1 week ago in Quotes
People react, but their reaction is channeled into a false dichotomy. What the elites learned from 1984 etc. is that you do need to provide an enemy for the people, but the people are not united; so you need to provide two enemies, each of which is a champion of one side and a foe for the other, and then let the spectre of this false choice become the defining characteristic of people's identity.

Witness it in the people who hate Trump or Clinton or Biden or anyone else that is put forward: you can divide an entire country on it right down the middle, and meanwhile their policies in reality (not policy positions! implementations!) are basically indistinguishable. The same thing would happen regardless of who is elected, for the most part, because the election is a show, a pressure release valve to make people think they've done something.

Even now we have people who think that electing Biden will help solve the problems you've pointed out. People ostensibly on the Left are mad about four years of rhetoric that has been riling them up, and have pulled the lever for "change" to resolve this. And yes, you will _hear_ less about blacks being shot by police for four years - that's part of the strategy, which the media cooperates / coordinates with. The actual number of incidents may not change... Instead, it will be time for news stories and events which angry up the Right for a few years, again forcing them to direct their resources and energy at fighting some spectre that won't change anything instead of directing their efforts inward to truly root out corruption and decay.

There is no protest. Protests are just the establishment throwing a different sort of parade, celebrating their power by demonstrating what they can allow to happen without facing any consequences themselves. Go ahead, yell in the street, burn down a city - nothing changes because nobody is listening and your actions ultimately only hurt people lower down the chain.

Surveillance did not stop the summer of Antifa and BLM rioting. It will not stop a summer of redneck riots if that's in the cards either. Surveillance probably does stop people who actually stand some chance of causing real change; but if that is a functional, working thing, you won't hear a word about it.
 2 weeks ago in Quotes
It's so tiring to see the most intelligent people alive say, well, this is quite clearly a massive problem that might literally destabilize the order of our entire society on one hand, but on the other, people just have to know how bad they want the Newest Garbage On Sale This Upcoming Black Friday...
 3 weeks ago in Stuff

...

To prevent the projected 3-degree-Celsius temperature increase, greenhouse-gas emissions would need to have ceased entirely between 1960 and 1970, the model found. In that sense, Earth blew by a climactic point of no return 50 years ago — before much of the public understood the realities of climate change.

[..]

Earth's temperatures are already on track to blow past the Paris agreement's goals. Last year was the second warmest on record for surface temperatures and the hottest ever for oceans. Polar melting is on track to raise seas 3 feet by 2100 and threatens to displace hundreds of millions of people.
 4 weeks ago in Quotes
The printer industry leads the world when it comes to using technology to confiscate value from the public, and HP leads the printer industry.

But these are infectious grifts. For would-be robber-barons, "smart" gadgets are a moral hazard, an irresistible temptation to use those smarts to reconfigure the very nature of private property, such that only companies can truly own things, and the rest of us are mere licensors, whose use of the devices we purchase is bound by the ever-shifting terms and conditions set in distant boardrooms.

From Apple to John Deere to GM to Tesla to Medtronic, the legal fiction that you don't own anything is used to force you to arrange your affairs to benefit corporate shareholders at your own expense.
 2 months ago in Quotes
The received wisdom in advanced capitalist societies is that there still exists an organic "civil society sector" in which institutions form autonomously and come together to manifest the interests and will of citizens. The fable has it that the boundaries of this sector are respected by actors from government and the "private sector," leaving a safe space for NGOs and nonprofits to advocate for things like human rights, free speech and accountable government.

This sounds like a great idea. But if it was ever true, it has not been for decades. Since at least the 1970s, authentic actors like unions and churches have folded under a sustained assault by free-market statism, transforming "civil society" into a buyer's market for political factions and corporate interests looking to exert influence at arm's length. The last forty years have seen a huge proliferation of think tanks and political NGOs whose purpose, beneath all the verbiage, is to execute political agendas by proxy.
 3 months ago in Quotes
There's just something unsustainable about an environment that demands constant atonement but actively disdains the very idea of forgiveness.
 3 months ago in Zitate
Hier auf dem Münsterplatz erlaubt sich der Wind so lustige Witze, daß man dumm wäre, wenn man nicht lachen würde. Und wenn ich hinausgehe, dann macht er mir meine ganze Frisur (an der ja ohnehin nicht viel ist) zuschanden. Da bekommst Du richtig Lust zum Springen und Mittun. Schade, daß ich die Zeit nicht habe.

Hoffentlich kommt er auch zu Dir, der Wind, und holt Dich ein bißchen hinaus, daß Du gar nicht mehr anders kannst als Dich freuen, am Wind und an Dir, weil Du es bist, an dem der Wind so herrliche Gefühle auslöst. Das kriegt er bestimmt fertig, paß einmal auf.

[..]

Wenn du eine Wut auf mich hast, dann hab sie ruhig, aber schrei sie dem Wind oder auch mir zu, und drück sie nicht so in Dich hinein.
Brief an Fritz Hartnagel, 12.11.1940
 3 months ago in Quotes
Generally, identifying as <political label> usually involves ignoring the parts of reality that go against the narrative. Each group has a story, which is a simplification of a selection of real life, optimized to be viral (otherwise they would never have become a large group).

If you realize this:

- first, your former allies will denouce you as a traitor;

- then your former enemies will offer you membership, because it seems to them like you want to switch sides;

- you refuse, now both your former allies and your former enemies are angry at you;

- you spend some time alone;

- then you find people who are not playing the game, and they become your new friends;

- finally you realize that people not playing the game are actually a majority of the population.
 4 months ago in Quotes
Discussion of Apple topics here on HN almost always gets reduced to the argument that Apple is not a monopoly, so what they are doing is OK. I want to present an alternative viewpoint. It's not a monopoly issue, it is an anti-competitive issue.

In Canada, we have three major cell carriers. None of them has a monopoly, or anything close to it. None of them has even 50% market share.

You can have a 10 GB smartphone plan with Rogers for $75. If you don't like that, you can switch to Bell's 10 GB plan for $75. If you don't like Bell, of course you can switch to Telus's 10 GB plan for, wait for it, $75.

The Big 3 operate smaller brands with fewer bells and whistles and lower costs. You can get a 4 GB cell plan from Koodo (Telus subsidiary) for $50, or from Fido (Rogers subsidiary) for $50, or from Virgin Mobile (Bell subsidiary) for $50.

Sometimes one of them has promotional pricing, like $45 instead of $50 for 4GB. The other two offer the same pricing for the same duration. Sometimes one of them increases their prices by $5 a month citing reasons such as infrastructure investments, lower Canadian dollar value, or inflation. The other two increase their prices by the same amount a couple of days later.

And none of this is collusion in the legal sense. They don't gather in smoke-filled rooms and decide how to screw over their customers. There is not back-channel communication whatsoever. And it is not because the competition is so perfect the prices have been commoditized. In fact, Canada has some of the highest cell plan prices in the world, even adjusting for factors such as population density and GDP.

It's just that the big companies have decided to stop competing. If you live in, say Alberta or Ontario or BC, you have three options and they are all the same overpriced crap. Cell carriers in Canada are not a monopoly, but you don't have to be a monopoly to harm customers with anti-competitive behaviour. Apple and Google, Android and iOS do not have a monopoly or a collusion agreement. But they are harming the customers all the same.
 4 months ago in Quotes
The difference between a theory, a conspiracy theory and the truth are best described by varying levels of evidence. A theory is not currently accepted as the truth, but it might be the truth. A conspiracy theory is something that has been proven to be untrue, but people still believe it and pass it on. The truth is the internally consistent and fact supported state of the world as it was and as it is.

There were many people who were going out on a limb with the assertion that the NSA was probably vacuuming it all up, they had means, motive and opportunity handed to them on a golden platter, on top of that it corresponded with what we would expect to do ourselves when in that position (not that there was any such temptation). The hacker community was well capable of seeing this as a theory, rather than as a conspiracy [theory] simply for absence of proof. That didn't stop others from labeling the hacker community as a bunch of conspiracy theorists simply because they could not imagine it to be the truth [..]
 4 months ago in Quotes
It's surprising to me how people consistently try to discourage traits in children which they at the same time glorify in adults.

I suppose considering how much effort society puts into raising meager people, it's only right we glorify those who manage to manage to grow as a person regardless.
 4 months ago in Zitate
Der Grundsatz des »geringeren Übels« ist der Grundsatz der Verzweiflung. Meist zieht es die Sache nur solange hinaus, bis das größere Übel den Sieg davonträgt. Wenn man das zu tun wagt, was recht und menschlich ist, und wenn man an die Macht der Stimme der Humanität und Wahrheit glaubt, dann geht man ein geringeres Risiko ein, als wenn man sich auf den sogenannten Realismus des Opportunismus verläßt.

[..]

Ich glaube, daß es für uns heute nur eine entscheidende Frage gibt: die nach Krieg oder Frieden. Der Mensch kann leicht alles Leben auf unserer Erde vernichten oder alle Zivilisation und alle Werte bei den Übriggebliebenen zerstören und eine barbarische, totalitäre Organisation aufbauen, die den Rest der Menschheit beherrscht. Sich dieser Gefahr bewußt zu werden und die Doppelzüngigkeit zu durchschauen, deren man sich überall bedient, um zu verhindern, daß die Menschen den Abgrund sehen, auf den sie sich zubewegen, ist unsere einzige Verpflichtung, das einzige moralische und intellektuelle Gebot, das wir heute zu respektieren haben. Tun wir es nicht, so sind wir alle zum Untergang verurteilt. Sollten wir alle bei einer atomaren Massenvernichtung umkommen, so wird das nicht daran liegen, daß der Mensch nicht fähig war, menschlich zu werden, oder daß er von Natur aus böse ist; es wird daran liegen, daß der Konsens der Dummheit ihn daran hinderte, die Wirklichkeit zu sehen und sich dementsprechend zu verhalten.
 4 months ago in Quotes
Free speech and anti-corporate attitudes are traditionally liberal values. Nowadays, you see arguments from bigots that oppose corporate power over free speech. We shouldn't be forced to withdraw our positions on free speech or corporate power just because they're associated with bigotry now.
 4 months ago in Words and Phrases

Torches of Freedom

To expand the number of women smokers Hill decided to hire Edward Bernays, who today is known as the father of public relations, to help him recruit women smokers. Bernays decided to attempt to eliminate the social taboo against women smoking in public. He gained advice from psychoanalyst A. A. Brill, who stated that it was normal for women to smoke because of oral fixation and said, “Today the emancipation of women has suppressed many of their feminine desires. More women now do the same work as men do. Many women bear no children; those who do bear have fewer children. Feminine traits are masked. Cigarettes, which are equated with men, become torches of freedom.”

In 1929 Bernays decided to pay women to smoke their “torches of freedom” as they walked in the Easter Sunday Parade in New York. This was a shock because until that time, women were only permitted to smoke in certain places such as in the privacy of their own homes. He was very careful when picking women to march because “while they should be good looking, they should not look too model-y” and he hired his own photographers to make sure that good pictures were taken and then published around the world. Feminist Ruth Hale also called for women to join in the march saying, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”
 4 months ago in Favourite Demos

Black Hole

by nesnausk!
(click image to load video)
 4 months ago in Stuff

Rowan Atkinson on free speech

by Rowan Atkinson
(click image to load video)
 4 months ago in Quotes
Given the track record of institutional science and the ever-growing list of regulatory failures, moral failures and outright abuses pushed in the guise of scientific expertise, why do so many people seem to think that simply doubling down and bullying the general population into compliance with expert consensus will ever work? What if institutional science in the US has a legitimacy crisis because it has failed to police its own corruption and failed to address its own limitations and vulnerabilities? What if everyday people can see this more clearly than those striving on the margins of these institutions?

Personally, as a scientist, I am comforted that there are enough others out there who doubt the entire notion of a scientific establishment that the population should "trust" to make decisions without oversight. Our numbers are growing, and I know many people who fight every day to ensure we will never be ruled by unquestionable expert consensus. Anyone who has been inside these institutions knows exactly how petty and arbitrary the hierarchical structures can be. I'd rather be ruled over by elite families than squabbling, territorial, overconfident scientists who can be bought off for nothing and blackmailed easily.

I think the constant stream of these articles just illustrates the massive social blind spot that comes from training STEM professionals solely for careers rather than for citizenship, communication and community membership. STEM training itself has sadly become a hierarchical, cult-like, anti-intellectual system that deprives students of critical thinking skills.
 4 months ago in Stuff

A Truly Fucked Up Industry

by Jim Sterling
 4 months ago in Quotes
I cannot see any implementation of UBI working any better than things now unless the predatory nature of those in power is put in check.