lot is a great quality in a bar owner. I don't want to have a personal party zone, I know that it's more work then fun, I am not a drunk or a coke head (these are pretty much the core values of the average person who wants to open a bar, and it's not a winning formula).

While owning a bar isn't something especially laudable, I don't think I really mind. After about five years of hard work I hope to own two bars with my partner and have a pretty decent income and some management in place so that my work consists of problem solving for my staff, not running myself ragged with late nights. This will hopefully allow me to do the stuff that really matters, spend time with and provide for my family.

I could write and essay about qualities that I would like to see in a bar, but I won't. I'll just say that my model is of a neighborhood place, good visibility from the outside, so people see that it's an open and friendly space. No TV's or screens of any type visible from the street or the main seating area, TV's kill socialization. A staff that honors all patrons regardless of class or race. Hopefully I can remember what it's like be in a workers shoes and not become bourgeois filth, unable or willing to relate or respond to the concerns and valuable observations of my staff (this would be the big downside of my current job, it's not that the people who own it are bastards, they just don't relate to the actual work going on and are missing out on a number of efficiencies and comforts that could make their bar a happier more profitable place).

I know so many people with larger life goals then "to own a bar," and owning a bar isn't really the goal, it's just a means. I'll never help push forward the goals of human understanding, be a captain of industry or help shape public policy and I feel like I should feel guilty for this. I will be able to send my kid to a good school, let my wife do work that she finds more meaningful then what she is doing now, provide decent jobs in an environment that appreciates the value of hard work and dedication to customer service, provide a comfortable environment for people to socialize in and also to give back a fixed percentage of the profits to pro-social community causes.

I wrestle with the fear of putting my financial ass on the line (this is my families ass as well) and not doing work of significant perceived social value but it's where I am right now, I hope it works out. I think I'll have a space by the end of the year, I'll keep you all updated, and buy you a drink someday if you ever make it here.