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Quatrarius  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Netflix employees walk out to protest Dave Chappelle’s special.  ·  x 2

i think that jokes about a discriminated minority should primarily be funny to that minority more than any general audience. i think that jokes about a discriminated minority that are designed to be funny to a general audience, but not to that minority, are not jokes that work.

trans people take these jokes seriously because they aren't funny to trans people. it's hard to not take something seriously when it's not funny to you. i want to repeat that i'm not insulted by the jokes in the special, they just make me sad. i think that these kinds of jokes don't help the community and just add onto the pile of cultural messaging against trans people. i think that this is the new battlefield of the culture war, and that trans people who react negatively to this special will continue to become targets. when you say "why is it being taken so seriously," this is why. comedy doesn't just float in the air - comedy is powerful. comedy can be used to reinforce certain attitudes, or undermine them. comedy and politics are connected to each other. you can be a carlin-type of comedian and use comedy to show how society is rigged for the powerful, or you can be the kind of comedian that uses comedy to reinforce existing stereotypes. i do not feel liberated by chappelle's humor about trans people. i do not welcome his takes on trans people. again, if i was to get up on stage and postulate about The Black Experience In America, i would fully expect to be reamed for it because i don't know what i'm talking about. when i hear dave's jokes about trans people, it is very clear that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

i don't want to censor comedy. i don't want to "cancel" anybody. it's very clear that the trans community at large is unable to cancel anybody, given that chappelle and ricky gervais and the like all still have careers. they can continue to make hacky jokes at my expense for as long as they want to for all i care. i just don't see why i have to pretend that it's all in good fun, and to lighten up - it's the standup comedian version of "boys will be boys" - he snapped your bra strap in front of your friends, but it's because he likes you, so just let him do it - it was just a joke

i will never be a model minority that puts up with being mocked, no matter whether you think that makes me a killjoy.

kleinbl00  ·  8 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.

b_b  ·  10 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Mysterious Case of the COVID-19 Lab-Leak Theory  ·  

Ummmm, remind me: Did the baby-killing Zika virus arise 300 meters from the only lab in the world who holds similar Zika viruses and whose stated research goals are to modify the Zika virus in exactly the hyper-pathological way that it behaves in the wild, while that behavior has never before been observed among the tens of thousands of other known Zika viruses? Can't remember.

steve  ·  32 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 22, 2021  ·  

I'm making a fairly significant career shift. I'm leaving the safety of four years at a comfortable gig as a mid-level manager in operations/tech to be an individual contributor learning and development guy at a startup. It's a move I've been pondering for a while, and trying to figure out how to break into, and somehow I just convinced this company I'm the right person for the job. I'm equal parts excited and terrified. The swag from the new company showed up in a box yesterday moments before my current CEO passive aggressively (and embarrassingly) pleaded with me to stay at the current company (in a meeting in front of other people) - It was awkward and awful.

I start the new job next week. Lots of change in the pub this week, and I'm happy to be a part of it.

kleinbl00  ·  35 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.

Cumol  ·  41 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ‘Never Forget’ Is Breaking America   ·  

I remember the day. It was weird. I went to junior high school back then, I think I was in 7th or 8th grade... At home, my father had the TV on aljazeera and he kept repeating "bin Laden finally got you, you maniacs", while his face mirrored the horror he was watching on TV, and knowing fully what that meant for everyone. The next day at school everyone was talking about it in class, and everyone was EXTATIC. Celebrating. I remember that some discussions broke out about it where some students were arguing that the attack killed civilians, but many were quick to counter that many many more civilians were killed by the USA all over the middle East and that this was the only way to do anything against the military power that is the US. In case you didn't realize, virtually everyone in the middle East hates the USA, and usually has a valid reason why to.

I didn't know what to think. I understood both arguments. And even though it is obvious what was right and wrong and that terrorist attacks should never be supported, I still struggled in taking a stance.

Once I made up my mind though, I kept my opinion to myself. Because loudly speaking out against the attacks was an act of treason.

While reading the article, it struck me how the same 12% in the states that were against the war in Afghanistan (and were called traitors), are probably the parallel group to the ones in the middle East who did not support the attacks and were also seen as traitors.

That day, hatred won. Everyone knew what was coming. The wrath of the almighty would thunder down onto the whole middle east for decades. The results of which we see today.

What did it bring? More hatred. More trauma. More generations of hatred.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we would rather have the "traitors" on both sides in positions of power instead of the "warriors" and "heros".

forwardslash  ·  55 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: SSL cert expired.  ·  

Should be fixed now, as well as the issue that came out of the fix where you couldn't log in.

b_b  ·  66 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 18, 2021  ·  

Today is my 10 year anniversary of being a Hubski member. Long time. A lot has happened in that time. I have easily spent more time on this website than any other over that stretch. Big ups to mk for making this place. I had the good fortune to help out in a rotating group of 4 or 5 of us who used to try to help keep the lights on here. Met a lot of good people that way, including some intense relationships that are and were very meaningful to me outside of the internet, some of which faded away and some of which were soured by my sometimes inept social abilities. Though I regret that the activity on the site isn't what it once was, it's a great community nonetheless.

AstroFrank  ·  77 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 4, 2021  ·  

The reply to this keeps 502'ing on me so I will drop it here for kleinbl00

    Okay grumpy old man you earned yourself some devil's advocacy.

Your response pissed me the fuck off. Then I sat on top of my hill, and thought about this while watching the smoke from California and Oregon destroying the sky. Since I am camping out in the parking lot of a hospital after my injections, and have wifi access, I'll answer you. I am not nearly as good of a writer as you and I think we talked past each other, so let's see if I can expand our ideas here.

    That means the median visual astronomer was 30 years old when the HST went up, and 37 when WFPC2 went online.

You discount the visual astronomers that have died off in the last 30 years. I bring up people don't like space and you reply with the ultimate example of "pretty space picture nobody knows shit about." Why was this picture taken? What question was being asked? Yea Yea Yea first image with the Hubble Palette, whatever. Even here on Hubski, you and I are the only two people that know what "Hubble Palette" means, and I'll get to that in a moment. I've been in a room with Jeff Hestor http://www.jeff-hester.com/about-dr-hester/ and got to talk to him one on one a long time ago when I still gave a shit. He's a fantastic person, he's fighting the good fight for what it is worth. But the person and the idea behind the image means not-a-fucking-thing. Pretty picture on a college dorm, all that matters. PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE SPACE THEY LIKE PRETTY PICTURES

    That sounds about right - I was lugging a Coulter 10" Dobsonian around in the back of a Buick Skylark in those years where you could still pretend the ground was relevant. That shining period between billion dollar astigmatism and the Pillars of Creation shot. ... 'cuz I'm sorry - all the SBIG in the world will never fucking compete with that. Not ever. I tried a little game before I started writing this: I googled "most famous Hubble photographs" and "most famous Palomar photographs" and you know what? The Palomar shots are of Palomar.

There are five Messier awards in the Astronomical League Observing programs. https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/AlphabeticObservingClubs.html I have all of them. I have the Hershell 400 and Hershell 400 (2) awards. I have enough awards to start making a run at the Master Observer certificate if I feel like making that effort. I have used remote telescopes to assist with the confirmation of exoplanets to the point my name is on five scientific papers, and used my own gear back home to track two more that are still being worked on and may finally publish this year. I have a NASA placard on my wall thanking me for engaging in outreach to over 50,000 people. I also have a NASA award for organizing a science campaign during the 2017 eclipse where we rounded up 600 boy scouts to do real data collection backing up the pros in aircraft and satellites that is going to be published this year if not already out. Now that we are done comparing prom gowns and all the other girls think we are pretty, let's cut the bullshit and get to the point.

Oh, and Hubble is in the news at least quarterly, and again PRETTY PICTURES; how many people outside of us even know what the hell Palomar is? People do not like space, they like PRETTY PICTURES.

    Ever been to the Griffith Observatory? It's pretty funny reading their plaques trying to justify the place as if it ever did any real science. They pretty much boil down to "we stare at sunspots sometimes." 1.6 million visitors a year, beyotch.

Never been to Griffin, but I've paid for a few nights with the 60" at Mt. Wilson twice. $1500/night for the group. The second evening myself and a few other people used the night to drag some impressive glass up there. I think between the ten of us, we had a combined $25,000 of eyepieces on us. And honestly, I think I had a better view through a 32" Obsession at the star party that got cancelled mentioned above. Of your 1.6 million visitors I wonder how many are there because the Griffin people used to whore themselves out to every movie and TV production they could wedge themselves into. 161 productions according to IMDB. LA is a city of 20 million people, that visitation number is impressive but let's not kid ourselves that the people of Los Angeles give a shit about Griffin, Mt. Wilson or any of these places. What percent of these visitors are out of state tourists?

    I remember star parties out in the desert. We had good sky. The Pleiades are a loose cluster from the Sangre de Cristos, they aren't seven sisters. The Milky Way is a naked eye object from under a streetlamp. Rich fuckers, too, with like 12" Meades'n'shit. And what were things pointed at? ... and maybe some rogue crankiwumpus like you insistent on making people look away from the center of the eyepiece so he could claim he showed them M81.

I have data on the state of astronomy clubs across the nation. Clubs with a combined 2700 members in areas representing 36+ million people in the USA. But some few rich people bought a $5000 coat rack they take out a few times a year means Astronomy is healthy? Are you going to seriously make the argument "rich people most effected" to me? Because if that is your argument fuck you and your fucking high horse. YOU.. FUCKING YOU of all people are better than that and I expect better from you. Note the numbers on those clubs. People in astronomy clubs are not even a rounding error on a statistical blip on the long tail. The older guys who did all the work either got Covid and died or noped out because they don't want to deal with the 40% of America that turns out to get its reality from foreign Facebook bullshit memes and flat earth groups. And fuck you, we don't show people galaxies at outreach we show open clusters and globular clusters like M3, M5, M92, M15, M11, M52 etc because those are easy to train someone to see quickly. You pull a "rich people impacted" argument on me of all people then toss around "elitism hur hur?" eat shit.

    Now - I didn't drag 50lbs of sonotube above the frost line to stare at planets. I did my dark sky shit, and I enjoyed it. Doodled in notebooks by red light and everything. But I did that shit alone and I didn't expect anyone to come with me. The serious hunting? That shit is solitary. And you yourself, homie, spent half your time photographing and the other half processing. I've seen your shots. The social aspect pretty much demands a trophy. Sure maybe you can get some accolades for your dedication if you describe your adventures but the picture's worth a thousand words. And with the amount of post-processing that's been de rigeur in astronomy since Clyde Fucking Tombaugh, that means an equatorial mount or a steppermotored Dobsonian hack. And that means $$$$$.

Done the visual from dark skies, documented it, have the certificates and notebooks to prove it. Even started on the Urban observing programs because work was killing me and I was unable to travel anywhere. You know why visual observers go into astrophotography? I know 'cause I was one, and talked to dozens if not hundreds who did the same. LIGHT POLLUTION. You know how many people in the USA care about light pollution? NONE. Even the AMA cannot get traction on the idea of overlighting residential neighborhoods is increasing breast cancer rates and has a possible link to the rise in autism. Photography lets me at least pretend that I am doing astronomy even if photos are shit for experiencing the world around us. What would you rather have? Someone looking at nothing put pictures of the Grand Canyon, or actually GOING there and experiencing it. Would you rather have people looking a the moon with their own eyes, or relegate everything to flat images on a screen. I made my choice and walked away from the shit show becasue I see where the world is going; I don't want any part of a society that wants pictures but not the experience.

    Try and tell me Stellarvue was selling more than 200 scopes a year ever. I remember when the ex-Soviet Maksutov Cassagrains came out and holy shit you could do planetary astronomy for less than $4k. My family paid $400 a night to go to an astronomy B&B and they couldn't afford a 16" Dobsonian. $22k for a 10" MCT? Hot diggedy damn! You got anything aspirational for little shits like me who saved up half his summer's wages for a cardboard and particle board clunker with a telrad and a $150 Orion focuser?

Six years ago, I got invited to be a part of a focus group, as someone doing outreach and talking to the public. I got to have two days of talks with the folks making beginner telescopes. I think that I am still technically under that NDA, but the telescopes we thought up are now on sale. https://www.celestron.com/products/starsense-explorer-lt-80az They are on mounts that do not suck, the optics are "fine" and just enough tech to make it easy to use. This is what you should be recomending for kids with birthday money, or paper route money etc to get. And no I do not get paid to promote them, never did. Now that Orion owns Meade, I am hoping that the software guys on the Meade side make the Orion stuff better and easier to use. We also promoted the Starblast 4.5" table top reflectors and got some 20 put into the local library system. You almost certainly know that you can get a not-bad beginner telescope for roughly $250 which is a lot of money for someone on minimum income, but doable. You acuse me of eliteism, remember? I'm trying to get people to not buy shitty hobby killing telescopes at Walmart and target, you see to think all there is out there is $10,000 glass.

    Know what kills hobbies? Elitism. That's why vinyl still exists, and why skaters are still listening to Dinosaur Jr. 30 years later. That Icona Pop LP you bought at Whole Foods to play on the Salvation Army Technics you paid too much for because you didn't know any better? That's a gateway. So are those shitty Instagram-class Celestrons.

Hobbies die when the people that have been around for a while stop helping the newcomers. Youtube vids are cool and all, but without someone to look at face to face and say "can you help me" you lose the new blood to the learning curve. Write all the checks you want, build all the shit you think you can get. Hell build public accessible observatories like I have done. No volunteers? You are fucked. Chase away the volunteers? Yer fucked. Have a lot of money but nobdy to do the work needed to keep the hobby/club/organization going? You die. Elitism is a minor problem compared to the lack of suckers and fools like I used to be doing all the work cause Duty, Honor, "the Cause," outreach, whatever. When the old greybeards stop attending gatherings, when the old timers like me walk away, when the apathy kicks in, the hoby dies. Make the rewards for doing an incredible amount of shit work not worth the squeeze, and your hobby dies just as dead as "elitism." Insult and berate the people on the ground doing the work, most of whom do it for the love and not much else, and your organization will die.

    I'll betcha if you threw another one on the University grounds they'd shut up. Yeah you're right - nobody serious could see anything serious seriously. But nobody following Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Twitter is ready to venture an hour into the hinterlands to pretend they can see Neptune anyway. Couple times *hanging out with their normie buddies? Sipping cocoa and schnapps while staring at things they could legit see through binoculars? That's another matter.

The Devil's advocate question is this: Why the fuck would I do that? The college already showed that they would not back us up, after working with them for TWO FUCKING DECADES where their physics students got extra credit for hanging out with people owning better gear than the bloody university did! All that time of working with them to the point where the star party was a 400ish paying customer event twice a year. What in the HELL makes you think they would step in and help and/or support us in a new adventure? When someone shows me their true colours, and shows me exactly what value they place on my efforts, I remember that. My friends got thrown under a bus for a bunch of idiots chasing social media clout, people that would have forgotten the event even took place as soon as the new thing got more likes and upvotes. The people we worked for free to add value to their students, and asked for nothing in return other than the use of their name to help with the Park Service and the Dept. of the Interior were tossed aside without even an afterthought. Fuck ever associating with people like that ever again. The couple that ran the show since the mid 90's are rumored to put together a very private event with no advertising, no door prizes, no sponsors once the Covid shit is mostly over. The University and its students won't be welcome.

The disconnect here, and this idea hit me in the middle of one of my drives into town to deal with society crap, is that you are not Human. Don't get mad, this is compliment, but I need to dig deep and make sure I am saying what I mean to say with that statement. You and I, and the people on this website are not human. Sure we are all homo sapiens with four limbs, 20 digits, forward facing binocular vision etc, but that "sapiens" part of the name? We are outliers looking in on the human experience. My county has a population of roughly 12K people. The county seat has a population of some 2500 people. There is a library in town, and since librarians are bigger gossips than any bartender I try to befriend them. In June of 2021 the total number of checked out books was under 200. Not 200K, TWO HUNDRED. This includes digital rentals as I specifically asked if there was an uptick during the pandemic. TWO HUNDRED BOOKS A MONTH. Between you and I, I bet we hit that in a typical year. Two people read more in a year than an ENTIRE COUNTY OF PEOPLE do in a month. Now, there are no bookstores in the county, I checked, not even a used book store! It is possible that everyone here, a county where 80% of households are below the poverty line, are buying books online or pirating PDF's, but I've met the neighbors and let's say I have doubts. YOU read more than just about anyone else I've even known, online or off. More importantly, you retain the info you ingest, can process it and explain it to others in context. That skill alone puts you in the top 5% of the smart people in this country. If you last name was gates, or bezos, or Boringoldmoneywhitedude the fourth, you'd have gone to an ivy league, made your business connections and almost certainly be running a Fortune 1000 class company by now. You exist on a level that at times I don't think you understand, maybe you do and just feel guilty or whatever and keep that offline. You and I got the shit rolls on the family dice and had to make due with what we were given. Yet somehow we if not thrived as least did not suck on a shotgun or die of a drug overdose or any other multitude of pitfalls that you and I have shared stories about. We are both retired, and let's be brutally honest here, most people in our generation are NOT going to retire until the last two years of their lives when the body and brain break down from over work and their employer can no longer accommodate their needs, so ship them off to die at home on government health care to keep the health insurance costs low for the rest of the drones in the factory. You and I are talking on a website with maybe 30 active users, four of whom have PhDs in the sciences, and this place is run by two guys using STEM cells to help prolong healthy living, a technology that I bet at most 1 out of 500 people even know exists. How many people know this place exists? 2000? Maybe? When you look at where we are, and where everyone else is, you and I are not even a statistical blip on the very end of the very long tail of human existence. How many people here are into what can be roped into pop culture? None of us, I mean I don't know what a Dinosaur Jr was and had to look it up, some meh band from 30 years ago. Talk to most people and all they spit out is tv shows and movies, and not much else. I could sit here for a few hours and list line item after line item that makes not just you and I but most of the people on this website outside the base human experience. We are "human" by the proxy of our biology, but if we walked into a city council meeting or a PTA meeting, how many people there would we be able to connect with?

The problem you and I both have is that we are in a bubble. Might be different bubbles, but each of the bubbles we exist in protect us from the normal shit normal people go through every day. We can read a book, we can listen to a politicial speach and understand the language about the people they are rallying, but we see this all from the outside. We have the Time, money and privilege to be able to do something that in not directly paying the bills. You can watch your neighbors make poor choices about thier house, but talk about it as an academic exercise to explain the housing market to the rest of us outliers. You get to talk to the rich and wealthy, you mentioned you have had relationships working and otherwise with the famous etc. I've talked to people who have space hardware on the surface of other planets. I can pick up my phone right now and call someone working in mission control for the ISS. Kids I met at outreach events 15 years ago are now building Artemis hardware. This puts me in a VASTLY different head space when it comes to space and astronomy that just about anyone but the guy here that launched satellites earlier this year. Your reply to me really pissed me off until I realized you are coming at this as someone looking in from a 50,000 foot level. Do either one of us really remember what it is like to live on minimum wage? I bet neither of us has 50K in student loan debt. We both own where we live. Neither of us is living paycheck to paycheck. I was homeless living in Truck Center Parking lots off the interstates, and now can barely offer advice from that time nearly four decades ago. We both have expensive esoteric hobbies that the average person cannot comprehend the cost to get into. You can drop a few grand on some widgit thing for your watchmaking and not feel the dread of not eating for a month. Everything about you is outside of a normal human living experience in the current world except your family and upbringing. How many humans do you know that can build a $100K plus milling machine just because they want to fuck around a little bit? Hell, I can't do that, then again I have no income either.

Once I calmed down and actually though about what you wrote, I realize you are not being a cunt just to be a pissant, you are just tone deaf and out of the loop of what is going on at the ground level. Congrats, you won the game.

AstroFrank  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 23, 2021  ·  

Astronomy is a hobby for old people, mostly men. It also is a hobby for people with time and disposable income, but that is a separate rant. The median age of an amateur astronomer given by people in marketing is 54. Visual astronomers, like me, are a decade older. And we are dying off. The number of people buying high quality large visual telescopes is numbered in the hundreds per year. AstroPhysics, one such vendor sells under 200 telescopes a year most going to research universities. Stellarvue, another company of high quality gear, sold about 300 telescopes last year. The number of companies building these devices are in the single digits. Two companies building large Dobsonians style telescopes for visual observing see the writing on the wall, took their final orders and are closing forever. The three best mirror makers are no longer taking orders for visual mirrors, focusing instead on equipment for astrophotography and university research institutions as they upgrade decades-old telescopes. Looking at what Celestron offers and has in stock now, you have gear aimed at the instragram astrophoto community (median age 40) and shit-tier beginner garbage.

The pandemic ripped a massive hole in the astronomy community. So many older people either died or won't go to club events or star parties due to the Pandemic risks. We are a tightly knit community of weird people with a weird hobby and any loss of one of us is a massive loss of talent, skill, and knowledge. There is about to be a flood of good, higher end, visual astronomy gear on the market, but no buyers. Visual astronomy is hard, and very few people any more want a hard hobby. In the next few years there is going to be some high end gear that ends up donated to the dying astronomy clubs where it will collect dust until it is thrown out because it is taking up space. I saved one such device, rescued from an estate sale from a man I never met but talked to for years online. The 'scope is in my car outside this library I am using for wifi. I have a pad for it, and once lumber is not worth more by weight than platinum I intend to build a home for the telescope. I need to buy a few car batteries on the way home now that I think about it so I can power my new gear.

I know the argument incoming. But space is popular. No, it is not. Useless celebrity cunts like Neil Tyson are popular. I've met him before he was THE Neil DeGrasse Tyson back at TAM6... geezus that was only 8 years ago?

He was a guy passionate about something he was WAY down the rabbit hole of knowledge and wanted to grab you and scream in your face "THIS IS AWESOME!" Now, he sits on fucking twitter all day. He's gone off the plot, just like every other famous person. The guy behind the "Bad Astronomy" blog/page/books got famous and then became too good for us mortals more than a decade ago as well. People do not like space, they lice celebrity. People like Hubble images. People like hurricane warnings and weather reports but do not understand where those come from. The less said about Elon Musk the better. They don't like SPACE as an industry or technology. Astronaut talks do not sell tickets. The most popular astronomy podcasts get 10-15K views if they are popular; talk about the boring stuff like doing the work and your talk may hit 2K views/listens. A child unboxing toys, to put this number in perspective, gets 100K views a video and makes 10 million USD a year. One of the younger people with a youtube channel gets 30K views... if he talks about his dog and then shows a pretty image at the end of the video. People do not like space, they don't want to put in the work to be good at a hobby, all these people want to do is post results. And stopping part two of the argument here, its not just college kids. The number of older "adults" throwing tantrums that they have to work at something to get good at is makes me glad that my nearest neighbor is 6 miles away.

The last star party I helped run and organize ran afoul of the local college social media religious fanatics because we did not have "women friendly" facilities. At a primitive campground in a national park with no electric, running water or cell service. A place chosen for its off-grid location and lack of lights, electricity, and its isolation from even aircraft overflights. This was a shock to the dozen or so women astronomers that had been attending the event for a decade, the wives that tagged along for the peace and quiet and the two wives of the organizers running the organization since the 80's. We lost the financial and in-kind support from the local college because the lack of conveniences was "exclusionary." When the college pulled out, we lost the park service assistance with permits and the other hundred little things you need assistance with to make an event like this work. The state agency that had been helping us with portable toilets, traffic control, signage etc stopped returning our calls. From what we were able to gather, there was some popularity on social media for astrophotos in 2018-2019 and the group that wanted to participate were pissed they could not upload images to their websites or charge their phones and equipment. They complained to university officials and the state park service about us. There was a demand that we lug in a generator and build showers. The star party no longer exists; the two older couples all but said "fuck this shit" and noped out. They blame the pandemic, but the real reason is that none of the older volunteers feel like dealing with this crap, a lot of work for ungrateful people, no money and all the joy having been sucked out.

I got forced back online to buy gear. Since I am online, I reached out to some people I know in multiple clubs across the country. People bought telescopes during the pandemic, saw the hobby is hard, and dumped that gear on whatever organization showed up when someone googled "local astronomy group." The clubs that saw massive growth in numbers of members are now struggling with the loss of the clubs culture as people that have been around for years are pushed out by the flood of new people. I hope they ride the wave, get tons of new blood, volunteers and cash, but I've seen this before and these types of clubs will rarely last once the old timer volunteers are gone. The death knell of any niche hobby is popularity. If you are into a small hobby with a close community, pray to your deity of choice you never get noticed or popular. Its a shame because with the internet, the 10 people in Idaho into blacksmithing can get together virtually and learn from each other. They can share tips about gear, technique and design, and get better with effort and passion for something they enjoy. Then some big social media celebrity gets a following of people, notices you guys doing your own thing and seemingly enjoying yourselves and now your hobby is shit and you cannot buy equipment, your forums are flooded with new people without a clue drowning out the people with knowledge and those 10 original people all slip away offline and won't talk about their achievents and passions due to the connection with the influx of toxic shit and idiots. This story may be anecdotal fiction, or it may be a second hand account from the guy that moved my trailer to the property and helped me tie it down. Go find a knitting group that has been around 10 or more years if you think this is only a dude-bro issue. Because damn, those poor people got fucked over, hard, by the newcomers with their "bitch and stitch" stores and runs on yarn, thread, canvas and equipment. Back before I moved, a lady into video games and knitting told us all how she was kicked out of her knitting group because her being a 60 year old woman with grandkids and a husband of 40ish years made some of the new people uncomfortable. (The new people kicked her and her two "grandma" friends out of the facebook group and changed the venue on her) I watched cooking groups implode in real time due to the popularity of the terrible cooking channels and youtube famous "chefs." Giant 1000 people LAN parties died the same way, popularity of video games killed them and nobody will volunteer to run them any more. The new people that think they can get famous gaming do nothing but whine and stir shit swamping out the old timers; the culture that made these events fun died.

This rant is not just about a hobby I love dying (in this case literally). Its an old man rant on the state of the world and how social media is evil. Fame is a moral evil and social media feeds off its pursuit. Fame is the death of honor and dignity. Nobody chasing fame is a decent human being in my opinion. The character needed to dig in and get good at something, that mentality of put in the work with a plan to get good at something, that drive, that passion, that "This is fun and I don't give a shit who else cares" attitude is fading. Post a stupid video that hits the right algorithm on social media and the next thing you know you are being flown to be on a talk show and now can sponsor some crap product and cash out for simply existing. I've heard kids say they want to be youtubers, not realizing that those famous people work 100 hour weeks and the only reason they got famous is pure stupid chance. Tell them the work that goes into making a video worth watching, and you can see their face try to process a foreign concept for the first time. Social media is a moral evil that gives the unaware the idea that fame is good and easy. The few good parts of fame are shared and normalized; the bad, the struggles, the work is shoved into a memory hole because it only got three upvotes or likes. Everything worth doing has been converted into an instant gratification treadmill and that is why social media is terrible.

I am not sure anymore if the concept of "happy" exists. I think this idea is something we have a faith-like dedication to, to our detriment as a society. There is an emotion attached to accomplishment, not quite self-esteem, but something along those lines. You want to find a "happy" kid in a school? Find the kid that busted his ass to get a good grade on a test and ask him how he did it. Watch their face light us as they talk about the work they did. Is that happiness? Or is it something else? Find the kid that just completed his first skateboard trick. Find the kid that just built her first 3-D printed model from scratch. Find the guys in whatever shop class still exists and ask them about the stuff they are building. Find the kid that just nailed a guitar riff after 20 hours of trying. Find someone that just baked their first sourdough that does not suck from scratch. Those people will light up like a commercial parking lot if you get them talking about what it took to be successful. Is that "happy?" Or is it something else? Excluding the people with medical issues that need help, I think one of the reasons so many people are down, depressed and unfulfilled is because people are not DOING anything any more. Watching a movie is not DOING something. Consuming products is not DOING something. Merely existing is not DOING.

Hobbies are dying, and go ahead and argue if you want but I've seen the sales numbers. This could just be the ramblings of an old bitter jerk that walked away from a good job to go live in BanjoStan in a 700 square foot off grid trailer to watch the world die as he prepares to dance with the Reaper. Or it could be the observations of someone that first hand saw the decline of union labor, the stagnation of wages, the destruction of the middle class, the implosion of the nuclear family, the housing crisis and rent affordability bomb, all that big picture stuff no longer serving people that need or want to work for a living. If you are working two jobs to pay rent because multi-billion dollar hedge funds are destroying house affordability, you won't have a passion project. And guess what folks, overwork and no down time are not going to make you happy if all you are doing is treading water. One thing I picked up from the pandemic is the number of people that were forced to stay home, then started feeling better. They cooked at home, they worked out a bit, they felt less stress. Now that people are going back to work, I hope they can keep any hobby they picked up and use that to get a sense of accomplishment and feel good about themselves. and it makes me happy as hell that shitty service providers like restaurants and retail are closing because they won't pay their people and treat them with respect. Out here, the local wallmart is cutting hours because even at $18/hour nobody will work for them. Better to make $15 in construction outside and not deal with screaming idiots, mentally ill church people with entitlement complexes, and a management structure that sees you as sub human.

Life is way too short to hate your situation; I'm still angry it took me this long to figure that one out.

b_b  ·  121 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Lab Leak Theory Doesn’t Hold Up  ·  

I'm just gonna post this here, since I'm sick of tormenting Hubski with these types of articles. This is a devastating long read.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

Cumol  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 23, 2021  ·  

Quite a wild week.

First, I am done with my PhD. The defense went well. Different than I expected and quite tough, but the examiners were happy. The worst was my boss telling me that "we would have given you a summa cum laude, but you didn't publish yet". And the reason I didn't publish yet, is him. Then he wanted to give a short speech and decided to tell the anecdote that my previous PIs gave him contradictory recommendations about me. My Masters' supervisor was very positive while the guy that supervised my first PhD attempt (where I left after 3 months) told him that he should "not touch me". But you know, he gave me a "chance" and he is happy about it... And then went on to talk about our "conflicts" (which were quite few in 6 years in the lab). I was like.... I worked here for 6 years, and that is what you come up with? fuck you. Anyway. there was cake, and arabic food, and non-alcoholic drinks (so my father doesn't freak out) and all was well :)

Here is me, mid-incantation. I have a tie-dyed labcoat I wear to festivals (so people know where to get their drug infos and testing). My lab made me a new one to add to the collection :)

One of the few good family pictures! And one of the few times people will ever see me in more fancy clothes

Second, I might have a spot for a PostDoc! Through some contacts in an NGO that supports psychedelic research in Europe I got connected to a lab in Frankfurt, ran by two female PIs. One working on mice and the other on monkeys. They are doing cross-species translational studies in behavioral neuroscience. Additionally, they are interested in researching psychedelics :) Had two interviews with them and they liked me (and I like them!). They are a younger generation of idealists and it sounds quite nice. The only issue, I need to get my own money. Which means, writing grants... But I am excited to get a chance to work on a topic I am interested in with people that seem to be interested in supporting me for a change.

After the defense (which my family attended) we head to the alps (with a short visit in Ulm, the city I lived at before moving to Heidelberg). A day later, my aunt and grandma from Germany joined us. They just landed back from Mexico a day before and booked a room in the same hotel as us. My grandma was quite tired when she arrived, we all thought it was jetlag. The area we were at has strict COVID guidelines for unvaccinated people. So my grandma (85 years old) and my aunt had to do an antigen test every morning. Two days later my grandma tested positive. The test was repeated and again positive. The hotel urged us to pack our stuff and head back to Germany (in retrospect, they were just scared shitless and me and my parents shouldn't have left, but that's another story). My grandma and aunt head back to my aunts' place and me and my family were on our way back to Heidelberg. Yesterday I started to have a cough. Today I had a fever and a headache. The antigen test turned out positive today in the morning, currently awaiting the results of the PCR test.

Grandma is doing okay. Mild symptoms. I will also be fine. I am just super pissed because my goddamn aunt scared my grandma so much that she didn't get vaccinated, even though she had appointments back in February. And now, through her anti-vaxx shit and lack of responsibility (who the fuck flies to Mexico right now??) she managed to get my grandma and me infected and multiple people across Germany into a 2-week quarantine. In addition, ended a two-week holiday for a whole family which was quite expensive for us (we are not a wealthy family) and adding much more extra costs for everyone involved.

I always asked myself "who the hell are these people bringing all these variants into the countries?". Well, "my aunt" is now a definitive answer.

So, yeah, I will be spending my holidays at home, instead of the Austria alps or berlin. Exactly what I needed after a 6-month thesis crunch. I hope my infection doesn't go that bad. Luckily I already had one shot which is supposed to reduce the severity of infection and transmission.

So, if you have any recommendations for TV shows, games, movies, books (audio), let me know!

View from our room in austria, it was lovely!

There was still some ice on the tops. This one looked interesting...

kleinbl00  ·  137 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 9, 2021  ·  

COVID AIN'T GONE YET

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.