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kleinbl00  ·  20 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.

kleinbl00  ·  32 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.

kleinbl00  ·  36 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  ·  72 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!

kleinbl00  ·  90 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  ·  95 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.


kleinbl00  ·  133 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.

kleinbl00  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The currency of the New Economy won't be money, but attention   ·  

There's an assumption (backed by propaganda and revisionist history) that history has been one long steady arc towards progress when in fact (1) nobody focuses on anything but western European history (2) it's had fucktons of fits'n'starts.

"labor" vs. "child labor" became a thing in the Victorian era because pastoralism and artisanism were wiped out by enclosure and mass-production. The Luddites weren't complaining about technology, they were complaining about wealth concentration and the unchecked evolution of Victorian squalor. That's what prompted Communism - Engels wandered over to the UK and went "whoa holy shit industrializaiton and capitalism are a massive step back for ordinary people" and Marx went "seize the means of production" which is a meaningless concept in a preindustrial society. But because we've been at the foremost of industrial society from the get-go, we naturally presume it is an unalloyed good and matchstick girls would have died of cholera even if they weren't drinking their own shit in Whitechapel.

Computers and devices are an environmental hazard, one we're adapting rapidly to either deal with or be defeated by. Social media is 20 years old and has radically changed politics and society but I mean, high schools are 100 years old and radically changed politics and society.

Fundamentally? If you're a bad parent, you're a bad parent. The challenges change but the need to respond to them doesn't. That "we" has always fucked up their kids, parents have always rebelled against the "we."

The "child labor laws" thing is a total non sequitur. I was ten hours a week at a toy store from 4th grade, got social security statements and everything. You can have child actors on stage for anywhere from half an hour (newborns) to 4 hours per day (teenagers) no problem. they can't work full shifts until 16 which... c'mon. Okay, they can't manufacture explosives. But I mean, c'mon.

I have an uninterrupted social security history going back to age eight. That doesn't include paper routes, mown lawns, short-order cooking at the ski area or fixing cars. And none of the regulations have changed from when I was a kid.

kleinbl00  ·  235 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 3, 2022  ·  x 2

this was also a long time coming

Worthy of note: those numbers are bullshit. The counts per rev on the motors isn't vaguely right, there's a 9:1 gearmotor between the motor and the ballscrew, and the ballscrew calcs aren't even incorporated. And uhh obviously the motor and the ballscrews aren't even physically connected.

But that's the software, cheerfully controlling a servo motor to a tenth of a micron.

The backlash of the gear motor is under 3 arc minutes, or under 0.05 degrees. The backlash of the GT2 belts is 2.7 arc minutes, or also under 0.05 degrees. two of the axes are 4mm/rev ballscrews, one of them is 2mm/rev. .1 degree at 4mm/rev is 0.0011mm, or 1.1 microns.

The machine originally used closed-loop control via Heidenhain glass scales that were totes stolen by the brigand that sold me the machine. With that closed-loop control the machine managed 1-micron precision. I can buy Mitutoyo scales that will work with a module for the servo pack that will get me to within 0.01 microns, or "a coronavirus." I don't think it'll take that. To assume mirror finish for any waveform you need half the wavelength. Visible light starts at around 370nm, so half of that is 185nm, or around 0.2 microns. The motors, for their part, are 24-bit encoders, so 0.0013 arc minutes per pulse or 0.077 arc seconds. 0.073 nanometers per pulse at which point you acknowledge you're measuring absolute fucktons of noise. 4600 pulses just in the combined backlash of belt and gear motor.

But I've taken this creature from "is it possible" to "do I want it."

I got the motors to wake up yesterday. They appeared in SigmaWin and I could jog them. I choked up like I was watching the end of Babe. I've got at least one dead servopak; I paid $190 ea for them because the local guy told me they were $3k and fuck him. I could buy another for $190 used or $400 new out of China or, apparently $1100 out of any scrupulous North American distributor who isn't giving me the fuck-you price. I found this out when I inquired about getting mine fixed and was told they won't fix it if it'll cost more than 70% of the new price or "around $800."

Here's a $4500 mill. Like that surface finish? Here's its stepper motor. A B C D, baby! Mine have 1500 parameters, life-cycle monitoring and not one, not two, but five thousand-page manuals. Which allow fancy moves like this fucking voodoo at 3:30.

I'm literally at "the plane flies." It's not ready for passengers? I wouldn't take it across the Atlantic? But the proof-of-concept has proven out and this fucker IS GOING TO WORK.

kleinbl00  ·  242 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 27, 2022  ·  
kleinbl00  ·  323 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows  ·  

So sample from this list. Broad generalization, not always true, but civil wars are generally fought across three divides:

- Ethnic. My people hate your people and have always hated your people. This covers Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Yemen, Ethiopia, Angola, most of the "places you barely know about and would never visit" wars.

- Ideological. Your way of running the world and my way of running the world are utterly incompatible. This covers Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, places the US sent troops in the name of domino theory.

- Economical. Your use of capitalism and my use of capitalism are mutually exclusive. These wars are exceedingly rare. I can only think of one.

In my lifetime, the "proper" way to discuss the Civil War has shifted from "it was obviously about freeing the slaves" to "it was obviously about the economic repression forced upon the Southern States by mercantilist Northern industrialists" to "it was obviously about freeing the slaves who also weren't truly freed and anyone who says otherwise is a racist" in no small part because the only logical conclusion of the actual facts on the ground is "unfettered capitalism does grievous harm to humanity." Kinda like how we talk about the vast open unsettled spaces of the American frontier rather than the multiple civilizations we wiped out through targeted genocide in order to make them appear wide open.

I bring this up because you learned about the Missouri Compromise without learning why because history teachers aren't allowed to teach "our current system was bad, is bad and is likely to continue to be bad" their best bet is to lay the facts at your feet and hope you twig to enough of the clues that eventually you'll look shit up for yourself who am I kidding 99% of them don't know either. Look:

- The economic system of the northern (manufacturing) United States was "rich people own factories, poor people work until they're dead or useless at which point we cast them aside and they can either beg on the street or hope they've had enough children that they'll be tended to in their nasty, brutish and short old age."

- The economic system of the southern (agricultural) United States was "rich people own plantations, they also own the people who work on those plantations and if they're kind plantation owners the lives of the people they own will be marginally better than the lives of the people the northern industrialists hire."

- The social system of the northern (manufacturing) United States was "rich people own everything, if you're lucky you'll get a job so you'll have a roof over your head."

- The social system of the southern (agricultural) United States was "rich people own everything including, maybe, you, and if they don't, hardscrabble subsistence farming is pretty much what you got but you're too uneducated and primitive to know the difference, hey look it could be worse you could be black and in chains."

So the Missouri Compromise? Was fundamentally "do we let the economic and social system of the north expand or do we let the economic and social system of the south expand." The North can't make money if employees are free, the South can't make money if employees are skilled. The economic and social systems were far more divided than people have been led to believe; there had been a system whereby southern agricultural staples were turned into northern manufactured goods but globalism meant that non-Southern cotton etc. was cheaper. Expanding free ranching and farming to the West would further undercut the South so in order to protect the Southern economy, Western production needed to be both cheaper and shittier than that produced by literal slave labor. The Northern companies and economists firmly believed the only way for the United States to exist as a country was to increase skilled labor in the south; one of the principle reasons for fighting the Civil War is the British were more than happy to subsidize crappy slave-based agriculture in the South, starve out the North and basically reintegrate the disUnited States back into the Commonwealth.

So everybody learns "it was/was not about freeing the slaves" because "it was about whether your slaves feel 'free' or not" gets your textbook banned in Texas.

I BRING THIS ALL UP because the actual strains necessary to produce a "civil war" in the United States are gargantuan compared to "does a thin/thick margin of popular opinion support/condemn this or that contrived social issue." The amount of "interstate commerce" trappings in the Constitution, leaned on heavily by the Originalists on the Supreme Court, basically prevent Kansas from going to war with Missouri. Not only that, but troops are deliberately scattered about for exactly this reason, the Army hates the Navy for exactly this reason, federal taxes are spread about for exactly this reason.

Yes, we fought a civil war before, yes it was ostensibly about cultural issues, but it was a different country then under very different pressures with very different interdependencies in a very different economic milieu. If anything, the tensions in the United States are entirely about rural vs. metropolitan for the simple reason that the Electoral College is tilted towards rural areas.

I will also point out that the Trump Administration, and their supporters, literally attempted to overthrow the government of the United States through every means available to them... and failed... because the government is largely made up of bureaucrats who want to keep their job. That's it. That's their motivation. Rome persisted for centuries not because of any natural cultural superiority, but because bureaucrats will always preserve their bureaucracy and when you decentralize things enough, your org chart simply can't be decapitated.

The government of Ukraine has fallen twice in the past 20 years under pressures less than January 6, for example, once in 2004 and again in 2014. Yeah, the current situation sucks... but like, a plurality of Republicans want to legalize weed. 42% of Republicans don't want Roe overturned. So do I think shit gonna be ugly? Yes. Yesindoodledydo. Do I think Arizona's gonna start shooting across the border at California?

It's too expensive to even posture like that.

kleinbl00  ·  325 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How Bitcoin Ends  ·  

Gonna be inline snark 'cuz that's all this is worth

    How about that for a click-bait-y title?

That's all he does. use that magnifying glass at the upper right and search for "rushkoff" and tell me otherwise. Rushkoff is the edgelord's Michio Kaku.

    Watching the bitcoin phenomenon is a bit like watching the three-decade decline of the internet from a playspace for the counterculture to one for venture capitalists.

It was absolutely instantaneous. NCSA Mosaic was developed with public money and released in April 1993. Marc Andreesen took the code and released Netscape for profit in October 1994. He sold it to AOL for $4.3b four years later and immediately got into for-profit hosting. There's this idea that the Web was somehow going to be an altruistic cypherpunk utopia without anyone paying attention to the fact that there have been exactly zero altruistic cypherpunks.

    We thought the net would break the monopoly of top-down, corporate media.

No one ever thought this. They just paid lip service to it so they could ignore patents and trademarks.

    But as business interests took over it has become primarily a delivery system for streaming television to consumers, and consumer data to advertisers.

LOL and they sold it as net neutrality

    Likewise, bitcoin was intended to break the monopoly of the banking system over central currency and credit.

Bitcoin was intended to circumvent tariffs and taxes. Nobody intends to "circumvent the banking system" by taking the books and making them universally public.

    In return for dedicating all that hardware and wattage authenticating transactions and recording them in a ledger known as the blockchain, they are rewarded with bitcoin. It is their verification activity that mines new bitcoin into existence. And the more bitcoin they have, the more committed they will be to maintaining the integrity of the blockchain recording their assets.

I mean, you can sell bitcoin. Used ASIC miners? Not nearly as liquid. What keeps miners committed to the integrity of the blockchain is their investment in the ecosystem. If anything the past couple years have taught us that miners give no fux about politics or geography, they go where the power is cheapest, even if it's Texas.

    In essence, bitcoin is money built and maintained by nerds, based on the premise that good nerds will outnumber the bad nerds.

I doubt you'll find many nerds ascribing to "good" vs. "bad" considering how many of them are libertarians. The argument isn't "we do this for good" it's "you can't tell me what to do."

    Sure, bad actors can dedicate all of their processing power to fake transactions, but they will be outnumbered by those who want the token to work properly.

Miners are resistant to 51% attacks because they lose money. "Working properly" has nothing to do with it. It's kinda weird that Rushkoff is building an argument that Bitcoin was intended to be something out of the Whole Earth Catalog and is now something out of the Sears Catalog rather than observing that a bunch of arrogant nerds thought they could out-computer the government but whatever.

    At its most ambitious, bitcoin is meant to provide an anonymous, decentralized, frictionless, and incorruptible form of transaction–an alternative to the extractive, central, bank-issued currencies now enjoying a virtual monopoly in our economies.

"Extractive" was never the argument - "manipulated" was the beef. of course, BTC manipulation is trivial compared to markets (see, for example, the massive sell-off this morning to cover last night's futures) and that argument could certainly be made, and has been made. Yet Rushkoff seems to be going for a "betrayal of principles" thing here, an odd position to take considering the general chaotic neutral disposition of the average bitcoiner.

    Cryptocurrencies aren’t just about increasing efficiency, but taking down an economic elite that has been using its control over currency to maintain its wealth and power.

Do let's not confuse "elites" with "governments." Which, oddly enough, is an even more laughable assertion but nonetheless one of the core Bitcoin beliefs.

    Central currency is not the only kind of money that ever existed. For many centuries, gold and other precious metals served as money.

There is very little evidence of this. The monetary value of a shekel is fully 1500 years older than shekel coins. The Romans used base metals that were always substantially less valuable than the units of currency they represented. The Chinese used paper money. Only certain backward barbarian kingdoms of the European Middle Ages had coins worth their raw materials. It is accepted as gospel truth that we've always traded with gold and silver, but the fact of the matter is, we've always made jewelry out of gold and silver and used bookkeeping for trade.

    The problem with gold was that it was so scarce and valuable in its own right, that no one wanted to spend it on daily necessities such as bread or chicken. Gold was hoarded, and really only useful for long-distance trading between the wealthy.

I love how these sorts of diatribes always include some form of "we used to use nothing but barter, but barter also sucked" or "we used to use nothing but gold and silver, but gold and silver sucked." It's Van Danicken Syndrome through and through - "us moderns can clearly distinguish how stupid this idea was, but people born before the invention of Twinkies had entirely smooth forelobes and could barely brush their teeth." The fucking Incas were absolutely baffled why the Spaniards cared so much about gold. So were the Aztecs. Gold and silver were an obsession for that period of time between "Gibbon" and "Era Gibbon wrote about" and since nobody wrote about anything in between, we just assumed we'd always used gold and silver for everything even though it absolutely sucks for trade.

    During the Crusades, however, many European communities adopted the more flexible market money systems they had seen used in Moorish territories.

Even primitive Europeans immediately realized how stupid gold was the minute they were shown anything else

    Market money was virtually worthless: like a poker chip or IOU that was redeemed for a loaf of bread or dozen eggs at the end of the day. Unlike gold, which was no good for transactions because it was too scarce, market moneys existed only to enable trade, and often expired at the end of the day. They couldn’t be stashed.

It was actually Marco Polo who introduced Europe to paper money. He even wrote a book about it. inter-village trade was always based on favor economies because it has always been based on favor economies and if you tried to say Jane didn't owe you a dozen eggs because Jane didn't redeem her egg coupon before sunset everyone around you would kick you out of the village and then ask you why they'd bother with a system of account that required a priest since everyone was illiterate.

    But this sort of money was fabulous for trade, which was the whole point of money, anyway. Everybody who had a way of creating value–whether making shoes or growing grain–now had a way of exchanging that value with others. The use of market moneys led to a century or two of wealth creation unlike any we’ve ever seen since.

Or... you know... the Italian city-states created fractional reserve banking.

    The former peasants of feudalism became the merchant middle class, working just three or four days a week, and exhibiting a level of skeletal growth (a sign of health) larger than at any time in the history of humanity, until the 1980s.

Or... you know... the Jews became the merchant middle class because they weren't allowed to work or own land

    The problem was that the aristocracy, who hadn’t created value themselves for hundreds of years, was losing its stranglehold over the masses. As the poor grew wealthy, the wealthy grew relatively poorer. So they outlawed local moneys, and replaced them with central currency.

...seems like that would warrant a link. Or a footnote. Or an example. Or the part of Rushkoff's colon that it was removed from.

"Central" is it relates to Feudal Europe is particularly hilarious considering that it was a mess of Medicis, Borgias, Hapsburgs, Forzas and other families that didn't give a fuck about the peasants so long as they paid their taxes. You are now aware that Italians have been speaking Italian since shortly after the American Civil War and that the rulers of Russia mostly spoke French. England's royal family changed their name from "Saxe-Coburg Gotha" to "Windsor" at the outbreak of The Great War.

    All money was borrowed from the central treasury, at a rate of interest set by the king. People had to pay back more than they borrowed. It was a terrible drain

The drain was taxation. Always has been. This is weirdly wrong. I mean, even people with a real itch against central banks will tell you they're a modern phenomenon.

    The rising merchant middle class of the late Middle Ages became incapable of transacting on their own; the money was just too expensive.

This is directly wrong and incredibly nuts. The issue of the middle ages was paying for conflict, which is one of the reasons the Medicis came to power. Inflation is actually a modern phenomenon, as catalogued exhaustively by Piketty.

    The merchant class became peasants and laborers again, the cities became the only place to work, and the plague soon followed.

It had nothing at all to do with Trade. Bocaccio's Decameron certainly wasn't about a bunch of bored travelers sitting out a quarantine, and when Engels wrote "The Condition of The Working Class of England in 1844" everyone knew he meant 1244. Shit's gettin' WIERD man

    And that’s the system we’re stuck with today, with central banks issuing money, and banking conglomerates lending it to the public and verifying our transactions for a fee.


    Bitcoin was meant to cut out those unnecessary intermediaries, and replace them with computer cycles. The high processing cost of mining bitcoin–as well as an arbitrary limit on the total number of coin that can ever be mined–keeps the money supply scarce.

Right - 'cuz as we all know, the bitcoin is indivisible which means it cannot be used to trade for anything worth less than one bitcoin.

    But this means that instead of re-creating those high-velocity market monies of the Middle Ages, the abundant ones that worked like poker chips, bitcoin re-creates the market mechanisms of gold, a currency that invites hoarding and speculation while discouraging transactions. Oops.

Ladies and gentlemen, cargo cult economics. I've never seen the like.

    This explains why bitcoin has become less a means of exchange than a speculative pyramid, as well as why the coin’s developers and early investors have ended up billionaires.


    The wealth disparity in bitcoin is worse than that of central currency, with 4 percent of users owning 96 percent of bitcoin. So much for breaking the banking monopoly; this is just hackers seizing the banking industry for themselves.

Well... but by definition, the guys who bought early are... not banks. Just because the Bolsheviks replaced one bad system with another does not mean the Romanovs survived.

    The money itself is worthless. Less than worthless, in fact. We are spending massive amounts of machine cycles and electricity, burning fossils fuels for no reason other than to prove our commitment to the coin.

I mean yeah people do stupid shit for money. I'm not entirely sure Bitcoin is that much more offensive than influencers selling jars full of farts but in a capitalist economy you do what gets you paid.

    What if the “proof of work” for coin were based on something good for the world, rather than aiming so directly for ecological self-destruction?

Ahhh yes. "Proof of plant and other stories by people who don't get it"

    The non-financial uses of the blockchain are certainly inspiring: Smart contracts let people devise and administrate complicated agreements without hiring lawyers. Whole companies and co-ops can be orchestrated and secured through simple sets of instructions that are confirmed and recorded on a blockchain such as Ethereum.

(waves hands) "you know, crypto-whatever stuff."

    It requires a whole lot of code and electricity, however,

Or so I read in USA Today and investigated no further

    Still, even if such currency and contract solutions can work, the part of the story that nobody’s talking about is the ending.

My name is Douglas Rushkoff, and I talked to exactly zero experts about this column

    What happens when all the bitcoin is mined?

Douglas Rushkoff has never learned of asymptotes apparently. "Whelp, gentlemen, that was the last bitcoin. It was fun but now we have to get jobs." (flips switch)

    Bitcoin transactions are authenticated by the thousands of people who dedicate their computers and electricity to building the blockchain.

Of course the argument up to this point would be the utter lack of people but go off I guess

    What is the incentive for people to spend millions of dollars on computers and power once there’s no more kickback of coin?

Oh my god he didn't even google it

    I have asked this question of the world’s leading blockchain investors, miners, and scholars, and none of them have offered a satisfactory answer.

I would pay real money to be a fly on the wall for those convos.

    The best they can come up with is “we’ll figure out when the time comes.” (How is that good enough justification for a combined quarter of a trillion dollar bet on cryptocurrencies?)

wait how old is this

    I spoke to the CEOs of four companies that have either just issued or are about to issue tokens, and none of them had even considered how the blockchain is administrated once the coin is all mined, or what that means to the future of their operations.

Was one of them DOGE? 'cuz I feel like one of them was DOGE. Quarter trillion dollar marketcap would be November 2017. So maybe not DOGE.

    So what will really happen when all the bitcoin is mined? The people and companies currently authenticating transactions for coin will instead insist on service fees.

I... I have nothing but side-eye.

    Already, financial institutions like banks and brokerage houses are rising to the occasion, promoting their own blockchain– as well as authentication services for those who want to keep using existing cryptocurrencies.

This is turning into some weird fever-dream out of the mind of John McAfee.

    So instead of disrupting and replacing the banking industry and its fees, bitcoin and other blockchains simply feed into the banking monopolies.

I mean of course they will. They deal with money and they don't care what kind it is. The world has been running on SWIFT, not dollars, for decades now. Thinking anything else is mockably naive. But the random shit Rushkoff is pulling out of his ass is legitimately unsettling.

    Like the internet, it was meant to engender trust by connecting people directly to one another.

Good old Internet, the world's first trust protocol. It certainly wasn't meant to exchange data.

    This post originally appeared on Fast Company and was published March 1, 2018.

Ahhh, there it is. Topical as ever, Fast Company. And Pocket, giving you psychedelic little fever dreams from The Before Times in an attempt to keep you engaged.

Well, I sank an hour into it just for the snark, so thanks I guess. But holy shit.

Oh, you had a question:

    I'm curious about all y'alls thoughts on this.

My thought is "google 'bitcoin difficulty chart.'" Or if you prefer:

You are standing 21 steps from the wall. Every ten seconds, you walk halfway to the wall. How many seconds until you reach it?

'cuz the reward for mining bitcoin goes down 50% every certain number of blocks. It's called a "halving." You can look that up, too - it happened at block 210,000, block 420,000, block 630,000, block 840,000, block 1,030,000 etc. And yes, because there's a discreet number of bitcoin, eventually (theoretically) the last one will be mined... but right now, that's predicted to happen in the year 2140.

At which point an ANTminer will be the technological equivalent of this guy.

So maybe there are other things to worry about.

kleinbl00  ·  378 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What the science says: Could humans survive a nuclear war between NATO and Russia?  ·  


I was one of the many sensible, rational people who pooh-pooh'd the CIA for their assertions that Russia was going to invade Ukraine because there was no possible way the invasion could be anything but a diplomatic disaster. I did this because there was a preponderance of sensible, rational arguments as to why they wouldn't. When Alexander Vindman took to Foreign Affairs to describe the invasion a month early I assumed that HE was the one without perspective!

There's a great book called Legacy of Ashes about the CIA from before it was the CIA until 2001. Tim Weiner makes the argument that September 11 was a massive misstep by the CIA that hollowed out the agency and left it impotent. Instead they quietly amassed the world's 4th largest air force, completely changing mission and approach in a way utterly invisible from budget requisitions, and proceeded to practice merciless kinetic shenanigans by remote control. And hey - for fifty years, everyone assumed that Little Green Men crashed at Roswell and there was a morgue full of them deep in the desert somewhere. Fuckers kept their listening system secret for fifty years.

Here's what I think, based on what I've read:

- Putin has become increasingly isolated from his own command structure

- Good news travels, bad news is punished

- Russia walked into Ukraine with 180,000 conscripts (technically volunteers, who got in trucks, then were given forms to sign acknowledging that they were engaging in kinetic war in a foreign country under penalty of arrest) while Ukraine has cycled 400,000 combat veterans through Donbass and Lunetsk since 2014

- If we haven't been secretly training Ukrainians as to how to kill Russians since fuckin' 1992 we've missed a beat, and this is not a beat we've ever missed historically

- If this base isn't swarming with Deltas and CIA I will eat my shirt

The general consensus from people who do this stuff for a living seems to be that the Russians are doing worse than anyone expected (for a number of reasons), the Ukrainians are doing better than anyone expected (for a number of reasons) but that Russia could still shell Ukraine down to bedrock.

The general consensus is that India, China and the UAE have been ambivalent about condemning the Russians, but the only full-throated support Russia has is Belarus. Russia has announced they're bringing in Syrian death squads, but nobody in the West professes to understand why, as their effectiveness is dubious.

The Western fiction appears to be "we won't overtly attack from other countries and you will pretend our forces aren't tangling with your forces" which seems to be a difficult fiction for the Kremlin to counter. They have long maintained that Ukraine is a Western puppet but if you look at it now, of course they are, the moral high ground has been squandered on that particular point.

The doctrine the wonks are getting bushy-tailed about is called "escalate to de-escalate." In this scenario, Russia hits Kiev or Mariupol or, say, that nasty base full of Deltas with a battlefield nuke - indiscriminately kills tens of thousands of people, spreads fallout to the west, freaks everyone out about the notion that maybe Putin really will end the world. We'd likely back away, then, and give Russia another Afghanistan. There are two problems with this:

1) China would be bound by treaty to nuke Russia. They wouldn't? But they certainly see how quickly the Western economies can kick you out of the clubhouse. Which would effectively cut Russia off from everything.

2) It would, in my opinion, make Russia such a pariah state that nothing less than a full unconditional surrender and regime change would get them so much as diplomatic status with any other nation that wished to trade on the global stage. North Korea still has diplomatic relations with lotsa countries; they've never nuked anyone.

Right now? Western banks and investment firms are writing their Russian investments down to zero. Russia is threatening to nationalize foreign interests in Russia, which as the White House has pointed out, will effectively eliminate any future foreign investment in Russia this side of regime change. Roughly 25% of Russian calories come from trade; depending on what China, India and Kazakhstan do, the average Russian could give up as much as a big mac and fries every day just through diminished trade. Russia theoretically has massive gold reserves but nobody wants to buy gold from them. The "shame premium" on trading with Russia seems to be around 20-25% which means whatever resources they thought they were going into this with, they only have four fifths of the hard stuff.

The 'winger geopoliticists have long predicted the demise of Russia. There's a baby bust among ethnic Russians, their economy has become increasingly westernized, there's no real support for their military budget, etc. Zeihan (who is an idiot) went as far as arguing that if Putin didn't invade Ukraine, Poland and Finland by 2022, China would invade Russia. And I mean, Putin cut his teeth as a scumbag Stasi intermediary in East Berlin; "police state" is his comfort zone. He's also described as "a gambler" by everyone who profiles him. He may not even know how bad it is - but he knows the West knows and has launched an epic mole hunt.

I think that Putin mulled over Kim Jong-un's place in the world and decided "eh, could be worse." The real question, then, is what are the avenues to returning Russia to the Russian people? I would be pessimistic about that except that Western intelligence has demonstrated themselves to be on point and Western society does not seem to abide by a rule-breaker.

Zelensky has survived between one and a dozen assassination attempts in the past couple weeks. I've read that at least three Chechen death squads have come for him, and that at least three Chechen death squads have been wiped out. Now - it's entirely possible that Zelensky is entirely 100% protected by locals who happen to kick ass. But it's more possible that Ukraine's own ass-kicking security forces have American intelligence, American training and probably more than a few Americans with funny papers.

Which is why I think this ends with regime change. I'm cynical enough to think that the CIA COULD have whispered in the right ears at the right times to make Putin think he could go for it. I'm even jaded enough to think that "Hunter Biden's laptop" could very well have been used to communicate between Ukraine and the CIA out of the watchful eye of known-compromised individual Donald Trump. Put on your tinfoil hat with me: You work for an agency that exists entirely to oppose Russia, and your country has just elected a Russian stooge as your president. What do you do? 'cuz let's be honest - if your counterparty has revised the bounds, and if there has long been grumbling about the lack of symmetry in US/Russian clandestine operations, and if you are truly renegade, do you not swing for the fences?

I'm not willing to say that the CIA drew Russia into a Ukrainian invasion in order to break Russia forever and solidify the "Western" international order in Europe and South Asia. But I am willing to say that they definitely wargamed it out years ago, and that every time we count out the CIA they make us eat crow.

Now what does that look like? It looks like shit for Ukraine. It looks like shit for Ukrainians, it looks like shit for Russians, it looks like war, deprivation, murder, atrocities, PTSD and a whole bunch of horrible shit. For how long? I don't know. I do know that it's tough to keep your job after a failed invasion. Galtieri lasted days, in no small part because we were arming the shit out of the British against our own puppet. Hussein? Hussein lasted a dozen years, which tells you a little something about American involvement in Iraq, I think.

Whether by accident or on purpose, I get the sense that the clandestine service of the United States is principally interested in the indigenous overthrow of Putin, and that "this" does not end until his Dacha has a gift shop. I know it's going to take too long, that too many people who don't deserve it are going to die, that it's going to reshape the world order, and that I'm getting fucking sick of living through history.

Does that answer your question?

kleinbl00  ·  526 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Work Dissatisfaction Driven by Early-Career Workers Looking for Higher Pay and Remote Options  ·  

Believe it or not, I'm sanguine bordering on ebullient... long term. Short term?

So that graph says two things without you even really needing to know what it's graphing: (1) "holy shit" (2) "that can't continue." There's an aphorism in commodities markets: "the cure for high prices is high prices." We're all in the commodities market now, bubba.

You and I have talked about this at length for several years now: automation is coming and that right soon. There's been a steady pressure to unstaff. Hey, great! They're letting you work from home! That means you're now competing against the entire goddamn world for your job. Which means if they can fob it off on a bot rancher from Bangalore to save 20%, they'll do it. And now everyone who could barely afford Silicon Valley is looking at Nowhere Gulch and dreaming of owning serfs, and he'll happily pay for the house with a check because this'll be easier if the wife and five-year-old can get settled in before school starts.

Food? You're literally asking "what happens if Democrats cut entitlements for some reason" and they ain't. They ain't ever. They learned that shit under Clinton - when you fuck with poor people you get Newt Gingrich. Which isn't to say every Republican governor out there isn't going to try on every possible variation of "fuck poor people" because it's "important to their base." Performative evil - that's where the Right is right now.

I used to say "there's opportunity in the Delta." Now I say "It's just the Churn." I was in the music industry when MP3 happened, the movie industry when Netflix happened, and tried to write a book when all the publishers sued Amazon. Before I ran off to join the circus, I interviewed with every acoustical consultancy in Seattle. When I came back, the only one still in business was the one I left.

We knew this. We saw it coming. We looked at the graphs, we looked at the lines, we looked at the empty streets and restaurants and we knew it would be seismic. Now? Now we're all trying to pretend COVID is over as if that fundamental a crash isn't going to leave some deep and lasting scars.

But look.

Michael Lewis wrote an entire book about the skeletonization of the federal government under Donald Trump. Any semi-competent bureaucrat was able to evaluate that there was no room for competence in government, so they left or retired. This was also documented by Bob Woodward in Peril - there was literally zero vaccine distribution plan by the Trump white house. None.

Trump knocked over the sand castle. Dude three-finger-saluted the entire goddamn government for us. 'cuz I tell you what: opportunistic hangers-on don't hang on after the opportunity is gone. Which left an entire ecosystem open to exploitation by pie-eyed, opportunistic Lefties driven by mission.

And now? Now every crisis is gonna be an "add moar socialism" moment.

- Student loans. The Biden administration can literally forgive all of it through executive order. They won't, but they'll definitely fuck with it. They'll wait until things are really painful, though, so that they "won't have a choice."

- Medicaid. Can be expanded aggressively to anybody who got any pandemic assistance whatsoever under emergency proclamation, which is over when Biden says it's over. I'm currently paying $2 a month for healthcare because I cashed an unemployment check. I believe that rate is good for a calendar year at least, and that's only because nobody's pushed it out further. I'm effectively on nationalized healthcare and the Republicans didn't even notice.

- Housing. They've already started murdering the flood insurance subsidies. They could come after the mortgage interest deduction, too. They could also dump money into rural broadband to improve work-from-home feasibility.

- Food. Republicans have been picking away at SNAP for decades but the pandemic gives the Democrats an excuse to expand it, keep it expanded, and nationalize its management. Every state that fucks over its poor people is a poster child for "government overreach."

Don't get me wrong. Everything - everything - is gonna get worse before it gets better. A whole lotta lives gonna get destroyed. Personally? I've already mourned them. This was evident in the data eighteen months ago. All these disruptions are going to fuck up some lives, and I say that with 700,000 dead.

The people flying the plane actually care about the passengers and have actual flight hours under their belt. It's not a state I'd want any of us to be in, but we're here, and I feel like we're looking at the least worst option.

I've been kinda shellshocked since this.

That bill? Right there? Was the first time the Republicans went "actually we don't have the juice to block socialism anymore." They fucking gave up every principle - BEFORE Trump lost! because they knew in their very bones that small government market capitalism would go up like flash paper in a national emergency. Every bill since has been small, un-speechable death-by-a-thousand-cuts socialism and they haven't had shit to say about it because the kinds of guys who really just want Trump to be president because he's Trump are going to cock their heads quizically at some Buckley National Review diatribe against the risk against innovation by subsidized broadband as if they were Jack Russell terriers hearing Their Master's Voice. it's over their heads, man. The "base" barely believe in the gospel of Number Go Up. What they know is their grandsons are doing better with Gamestop puts, whatever they are, than they are with their social security.

I think this has a happy ending. I think it has a happy ending the way Game of Thrones has a happy ending in that a lot of people are gonna die, a lot more are gonna get fucked, everyone with a short attention span is gonna be mad that they didn't see it coming but the world will be a better place and generally-good people will get a generally-good outcome but it's still a happy ending.

We just gotta be among the survivors.

kleinbl00  ·  554 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Done.  ·  

Kirksite and bronze.

Sterle did a pretty nice set for Chaumet. Totally the inspiration for doing this. The FLW stuff looks cooler, the Chaumet stuff is better executed. But then, that's House Chaumet.

Great is the enemy of good enough. I've gone from being pretty damn proud of them individually to being pretty damn annoyed by the inconsistencies caused by shitty investment, challenging forms, awful mold chemistry, failed equipment and a partridge in a pair tree but I'm also cognizant that as heirlooms go, ain't nobody on either side of my kid's family touched that.

it also beats tar out of the official resin garbage.

kleinbl00  ·  655 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 9, 2021  ·  


So my wife has a colleague. Known her for... fifteen years? Trained under her backintheday, filled in for a couple years when her practice exploded, threw a couple employees her way, their network was built by me. Things have been congenial and polite through COVID 'cuz (A) they're Republican (B) they're anti-vax. So we don't hang out like we used to.

Colleague has a 80-year-old mom who lives with them. And about a month ago they decided fukkit let's vaycay so they ran off to Hawaii for ten days, leaving our posse to cover half their practice. Came back not feelin' great.

They decided to shine it on.

So we've got one person coming into the office with active, confirmed COVID and another person who would if only she weren't so goddamn sick and we're trying to keep this from becoming a public health problem and counseling their one about-to-bail-now employee as to how to not end up in dire peril with the health department. None of this was direct, mind you, all of it was back-channel, our hands are scrupulously clean. Ain't nobody died, errbody on the mend, and when we asked "hey wanna go halvesies on a crate of medical supplies" the answer was monosyllabic.

They ain't talkin' to us. Not because of anything we did, but because their worldview was wrong, our worldview was right, and now we're the bad guys.

Got another friend. She's delivered every grandkid for her ex-boss from back when she was an EMT. Which is a tradition that meant that rather than sticking to her own back yard 80 miles away, she decided to come deliver 20 miles north of us... in our support structure, where we know the EMTs, we know the hospitals, yadda yadda. Home birth, which is always less of a controlled experiment, and the mom was acting woozy and weird. Things stretched out to the point where it wasn't happenin' so it's time to transport to the hospitals we use.

At which point they show up, mom has a temp of 104, crash to emergency c-section, baby hits the NICU, grandma gets kicked out of the suite, and both mom'n'dad pop a rapid COVID positive. But not before they've tromped through half the goddamn hospital.

Greetings from Big Brother! as healthcare providers we can look your ass up in the vaccine database. Which means we know that while this couple said they were vaccinated to the friend? They also said they'd NEVER get vaccinated to the grandma and as it turns out, dad was vaccinated, mom wasn't. 'cuz, you know, lying to your healthcare provider is small potatoes compared to I dunno sub rosa supporting treason.

We'd been talking about going back to home births but we just had this catastrophe where another mom was so stoned out of her gourd that labor pain transmogrified into "my hip hurts" so they sat there smoking spliffs until we had to come crash their house because they weren't gonna make it. That combined with this "Patriots will happily lie to liberal traitors to get what they want" mentality is noping us the fuck out of that.

Right now? 97% of COVID cases are among the unvaccinated. If you're in the hospital? With COVID? There's a 99.7% chance you didn't get two shots.

So yeah we're rolling back protections but that's not because COVID is gone. It's because if you get COVID now it's because you fuckin' earned it and if you earned it, the hospitals now have the bandwidth to deal with your irresponsible, lying ass.

The conversation between the friend and the dad (mom just got off Oxygen yesterday, is still in the ICU) was framed around "well we meant to get vaccinated we just... forgot." Which, okay, if that's what you need to maintain your friendship across the gap of "thanks for driving a hundred miles to leave a flaming bag of poo on the doorstep of one of your friends" more power to you. We'll just not mention the Big Gulp's worth of nyquil and other shit you shouldn't be taking in labor that y'all were using to mask your symptoms 'cuz at the end of the day they aren't our patients (except they are now because we have pediatricians so fuck us I guess).

But fuckin' hell man my kid don't have a vaccine yet and neither do her friends, and the variants coasting around these days are mean.

So also fuck off.

kleinbl00  ·  689 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How much does Post Malone/Taylor Swift/The Police/BTS actually make on royalties?  ·  

    We have based our algorithm on the data from this article from Soundcharts.

    Once we have the number of monthly streams from Spotify, we multiply the price-per-stream of each platform by the number of Spotify streams.

"Elon Musk walks into a pipefitter's union hall. The average wealth shoots up by a billion dollars per plumber."

So... the "this article" referenced has numbers. Those numbers don't match up to anyone else's numbers and everyone else's numbers don't match up to anything either. There's this need to believe that you can simply figure out how much money someone makes off of Spotify because then we can continue to feel good about paying a pittance to listen to our favorite artists over and over and over again. Your link:

    Another major streaming player is Amazon Music.

    As the other platforms, Amazon, don't publicly share the price-per-stream. This value approximates to $0.01196.

    Taken into account this value, 83K monthly streams are needed for reaching the $1000 mark, the lowest so far, but still high!

The link they took their data from:

    In full detail: Amazon Music Unlimited, Napster and Tidal got the top-3 rates at $0,0119, $0.0106 and $0.0099 respectively. However, don’t get too excited about Amazon’s numbers. The lion’s share of the tech giants subscribers are in fact over at Amazon Prime bundled streaming service — and for Amazon Prime, the average rate came to just 28% of the Unlimited’s payout, or $0,0034.

I worked with a guy who made his revenue entirely off of Youtube. He broke the economics (for him) down quite simply: any video with less than a million views earned him nothing. Did not even show up on his invoices. Any video with more than a million views made him about five thousand dollars. Each subsequent million views earned him about a thousand dollars. But those numbers were really wiggly and I guarantee that's what Youtube was paying him.

Look - a plane ticket from Seattle to Los Angeles used to cost about $300. I've probably bought a hundred of those. The least I've paid is $29 (no airline miles or other nonsense used - Delta was trying to assassinate Alaska Airlines). The most I've paid is $437. The most I've seen, however, is $5998.

And flight prices are hella easier to scrape than Spotify royalties.

kleinbl00  ·  760 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: "Dare Mighty Things"  ·  
kleinbl00  ·  832 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Money talks - Pornhub Just Purged All Unverified Content From the Platform  ·  


Y'all young'uns know the Tale of Traci Lords? Sure, Crybaby, sure, neckbiter in Blade. Hey let's cue up that video real quick we could use a soundtrack. Traci would approve after all she cut an album with Juno Reactor as her backing band

So here's Traci back when she was Nora Kuzma, a 14-year-old getting raped in Ohio while visiting her estranged dad

Her alcoholic mom was dating a dude who molested her but he had a heart of gold; he hooked young Nora up with a friend of equally loose morals who hooked Nora up with a fake ID and took her to a bunch of auditions

    At age 15, Kuzma became pregnant by her high school boyfriend. Afraid of her mother's reaction, she went to Hayes for help. He arranged for her to have an abortion without her mother's knowledge. Looking for a job to get some money, she was introduced to his friend and started working for her as a babysitter. The woman offered to improve Kuzma's job opportunities by helping her get a fake driver's license. She provided Kuzma with a new birth certificate on condition that if she were ever caught she would say that she had stolen the phony identification. Kuzma now had the alias Kristie Elizabeth Nussman and a new driver's license that stated she was 20 rather than 15 years old. In February 1984, she answered a newspaper advertisement for Jim South's World Modeling Talent Agency. Posing as her stepfather, Hayes drove her to the agency. After signing a contract, she began working as a nude model and appeared in magazines such as Velvet, Juggs, and Club. During August, when she was selected to model for Penthouse magazine's September 1984 15th-anniversary issue, Kuzma was asked to choose a stage name. According to a 1988 interview, she chose Traci—one of the popular names she had longed for growing up—and Lords, after the actor Jack Lord, since she was a fan of the television series Hawaii Five-O, in which he portrayed the character of Steve McGarrett.

Traci? Traci was big. I was in fourth fucking grade and I knew who Traci Lords was. Pinups, videos, she did all the dirty stuff. We were just starting to negotiate puberty and we wanted Traci lords.


    After appearing at age 16 with John Leslie (an actor 23 years her senior) in the porno parody Talk Dirty to Me Part III (which won the AVN Award for the best movie), Lords was hailed as the "Princess of Porn". She became one of the highest-paid porn actresses of that time, earning more than $1,000 a day.

"I won't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day" - Linda Evangelista, four years later

    Lords continued making more movies until late 1985 when she tried to quit the industry at age 17, but returned a few months later. Afterwards, she met Stuart Dell, who became her boyfriend, manager, and business partner. They formed the Traci Lords Company. Dell and Lords made a distribution deal with Sy Adler, an industry veteran who ran Vantage International, that they would produce three movies for the company.

"Tried to quit the industry" is such a laden phrase.

    Two adults who knew Lords, but who requested anonymity, said they saw her picture in the adult magazine Velvet during July 1984 and telephoned the district attorney's office to inform authorities that she was underage, but that an investigator told them, "There isn't anything we can do about it."

Let's review. We've got a seventeen-year-old kid who has "tried to quit the industry" who is only there because her molester hooked her up with an ex-girlfriend who got her a fake ID so she could get an abortion without telling her mom. She's got high school classmates who tried to whistle-blow but nothing happened. What happened next is... some of the most fraught language I've ever seen on Wikipedia:

    During late May 1986 (around three weeks after Lords' 18th birthday), authorities were informed that she had been underage when she appeared in the porn movies. She had lied (according to Lords, it was a "white lie") to law enforcement, photographers, producers, directors, co-workers, and the general public for two years.

Yep, blame the 16-year-old kid for breaking the rules for money and approval.

    Government prosecutors declared that Lords was a victim of a manipulative industry, maintaining that she was drugged and made to do non-consensual acts. Industry insiders, including Ron Jeremy, Tom Byron, Peter North, and Ginger Lynn said they never saw her use drugs and that she was always fully aware of her actions.

Oh well if RON JEREMY says she wasn't coerced

Make no mistake: Traci Lords ANNIHILATED the porn industry. She was Penthouse Pet in the September 1984, the issue in which Bob Guccionne ran nude photos of then-Miss America Vanessa Williams against her consent

    In July 1984 (two months before the end of her reign), Williams learned that nude photos of her, taken before her involvement with the pageant, would be published without her consent in a future issue of Penthouse. Williams believed that the private photographs had been destroyed; she stated that she never signed a release permitting publication or use of the photos in a public format. In contrast, Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, was also given the opportunity to publish these photos but turned it down stating: "The single victim in all of this was the young woman herself, whose right to make this decision was taken away from her. If she wanted to make this kind of statement, that would be her business, but the statement wasn't made by her."

    The black-and-white photos dated back to the summer of 1982 (after her freshman year at Syracuse University) when she worked as an assistant and makeup artist for Mount Kisco, New York photographer Tom Chiapel. At the time, Williams stated that Chiapel said that "he had a concept of having two models pose nude for silhouettes, basically to make different shapes and forms. The light would be behind the models. I was reluctant, but since he assured me that I would be the only one to see them and I would not be identifiable in the photographs, I agreed.

Owning this magazine is a felony.

It cost the porn industry tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up. In my mind? Young Nora realized at some point that the clean start no one would give her was hers for the taking if she was willing to burn her abusers to the ground. So she did. And helped out fellow sex industry victim Vanessa Williams while she was at it. And her actions shook some shit up. Every disclaimer you used to see in porn? Traci Lords put it there. We may not call Section 2257 the "Traci Lords Act" but it's the fuckin' Traci Lords Act. Traci Lords legit flew a figurative airliner into the figurative World Trade Center of the porn industry, surveyed the rubble, said it was good and enrolled at Lee Strasbourg. The only reason she's not a goddamn DC Comics superhero is all the scummy old men who run Hollywood are still pissed.

    One afternoon in 2012, I went to lunch in the Valley at a Hamburger Hamlet with adult veteran Bill Margold, who’d codirected Traci, and adult agent Jim South, who’d represented Traci. Traci, and what happened 25 years ago, was the topic of conversation between these two. Not for part of the lunch, for the whole lunch. The way they told the story was as a noir, with Traci as the ne plus ultra of femmes fatales: She’d scammed the adult industry with a fake ID; had made one movie after the age of 18, a movie she owned the rights to; and then she’d blown the whistle on herself to make more money and become more famous. And the anger of both these men was still, all these years later, hot to the touch.

But that was then, this is now. Then, there were forms, there were lawyers, there were scummy old men. Now? Now there's freedom and sweetness and light and "chilling effects...on the sex work industry" and "literally the "think of the children" argument finely weaponized against the open internet yet again."

Up until that New York Times article, you could find thousands of hits for Traci Lords on Pornhub.

This is like the FBI not screening for Osama bin Laden. This is a lackadaisical freedom from harm so deep that the most obvious, most immediate, most thunderously bad consequences aren't even screened at surface level. This is a company so completely unconcerned with liability that they aren't motivated in the slightest to do the barest due diligence. Could they? Sure - you couldn't find Paris Hilton on there. Why? Her lawyers are meaner. Pornhub was filtering Paris Hilton, whose videos carry civil consequences, and carrying Traci Lords, whose videos carry criminal consequences. And if you don't think that was a conscious, deliberate decision you're fucking high.

And if you're more worried about hypothetical threats to sex workers than actual threats against underaged girls, FUCK YOU.

kleinbl00  ·  849 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Last Children of Down Syndrome  ·  

I'm curious as to why we need to augment your self-loathing on this one, Ben. The article is a nuanced, long-form investigation of "velvet eugenics" and the impact of prenatal testing on parents, children and society. By your own admission you've undergone professional and voluntary education and training on medical ethics, so this is likely something you've grappled with your entire adult life. You're an intelligent man, capable of distinction and compartmentalization but lately you've eschewed all that to get people to yell at you. It seems to be a form of "the religious shouldn't breed" and no amount of discussion around "this isn't a religious discussion" or "this isn't a people shouldn't breed discussion" dissuades you from your monolithic pursuit of castigation.

It's a shame because clearly you could add to this discussion but you're instead choosing to obfuscate it with inflammatory language so the discussion can be all about you. What are you worried about us discussing? What are you trying to distract us from? As someone whose life has been shaped by congenital defects I would value your input if you chose to share it. Speaking for myself, we went out of our way to get our kid genetically tested. We absolutely would have aborted if we'd popped Trisomy 21 because yeah - that's an 80% mortality rate with profound lifestyle impacts. Some of the other stuff? We didn't plan. Fortunately it didn't matter. So I have a perspective on this, and appreciate the perspectives of others. And I'm curious what you're so afraid of.

I'm guessing there's an outward "I wish I was never born" performative dance that supports you socially, combined with an inner "but I love my fiancee and am actively planning a future" hopefulness that can't be reconciled, so you go through this "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" Kabuki because if you have to admit that you actually hope you wake up every morning you'll be forced to address that you have something to lose now and you're just too spiritually weak to accept that the world would regret your passing. After all, if you value the world and the world values you, you might just have to press pause on your wholesale outward rejection of your entire inherited value system. You might have to examine your core beliefs and attempt to mature as a man. And it's so much easier being the angry product of arrested development.

You're getting lazy with it though. It's transparent. It also demonstrates how uncomfortable you are with yourself and your self image, which is usually a sign of readiness for growth.

I, for one, am here to help. Happy Holidays!