node created 2019/09/29
Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
Bachelors, doctors and professors at my university may be great computer scientists, but programmers? Oh, how many times I wanted to say "I respect your work, but please do it away from keyboard".
You cannot be just one color. If the bloody thing is ever gonna work out properly, then we all have to intermarry and screw each other blind, and get to be.. coffee-ish.
The graduation of cynicism expressed in a hierarchy of contempt is at least as necessary in the face of constant refutation as plain gullibility. The point is that the sympathizers in front organizations despise their fellow-citizens' complete lack of initiation, the party members despise the fellow-travelers' gullibility and lack of radicalism, the elite formations despise for similar reasons the party membership, and within the elite formations a similar hierarchy of contempt accompanies every new foundation and development. The result of this system is that the gullibility of sympathizers makes lies credible to the outside world, while at the same time the graduated cynicism of membership and elite formations eliminates the danger that the Leader will ever be forced by the weight of his own propaganda to make good his own statements and feigned respectability. It has been one of the chief handicaps of the outside world in dealing with totalitarian systems that it ignored this system and therefore trusted that, on one hand, the very enormity of totalitarian lies would be their undoing and that, on the other, it would be possible to take the Leader at his word and force him, regardless of his original intentions, to make it good. The totalitarian system, unfortunately, is foolproof against such normal consequences; its ingeniousness rests precisely on the elimination of that reality which either unmasks the liar or forces him to live up to his pretense. While the membership does not believe statements made for public consumption, it believes all the more fervently the standard cliches of ideological explanation, the keys to past and future history which totalitarian movements took from nineteenth-century ideologies, and transformed, through organization, into a working reality.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
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.
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...
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.
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.
There's just something unsustainable about an environment that demands constant atonement but actively disdains the very idea of forgiveness.
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.
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.
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 [..]
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'm sick of reading internet arguments about polymorphism and browser monoculture and borrow checking and static linking. Someone please tell me where I can go on the internet to read biologists arguing about their favorite animals.
Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavor are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question.
"Deschooling Society"
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
"A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles"