node created 2019/09/29

There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, 
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone. 
July 1918
[The method of infallible prediction] is foolproof only after the movements have seized power. Then all debate about the truth or falsity of a totalitarian dictator’s prediction is as weird as arguing with a potential murderer about whether his future victim is dead or alive – since by killing the person in question the murderer can promptly provide proof of the correctness of his statement. The only valid argument under such conditions is promptly to rescue the person whose death is predicted. Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it. The assertion that the Moscow subway is the only one in the world is a lie only so long as the Bolsheviks have not the power to destroy all the others. In other words, the method of infallible prediction, more than any other totalitarian propaganda device, betrays its ultimate goal of world conquest, since only in a world completely under his control could the totalitarian ruler possibly realize all his lies and make true all his prophecies.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
The possible redemption from the predicament of irreversibility - of being unable to undo what one has done - is the faculty of forgiving. The remedy for unpredictability, for the chaotic uncertainty of the future, is contained in the faculty to make and keep promises. Both faculties depend upon plurality, on the presence and acting of others, for no man can forgive himself and no one can be bound by a promise made only to himself.
I’ve yet to see any problem, however complicated, which when you looked at it the right way didn’t become still more complicated.
"Call Me Joe"
I'm tired of gurus and I'm tired of cults. Either we take advantage of the opportunity and try to reach people, or just forget it.
Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
"You can’t be neutral on a moving train," I would tell them. Some were baffled by the metaphor, especially if they took it literally and tried to dissect its meaning. Others immediately saw what I meant: that events are already moving in certain deadly directions, and to be neutral means to accept that.
"You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times"

Experiment IV

We were working secretly for the military
Our experiment in sound was nearly ready to begin
We only know in theory what we are doing
Music made for pleasure, music made to thrill

It was music we were making here until
They told us all they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone from a distance
So we go ahead and the meters are over in the red
It's a mistake in the making

From the painful cries of mothers to a terrifying scream
We recorded it and put it into our machine

They told us all they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone from a distance
So we go ahead and the meters are over in the red
It's a mistake in the making
It could feel like falling in love
It could feel so bad
It could feel so good
It could sing you to sleep

But that dream is your enemy
We won't be there to be blamed
We won't be there to snitch
I just pray that someone there can hit the switch

They told us all they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone from a distance
So we go ahead and the meters are over in the red
It's a mistake in the making

And the public are warned to stay off
We feel free because we lack the language to articulate our unfreedom.
First they came for the Tibetans, I did not speak up because I am not Tibetan.

Then they came for the Uighur, I did not speak up because I am not Uighur.

Then they came for Hong Kong, I did not speak up because I am not from Hong Kong.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
If the teacher, if anyone, is to be an example of a whole person to others, he must first strive to be a whole person. Without the courage to confront one's inner as well as one's outer worlds, such wholeness is impossible to achieve. Instrumental reason alone cannot lead to it.
When you stand before me and look at me, what do you know of the pain in me, and what I do I know of yours. And if I threw myself to the ground before you and cried and told you, what would you know more of me than of hell if somebody told you that it is hot and terrible. For that reason alone we humans should should face each other so reverend, so thoughtful, so loving, as if facing the gates of hell.
Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
And the nation that pays it is lost!"
If we do not expose the plea of security and separate the parts that are valid from the parts that are not valid, then we are complicit.
Turn your body inside out like a piece of cloth, look how it is made from the inside and what it will be when age, sickness and debauchery have taken their toll on it! Of short duration are those who praise as well as those who are praised, those who remember and those who are remembered. And even that happens just in one corner of the world, and even there not everybody agrees with one another, a single person doesn't even agree with themselves. This whole Earth however is but a dot.
Founders, investors, successful business owners and CEOs are more likely to show sociopathic behaviour than the average person next door.

They are the least competent group to be given power to shape any societal rules and contracts or to define how the humanity should look like.
Behind the blind bestiality of the SA, there often lay a deep hatred and resentment against all those who were socially, intellectually, or physically better off than themselves, and who now, as if in fulfillment of their wildest dreams, were in their power. This resentment, which never died out entirely in the camps, strikes us as a last remnant of humanly understandable feeling. The real horror began, however, when the SS took over the administration of the camps. The old spontaneous bestiality gave way to an absolutely cold and systematic destruction of human bodies, calculated to destroy human dignity; death was avoided or postponed indefinitely. The camps were no longer amusement parks for beasts in human form, that is, for men who really belonged in mental institutions and prisons; the reverse became true: they were turned into "drill grounds," on which perfectly normal men were trained to be full-fledged members of the SS.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
The reason we don't live in a dungeon is because people have joined together to change things.
No movement can survive unless it is constantly growing and changing with the times. If it isn’t growing, it’s stagnant, and without the support of the people, no movement for liberation can exist, no matter how correct its analysis of the situation is.
Some crimes can also be aided by whispered in-person conversation. Should we require all in-person conversation to be shouted near a government office?

The societal default used to be that substantially all conversations were inaccessible to the government except through testimony. Encryption does nothing to change the availability of information through testimony.

Previously, remote conspirators could collaborate through the post, and their conversations could only be accessed with a warrant specifically targeting those communicators. End-to-end encryption does little to change the availability of information in a targeted investigation; it just means it's a little more difficult to access the information than entering a phone number into XKeyscore. Investigators can install malware on the device, or microphones and video cameras in the suspect's home to hear or see what is being communicated.

Forbidding end-to-end encryption, in combination with our mass surveillance apparatus, changes the societal default to be that substantially all conversations are trivially and automatically accessible to the government.

1/5 of a degree C is not a "tiny amount".

Sure, it makes no difference to whether you want to put a sweater on, but that's not the point. The troposphere is vast, and 0.2 C represents an immense amount of kinetic energy, which in turn drives dramatic changes in circulation and precipitation patterns. You can get a sense for this by calculating how much energy an average of 0.2 C represents.

Start with this: how much does a cubic meter of air weigh? Have you ever thought about that? A cubic meter of dry air at sea level weighs about 2.7 pounds. How much energy does it take to raise 2.7 pounds of dry air by 0.2 degrees? It turns out you can look that kind of thing up. It takes about 245 joules.

Now take that 245 joules/m^3 and multiply it by the volume of the troposphere. As you recall from calculus, you can approximate this by taking the surface area of a sphere 6,371,000 meters in radius and multiplying by the troposphere's roughly 11 km height. You should end up with a figure on the order of magnitude of 10^18 joules.

Or you can think of that as being roughly the same as 20,000 Hiroshima sized bombs. Granted the density of air 10 km up is somewhat less, but we haven't factored in the gigatons of water vapor in the atmosphere. Or interactions with the oceans; most of the excess energy goes into the oceans, and that in turn affects climate in countless ways. That's how palm trees grow in Southern Britain, even though Cornwall's further north than Maine.

And yet... You just can't feel a 0.2C change. Then again you can't feel the Coriolis force either, but that can bend a subtle pressure gradient hundreds of miles long into a cyclone, a feat no human agency can resist, much less match.

Scale matters. If there's anything scientific and mathematical literacy should teach, it's that. That's why the future of the planet can't be trusted to a semi-literate ignoramus.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.
We have much studied and much perfected the great civilised invention of the division of labour; only we give it a false name. Truly speaking it is not the labour that is divided; but the men: – Divided into mere segments of men – broken into small fragments and crumbs of life; so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin.

Only in right understanding on the part of all classes of what kinds of labor are good for men, raising them and making them happy, by a determined sacrifice of such convenience, or beauty, or cheapness as is to be got only by the degradation of the workman; and by equally determined demand for the products and results of healthy and ennobling labour can this evil be met.
What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing.
"The Human Condition"
It's also a really convenient place to get news, because since all news sources are government approved then there's no fake news to worry about.

Comments like this remind me that totalitarianism doesn't need to be forceful or hostile, implemented by a shadowy government from above. People themselves will often happily serve as salesmen for the regime - with a 0% commission, to boot.
The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.
The idea that privacy can be traded away transactionally is a misrepresentation. Privacy is a choice; depending on who I am interacting with I will withhold certain information about my life.

If someone convinces a friend or family member of the lie that they can trade privacy for services, then my communications with them are compromised without my consent.

This is all about every being's right to choose to be private. The idea that it's okay to impinge this right as long as someone thought of it as a transaction is morally bankrupt.
What really hurts me sometimes is that there’s not a lot of consciousness in their music. There could be a whole lot more. Rapping is communicating-it should be an instrument for our liberation. We don’t have time to talk about being players and hustlers and gangsters. We didn’t come off of the slave ships that way. We need to become proud Africans again and stop running around in Shirley Temple curls talkin’ ‘bout how we’re pimps and players. A lot of the symbols that are in rap records and videos are indications of decadent consumerism and in a very real sense, those gold chains, hundred-dollar sneakers and T-shirts with a designer’s name on it underline how much they’ve become enslaved by the consumer mentality in the United States-consumer slaves.
Mainstream media sources about most topics are propaganda, plain and simple. You can call it marketing, you can call it public relations, or you can call it propaganda. Same god damn'd thing. The news is simply a good way to know what the opinion leaders want us to think about various things.