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kleinbl00  ·  9 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  ·  11 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.

veen  ·  26 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: On the Clock: Your Office Is Open and the Liquor Is Flowing   ·  

    The company is trying to resurrect office camaraderie but a number of her co-workers don’t drink. “It’s funny that that’s such a heavy part of trying to keep people invested so you don’t lose them,” she says.

the vibes they are a-shiftin'

kleinbl00  ·  64 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?

Devac  ·  74 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 2, 2022  ·  x 2

After almost no driving since getting a license, I've completed five runs to the border. Full load both ways, carrying food and supplies my brother organized one way and people back. Three, aunt and her daughters, will be staying with us for the time being. Well, 'aunt'; we settled on it because even if there is a name for "great-grandfather's sister's granddaughter," nobody cares. Bro hired one of them already to accelerate what little paperwork they might need later on, but they're already on the social services. The rest I brought had other families to take them. It's our drop in the sea.

It's not well there, obviously. Already I've seen too many idiot nationalists protesting against 'immigration,' concentrating near areas for refugees. Provoking, assaulting, others exploiting. Human thrash, all of them. Because I have no idea what news comes your way, just don't let it distract you from who the real dirtbags are or what a simultaneous humanitarian catastrophe and effort are happening. Yes, I know, most of you are much savvier in politics than I am, but same most of you have repeatedly proven themselves at obsessing with whatever topic du jour mildly turned your head. And if you think this is insulting or exaggerating, hold onto your pants -- three years ago, if someone tweeted Trump wipes with his left, you could bet there'd be a thread about whether or not he pets the #whiterabbit with it. Don't lose perspective. Don't let it become some blasé gossip shit in a month.

I'll be going into other topics now. In part because of exhaustion, both physical and topical. When time is dense with events, it's gonna be either major themes only or a flood of information, and nobody's in the mood for the latter. Made me appreciate truckers even more, though.

Also, because the car is a 20-year-old piece of shit VW Golf I bought in December for $200 to learn car repairs/maintenance, it's short of a miracle it hadn't died a single time.

Also also, it's a good thing that at my current job, you can excuse any work delays with "yeah, so the maths got more complex than expected, will have to derive it algebraically instead." In my experience, it can buy up to three weeks.

I did my postdoc interview during a refueling break. It probably went poorly, though the interviewers seemed impressed when I corrected their article misquote from memory and answered both versions of the question. Them nagging me about why we didn't reschedule visibly pissed me off, and if this will cost me the job, good riddance. What the fuck do you think would be different apart from smart-casual attire?

Once driving became routine, the monotony of it settled. Played a D&D game by phone twice, which was crazy, but it was a boost of energy that couldn't have come at a better time. One of the TBA characters from the last time is a rogue, who is such an over-the-top gothy edgelord he'd make Tim Burton cream his laced-up pantaloons in a blink. The ranger player had to postpone again, but she's working for the Ministry of the Interior, and it's hard for a better excuse.

I don't know if I have it in me to do this more than once. The car isn't taking it well, and I sure as hell can't keep going like that more than a week. There's desire to help, and there's practicality. Instead, I'm seriously considering volunteering to IT security groups our gov organizes, but between dual citizenship and police record, I suspect my prospective clearance level is somewhere between LOL and "don't bother."

Now I'm going back to sleeping it off. Leaving you with this fun chess puzzle for all levels and ages.

White moves, checkmate in two.

mitra  ·  95 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Ottawa truckers' convoy galvanizes far-right worldwide  ·  

It's definitely not good for the downtown residents, I simply can't imagine what it's like living with the noise 24/7. We brought ear plugs, which came in handy, but it's not like you can drown out what essentially sounds like an air raid siren blaring right outside your house.

Regarding masks - can't really say whether it's as bad as others have reported, since my friends and I decided to go in with a nuclear option (a pair of anti-convoy signs and a communist hammer-and-sickle flag, just to see how far we can push it). This is to say that I don't think it was our masks that were the biggest problem to the protestors. A few did take issue with our insignia and got a little aggressive, at one point encircling our little outfit, but we ended up talking things through and got out alright in the end.

As for the Americans, it's hard to tell whether many of them are from the US. What I did notice was that a very large chunk of the protestors on the ground, especially those with kids, are Quebecois, and (perhaps not too surprisingly) there was a good number of Russian speakers in the crowd. There was even a field kitchen set up right across the road from the Centennial Flame, with the tables draped in Russian flags - the cooks told me they were Ukrainians from Montreal. Not to say that the protest is necessarily astroturfed or something - my own parents are there some days, thanks to the antivax sentiment ever so present in the immigrant diaspora - it was just a weird experience to constantly hear your own language at a protest on Parliament Hill.

demure  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 12, 2022  ·  

I've been learning to fly tailwheel airplanes for the past 6 months, flying roughly once a week. Now I've got 42.3 hours of flight time, with 0.5 hours of that now being PIC--pilot in command!

Frankly, flying solo was not as nerve-wracking as I expected it to be. I've been learning new things each lesson with my instructor, but I haven't had to be corrected on stick-and-rudder pure flying technique in a while, so I didn't feel the absence of my instructor's remarks. We flew a couple laps in the pattern (takeoffs and landings in loops, in the airport vicinity) and then he got out, took his stuff out of the plane, and sent me off! I did three landings (and one go-around), and that was that! I did get the feeling of "hey, I'm flying an airplane--by myself. sweet!"

This is the type of plane I fly, a Bellanca Citabria. Many of them are around 50 years old. Fabric wings and fuselage! Roughly 110 horsepower! a 4-cylinder engine with a carburetor! Two seats, in tandem (rather than side-by-side)

As you can see, the little wheel is in the back ('tailwheel')--it's a more traditional gear setup (most modern planes have a nosewheel) and is harder to fly (takeoffs and landings). The word on the street is that tailwheel pilots generally have better "stick and rudder" skills (i.e. flying technique). I can't really be the judge of that, but it's kind of the equivalent of learning to drive a manual/standard transmission car.

Because it's fairly straightforward for a tailwheel pilot to transition to nosewheel aircraft, and not the other way around, you must have a "tailwheel endorsement" on your license to fly tailwheel airplanes. I had to earn that endorsement (even though my license is a student license) to fly solo--so yes, I can do wheel landings. I've also gotten very proficient at performing slips, because there are no flaps on this model.

Here's what I see inside. Notice that there isn't even an attitude indicator (also called an artificial horizon)! (Yes, I've had to do my simulated instrument training "partial panel" by default, learning to fly the plane without looking outside and without an attitude indicator)

I've got a few things left to do to earn my private pilot certificate-- get 10 hours total solo time, get 5 hours total solo cross-country flight time, do my long cross-country solo, do 3 hours of night flight, and prep for (and pass) the oral exam and checkride (flight exam)!

I can't wait for electric airplanes to become more common (https://www.diamondaircraft.com/en/service/electric-aircraft/ !!), but in the meantime I buy carbon offsets because the one thing that really makes me ambivalent about pursuing this as a hobby are its carbon emissions...

mk  ·  159 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December, 8, 2021  ·  

Still plugging away at this painting. I feel like I need to get a bit adventurous with the lighting.

We are headed to Puerto Rico for 4 nights. It will be the first family air travel in the aftertimes. Looking forward to it.

Drastically improved some regenerative medicine technology this week for Forever Labs. I need to spend the afternoon making sketches. Did some experiments in the lab on Monday, and it felt good. It had been a while since I had my hands in a bio hood.

In other news, I have been obsessed for some time with the idea that we need a new mobile OS that took full advantage of Ethereum applications. Anyway, I started tweeting about it enough until about three weeks ago a guy in Austria reached out and was like let's do it. So we made a discord, and now we have about 130 people and a number of them are building and designing, and we have a v0 Android fork that has an Ethereum client and apps on it can interact with it, and we have a v0 DappStore and a test Dapp.

Here's the site that went live today: https://ethereumphone.org

It's crazy that with github, discord, figma, notion, etc., people can quickly coordinate and build with very little knowledge of each other. When you couple that with tokens and DAOs, you basically have inverted the capitalist process. It now goes: people gather, sort by talent, build product, issue shares, elect executive leadership.

Organization of production used to be the value-capture, but now that aggregates with little more than an idea.

necroptosis  ·  173 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 24, 2021  ·  x 3

There are a lot of emotions running deep today. The past nine years have one hell of a trip. The person I was when I signed my name on the dotted line is vastly different from the one who signed out today. I've had quite a few drinks to celebrate the end so it's a little bit difficult to truly reflect but.. man idk. I'll try and put together a small album together within the next couple days of my favorite moments. The military has allowed me to meet countless interesting people, visit 30+ countries, and develop myself to a level I would have never before thought possible. While I never posted much on hubski I would like to thank y'all for keeping me somewhat grounded-just lurking and reading has been significant. When surrounded by the echo chamber of the army this website has always been a refuge to maintain at least a little intellectual capacity.

steve  ·  173 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 24, 2021  ·  x 2

popping in to say how grateful I am for all of you.

all of you makers

all of you scientists

all of you artists

all of you doers

all of you listeners

all of you writers

all of you teachers

all of you random internet strangers

all of you hubskiers

I am forever in your collective debt. It's been kind of a weird and wild and rough couple years and you all have helped pull/push/inspire me through. I love you all even if I'm not sharing much lately... but I read often and appreciate you.

c_hawkthorne  ·  173 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 24, 2021  ·  

Got my booster yesterday. Dying today. No exciting holiday plans beyond homework. First final is one week from today. All done December 13th. Might plan for a Dec 15 or 16 virtual happy hour. Haven't done that in forever (sorry) and that is damn near the 11th hubskiversary. So keep your eyes peeled for that!

kantos  ·  201 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 27, 2021  ·  

Cumol is the slickest ‘skian to ever grace this site.

Don’t @ me.

RIP the West.

Quatrarius  ·  207 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  ·  212 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  ·  215 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.