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starspawn0

A group of super-rich individuals writes a Medium post titled "An Open Letter to the 2020 Presidential Candidates: It’s Time to Tax Us More": https://medium.com/@letterforawealthtax/an-open-letter-to-the-2020-presidential-candidates-its-time-to-tax-us-more-6eb3a548b2fe
Yesterday, 02:12 PM
  • funkervogt's Photo
    funkervogt
    By definition, if the people advocating higher taxes on the rich are all "super-rich," then they could donate money to the government to effectively raise their "taxes" to the level they feel is appropriate, and they'd still have enough left over to do their political advocacy.
    Yesterday, 09:00 PM
  • funkervogt's Photo
    funkervogt
    And no, my idea isn't in bad faith at all. I'd respect the "super-rich" people more if they put their money where their mouths are, and I suspect most other people would also like the gesture. It's hard to imagine why anyone would disapprove, in fact.
    Yesterday, 09:01 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    Somehow or other, the message got turned into "this is just status seeking / signalling"; but what about the actual claims about how much good it would do? And who would know better than the high net worth individuals who are being under-taxed?
    Yesterday, 09:51 PM
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starspawn0

We take it for granted that movies and books use relativity or quantum mechanics to explain away tropes like time travel and alternate universes (or at least authors *try* to use QM and relativity to do so). But did you know that H. P. Lovecraft did so, as well, back when QM and Relativity were relatively new theories?...
Yesterday, 09:00 AM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    From his "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1933): "Non-Euclidean calculus and quantum physics are enough to stretch any brain; and when one mixes them with folklore, and tries to trace a strange background of multi-dimensional reality behind the ghoulish hints of the Gothic tales and the wild whispers of the chimney-corner, one can hardly expect to be wholly free from mental tension..."
    Yesterday, 09:02 AM
  • Erowind's Photo
    Erowind
    Yes, H.P Lovecraft is really unique in that many of his books are hard sci fi horror despite it being very easy to take them for hard fantasy horror.
    Yesterday, 04:43 PM
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starspawn0

About 2 years ago, I remember seeing Thom Hartman's name come up on Twitter, linking to his show on Russia Today (he has since left). I remembered thinking to myself, "Thom Hartman... now there's a name I haven't seen in a long while." I remembered a book he wrote back in the early 2000s, titled "Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision"...
Jun 24 2019 02:25 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    ... In it, he discusses techniques of "persuasion" to "change minds". They are basically the techniques that businesses use to get people to buy their products, and go by names like "tit-for-tat", "liking", "secret knowledge", "consistency", and so on. For example, the Geico Gecko is a use of "liking" -- people like the cute little Gecko, and transfer some of that liking onto Geico.
    Jun 24 2019 02:28 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    Some people call these techniques "brainwashing", "manipulation", or "propaganda"; but Harman argued that that is just bad branding -- that they are no different from ordinary persuasion, and trying to persuade people isn't a bad thing. Anyways, I found it funny that the guy who wrote the book on persuasion and politics wound up with a show on RT.
    Jun 24 2019 02:31 PM
  • Erowind's Photo
    Erowind
    Ironic indeed
    Jun 24 2019 04:39 PM
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starspawn0

Now, what is the least messy way out of this situation?: https://twitter.com/browgrammer/status/1142459847906119681
Jun 23 2019 05:57 PM
  • Raklian's Photo
    Raklian
    There is a way but it's too complicated to explain here. lol
    Jun 23 2019 07:04 PM
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starspawn0

The other day I found out that Frances McDormand is the voice of "god" in the Amazon show Good Omens, which is based on a Neil Gaiman novel by the same name. The fact that McDormand plays god is almost enough to make me break down and buy an Amazon TV subscription.
Jun 22 2019 10:34 PM
  • Alislaws's Photo
    Alislaws
    Good omens hass been one of my favourite books since I was a child! Not seen the amazon show yet, but I will!
    Anyway key point:
    The book Good Omens was written by Neil Gaiman AND TERRY PRATCHETT
    Yesterday, 04:20 PM
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starspawn0

A game theory explanation for friendship, alliances, courtship; gifts, sacrifice, and drawn-out, time-consuming courtships; and it's not about simple tit-for-tat (I do a good thing for you, so that you do something good for me, so that I do something good for you, ...): https://twitter.com/Moshe_Hoffman/status/1142160534210588673
Jun 22 2019 02:30 AM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    It seems sacrifice is required, and simple tit-for-tat thinking about "enlightened self-interest" isn't going to cut it.
    Jun 22 2019 02:33 AM
  • Jakob's Photo
    Jakob
    Intriguing.
    Jun 22 2019 04:41 AM
  • kjaggard's Photo
    kjaggard
    that was tedious, everything they said could have been summed up in a three posts, rather than bloviating it into 30+
    Jun 22 2019 08:37 AM
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starspawn0

I look forward to the day when search engines locate web pages that exactly match what you are looking for. For example, just the other day I was trying to find a specific Sneer Club posting about how treating every argument or discussion as potentially worth engaging with, irrespective of poster's motivation, is naive and dumb. Google produced this one, but there was a much better one: https://www.reddit.com/r/SneerClub/comments/9eyvwh/rssc_finally_learns_that_sometimes_people/
Jun 21 2019 02:25 PM
  • Yuli Ban's Photo
    Yuli Ban
    About seven years ago (summer of 2012), I thought of the same thing because I was getting frustrated with how I kept narrowing a Google search and yet STILL couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.
    I figured, way back then, that such a thing would only be possible with BCIs because there's no way search engine algorithms could understand your intent.
    Jun 21 2019 02:42 PM
  • Yuli Ban's Photo
    Yuli Ban
    For example, I want to search "fake tornadoes" (the search in question from '12). Google as it is will give you fake tornado warnings and maybe whirlpools. RankBrain + BCI context inference would understand I'm thinking of "tornado look-alikes, illusions, and pseudo-tornadoes" and only give me the relevant pages.
    Jun 21 2019 02:45 PM
  • Yuli Ban's Photo
    Yuli Ban
    Language is a surprisingly limited tool— it may give shape to our thoughts, but it's not our thoughts themselves. Just a facsimile of them. Same reason why translator services have improved so much but still fall so short.
    Jun 21 2019 02:48 PM
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starspawn0

Before one of the resident closet white nationalists writes a passive-aggressive post like, "Where is sciencerocks? What did he do wrong? I can't find anything." -- you don't fool me.
Jun 20 2019 05:13 PM
  • Yuli Ban's Photo
    Yuli Ban
    Whoa, he actually got banned? I missed it, what was the final straw?
    Jun 20 2019 08:56 PM
  • Outlook's Photo
    Outlook
    Look at Jakob's status comments.
    Jun 20 2019 08:58 PM
  • tomasth's Photo
    tomasth
    Its so unbecoming for someone like him to be deluded like that , its such a waste.
    Jun 21 2019 06:27 AM
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starspawn0

Returning Astronauts to the Moon Could Cost $30 Billion, Says NASA Trump-appointed Director Bridenstine (and projects often go way over budget -- so expect it to be $50 billion or more; Mars will probably cost significantly more than $100 billion): https://interestingengineering.com/returning-astronauts-to-the-moon-could-cost-30-billion-says-nasa
Jun 20 2019 03:06 AM
  • Jakob's Photo
    Jakob
    Much of those 400,000 were useless bean counters who will be replaced by computers this time around...unless NASA gets its way, in which case millions of bean counters and ditch diggers will just sit there wasting time and money. NASA and Congress don't really want to return to the moon because then their precious little jobs program will be over.
    Jun 20 2019 02:57 PM
  • funkervogt's Photo
    funkervogt
    $30 billion is a bargain when you consider it cost about 10x as much in adjusted dollars to land the first man on the Moon 50 years ago.
    http://www.planetary.org/blogs/casey-dreier/2019/reconstructing-the-price-of-apollo.html
    Jun 20 2019 03:04 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    "Much of those 400,000 were useless bean counters..." -- which is why I trimmed it down, comparing the effort to building Amazon Alexa. Still going to cost hundreds of billions of $$$. The launch itself (immediate costs) will probably be a large fraction of $1 billion; total costs will exceed $100 billion easily.
    Jun 20 2019 03:14 PM
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starspawn0

Candid Camera Classic: Stuck on Bank Line (I've been stuck in lines almost that bad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dv2_dlyt5lE
Jun 19 2019 03:16 AM
  • Outlook's Photo
    Outlook
    There goes the rest of my day watching these. Thanks for the share!
    Jun 19 2019 08:42 AM
  • Raklian's Photo
    Raklian
    LOL He's probably still stuck in the line to this day. XD
    Jun 19 2019 02:23 PM
  • Raklian's Photo
    Raklian
    If that happened to me, I'd start a bank robbery right on the spot. I would hold someone hostage using the edge of paper I'm holding to the person's throat.
    Jun 19 2019 02:25 PM
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starspawn0

There is apparently an advocacy organization called the American Mustache Institute. Among other things, they campaign against unfair and unacceptable discrimination in the workplace against people who wear a mustache: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Mustache_Institute
Jun 18 2019 12:22 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    There are other possibilities. For one, cutting off mustache and beard makes men look younger; and if the facial hair is turning gray, it's a way to hide that. Cutting facial hair could also signal that you are conscientious -- takes more effort to keep it cut. I suspect the real reason just come down to fashion. 1970s = beard+mustache in fashion; 1980s = out of fashion; 2020s...?
    Jun 18 2019 05:12 PM
  • Erowind's Photo
    Erowind
    I really doubt there's any real prejudice over this. Facial hair has been back in for a while too.

    Oh weird, they're in my city, bloody hipsters.
    Jun 18 2019 06:08 PM
  • Outlook's Photo
    Outlook
    People were fairly prejudiced against me when I went outside with a toothbrush moustache.
    Jun 18 2019 08:38 PM
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starspawn0

It's amusing to see people lift someone up as their intellectual hero, only to be disappointed when they say something terrible and wrong. For example, maybe they've been following a science writer for years, and quote them liberally on social media (even use them to beat back the forces of ignorance!), until one day the guy writes something horrible about "Palestinians" and "bulldozers", say, using words like "rational" and "appropriate" -- or may...
Jun 17 2019 01:23 PM
  • Alislaws's Photo
    Alislaws
    But some people will queue for hours to do exactly this.
    Jun 17 2019 04:13 PM
  • Raklian's Photo
    Raklian
    ^ And they think you're weird for that.
    Jun 17 2019 04:22 PM
  • Erowind's Photo
    Erowind
    It's okay to like only some of what someone says. Status is pointless, I'm with Alislaws on celebrities. The people who think it's weird are genuinely drones who care more about status than themselves. I've been backstage for activist purposes at large concerts before. Big singers are just like everyone else, they sit around and bs with their friends while waiting for sets. There's no mystique. Now raiding the snackbar backstage, that's something to get excited about.
    Jun 17 2019 05:31 PM
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starspawn0

American society has a very high tolerance of ignorance; what it doesn't tolerate is looking bad while coming off as ignorant. People who say something stupid and ignorant, who get called on it, and then laugh and say, "my bad" in an ingratiating manner, are given a pass. People who instead get nervous and shifty-eyed, are designated "bad" and "moronic". Looks and personality are important for covering up deficits elsewhere!
Jun 16 2019 03:00 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    Trump used a different strategy than "my bad" to cover *his* ignorance. It appears to have worked.
    Jun 16 2019 03:11 PM
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starspawn0

Glenn Greenwald Explains the Political Earthquake in Brazil Caused by The Intercept's Ongoing Exposés (leaked documents about corruption by Judge Sergio Moro): https://theintercept.com/2019/06/15/watch-glenn-greenwald-explains-the-political-earthquake-in-brazil-caused-by-our-ongoing-exposes/
Jun 15 2019 07:33 PM
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starspawn0

I haven't yet watched HBO's mini-series about Chernobyl, but the trailer looks incredible: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s9APLXM9Ei8
Jun 14 2019 07:49 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    Link: https://www.rferl.org/a/belarusian-nobel-laureate-says-hbo-series-has-completely-changed-perception-of-chernobyl/29997496.html
    Jun 15 2019 02:18 PM
  • MarcZ's Photo
    MarcZ
    Talk about a series intended to scare the public about nuclear power BY FAR the safest and cleanest form of power generation.
    Jun 15 2019 03:25 PM
  • starspawn0's Photo
    starspawn0
    For balance, they should do a film about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
    Jun 15 2019 03:56 PM