node created 2019/09/29
No community is easier to govern than one that rejects the very concept of community.
"The Dark Tower"
What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers (“U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat”) and then in the public consciousness, the “U.S. officials say” part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach “Experts say” or “President says” to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn’t say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them.
We are humans, living in a human society, with human values and purposes, and the associated processes and conflicts, at every point of social scale. Furthermore, we are a process, with a past and an unguessable future, at every point of social scale.

It is patently an act of incredible destruction to increasingly, globally and inescapably “control” important domains of human lives, relationships and society with extremely superficial centralized mathematical models of what humanity is.

There will be unintended consequences. They will be horrifying, and we may not even grasp what we've lost.
The only people who expect technology to act like a benevolent god are the ones who have replaced their god with it.
Lack of respect for the human right to privacy by governments and corporations will lead to mass surveillance, gamified control and microtargeted propaganda.

Every one of these is dangerous, but gamified control is by far the worst of these, as it directly attacks the concept of equality which many human rights are fundamentally based on. "Equal access to public service"? Well sure you had the chance to have a good enough score to be allowed in this part of town. It is your own fault that you are a bad human. Giving up privacy will place governance in the hand of unthinking uncaring algorithms. If you the think the human bureaucrats were bad, wait until you experience the automated ones. But even worse: these three mechanisms empower authoritarianism and are easily abused to reinforce power of a ruling caste.

Modern technology makes it easier to ignore the basic human right to privacy than to respect it. I therefor would not compare privacy to free speech, like Snowden does. Free speech is easy. In my opinion it is far more reasonable to compare privacy to the right to a fair trial: having fair trials is significantly harder than despotism. And in a similar way, most people care very little about fairness in court, unless they are directly impaired, and many are willing to throw it away if they believe some evil is using it to hide from justice.
Under the guise of freedom of speech nowadays falsehoods, and even more critically just plain noise is pervasive; the freedom to shout nonsense is inhibiting the freedom to hear a reasonable and diverse set of opinions and facts. Most (loud and repeated) messages are by corporations and other groups too; because that channel simply has more resources - and that's unfortunate not because corporations are intrinsically evil (which they aren't), but because people are intrinsically social and groups of people often quite the reverse; so that corporate "speech" in the form of campaign finance typically is plainly corruption - albeit legal, even if most of its constituent individuals are reasonably moral people. In short; we know the evils of censorship and have robust traditions to at least oppose that; but we do not have similar traditions vs. overload and deception, and indeed our (entirely reasonable) protections against censorship make us more vulnerable to these rising problems. Is there a solution? Who knows; but any solution certainly is not on the public radar yet let alone nearby.
Sure, torturing Uyghurs is kind of sucky. But do you realize the depth of the pain of the Chinese people, who even now, 70 years after the Communists took over, still nurse all the psychological wounds that came from 100 years of humiliation? Look, China has had a glorious 5000 years of history as a civilization. So this means that when you hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, you're wounding them to the core of their very beings, because that history runs so deep. That might make them seem a bit more sensitive, almost like cry-babies to your eyes, but that's only because you don't understand their pain. Whatever torture the Uyghurs are experiencing is nothing like the pain the Chinese people feel when a soccer player besmirches the moral character of the CCP.
The numbers in a billionaire's net worth include no contextual information - nothing about the lives damaged, the jobs lost, the opportunities eliminated, the time wasted, the scamming, cheating, and manipulation, the ecological support structures destroyed.

Business and personal accounting systems deny, ignore, and suppress those contextual details. So does the "investment" industry. And that makes a mockery of "price discovery" because the nominal market price always excludes critical externalities.

It's possible to become extremely rich without negative externalities. It just happens to be incredibly difficult. The looser your ethics, and the less empathy you have for competitors and victims, the easier it gets. It's a feedback loop which rewards unethical behaviour.

Essentially, money itself is a form of morality-laundering. It's an integer when it should be a complete trace through a common contextual event map.
I've found it subtly unnerving and in some way boring how women are beginning to look exactly the same, it's almost like something of comparable virality to the whole flat minimal UI design meme now exists in fashion.
Yet another circumstance must be mentioned which proves favorable for the Nazis and their immensely powerful apparatus of oppression: the development of modern technology gives the rulers, as has long been insufficiently understood, an advantage over the ruled. The more effective the weapons become and the less you can protect yourself against them, the more the armed is superior to the unarmed. The Bastille could not be successfully stormed in the age of airplanes and tear gas. Rifles equipped with rifles have no chance against motorized police forces; it makes no sense to build barricades against a government that has tanks. And in the event of a revolution, it is not only weapons development that favors those in power, the state over the individual: modern technical development and the associated sophisticated organization work in the same direction. Traffic has led to the countries becoming small and easy to monitor. How many hiding places there were in a country a hundred years ago! At that time, every power hit natural barriers! Today there is no loophole and no hideout for the rebel anymore. Even the thoughts that are able to penetrate the walls have become "controllable" because they are tied to the mass distribution of news, to radio, film and the press. How long will it take before every house has its own microphone and every private word, like every telephone call today, can be heard? The ant state is at hand. It may not be a coincidence that states like Germany and Russia have elevated technology to the status of a religion. Conversely, this development of modern technology makes the preservation of freedom a human task that is more urgent than ever.
"Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)"
Each new generation of programmers creates new tools to replace the 'complex' ones that came before without even bothering to understand them.

In my 25 year career I've seen it multiple times. We are all going downhill.

Attention spans in the smartphone era might be preventing people from reading the f*ing manual.

This means that any system or library which has an operating model that must be understood before it can be effectively used¹ simply can't be understood by the majority of programmers today.

1: The currently popular things in software world are mostly the type of system that lack such a model and which can be 'mastered' by asking discrete questions on stack overflow. This lack of complexity causes a loss of expressive power.
So long as you are alive you have a place in all this and you play a role in it. Everyone here -- on the sidewalks, pedaling by on bicycles, looking at us, or not looking at us -- has a part he's playing in this story. Everyone is doing something that relates to us. They may kick sick guys in the belly as much as they like, or kill them, or force guys with the shits to remain closed up inside a church and then shoot them because they shit, or yell Alles Scheiße, alles Scheiße! for the millionth time, between them and us a relationship nevertheless exists that nothing can destroy. They know what they're doing, they know what's being done to us. They know it as well as if they were us. And they are. You are us. One looks at each of these creatures who doesn't know and one would like to get inside their consciousness that only wants to see a piece of striped cloth, a bearded face, a line of men with a martial SS figure at their head. They're going to ignore us; whenever we go through a town, it's a sleep of human beings that passes through a sleep of sleeping persons. That's how it appears. But we know; each group knows about the other, knows everything about it.
"The Human Race"
I guess that phalanx of riot police are there to hand out some oversized checks?
Remember that your path will be difficult, at times unbearably so. All your loved ones will die. All your plans will go awry. You will be betrayed and abandoned. And you cannot escape death. Life is suffering. Accept it. But once you accept it, once you accept the inevitability of suffering, you must still accept your cross and follow your dream, because otherwise things will only get worse. Be an example, be someone on whom others can depend. Do not obey despots, fight for the freedom of body and soul, and build a country in which your children can be happy.
An obedient population is extremely vulnerable to authority figures. The whole point of democracy is to create stability by removing that single point of failure, by involving so many people in everything that crazy or malicious individuals can not easily gain excessive power, and democracy is under no circumstances compatible with obedience: Either you think critically and vote in your own interest, or you are obedient and vote how the dictator tells you to. It's impossible to have a population that critically evaluates candidates and selects the best one and that also follows orders without regard to their own evaluation of that order.
If only the media were less sensational kids would not be under constant surveillance by the technology that HN posters are helping to develop.
It's the same narrative all over again. When no strong arguments are present to defend a viewpoint, the topic suddenly becomes a "cultural" thing. Sounding smart and mysterious. In Russia, it's "the Russian way", in China it is "the Chinese way" etc. It's just BS.
1) You don't know that

2) You lack empathy
We knew perfectly well that we had no chance of winning. We fought simply not to allow the Germans alone to pick the time and place of our deaths. We knew we were going to die. Just like all the others who were sent to Treblinka.... Their death was far more heroic. We didn't know when we would take a bullet. They had to deal with certain death, stripped naked in a gas chamber or standing at the edge of a mass grave waiting for a bullet in the back of the head.... It was easier to die fighting than in a gas chamber.
And imagine this girl is just studying accounting or design or engineering, her favourite thing to do is shopping with her friends and watching K drama, or maybe she is a computer nerd and gamer, I don't know. Perhaps she was planning to go on a year of working holiday after she graduates. She has her whole future ahead of her.

Now she is forced to abseil down this rope in her bare hands. She has no safety gear or fall arrest system to break her fall. All she has is her fragile body and her strong will to fight against the biggest bully currently in the world that other nations are too chicken to stand up against.

I want to give more than just a salute to this girl and countless others (guys or girls), whom we may not even get to see their faces or know their names ever. I think the whole of humanity and all that is good (or what is left of the good in humanity) owe them. Whatever the outcome of this current mess, you have already won. I wish there are more people like you in the world, and I hope one day if I am forced to face a giant, I can be like you.