node created 2019/09/29
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
They kill and die, for this "precious land", right? And they both litter, whole place is filled with, like, Cheeto bags..

[..]

If they're forced to work together on something that helps everybody.. they might just find out they're not so different after all.

[..]

Let's say solar power, Israel's all sun... so, you're welcome.
I agree that we have huge amount of talking heads around with zero skin in the game and zero consequences when they are wrong, but I disagree covid-19 pandemics changed anything. There are literally dozens of politicians who have been disastrously wrong and gave advice in public which is diametrically opposite to what should have been, and suffered absolutely no consequences. And everybody's reaction to this is as tribal as it has ever been - if it's my tribe, "he may be wrong this once but it's an understandable mistake", if it's the opposing tribe, "yet another proof these vile creatures is literally the worst scum of humanity". Nothing changed. All tribes of American politics, at least, that I can see, are happily turning the epidemics into the fodder for their tribal causes, as they did with everything else before that.
Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.
Punishing governement and large corporations is generally meaningless. We have to pierce the veil and go after individuals within them... fine or even imprison them personally.
As long as we continue to have children, or accept people having children, we have chosen - as a species - to not give up on them, and their descendants.

Preserving a livable environment, and preferably much more than livable, is simply a duty springing from that fact.

There is no need for any deep philosophy, to care for the environment is - essentially - a consequence of choices already made.
The criminal underworld has figured out how to do what industrialists figured out 50 years ago: If you take just a little from a lot of people, you can get very rich, and those people won't fight back because the cost of retaliation is higher than the loss. As a result, people everywhere are being nickel and dimed to death.
I feel like everyone is doing social media marketing - or something equally useless while the world around us is breaking down.
If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, and people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you.
Of course, the terrible things I heard from the Nuremberg Trials, about the six million Jews and the people from other races who were killed, were facts that shocked me deeply. But I wasn't able to see the connection with my own past. I was satisfied that I wasn't personally to blame and that I hadn't known about those things. I wasn't aware of the extent. But one day I went past the memorial plaque which had been put up for Sophie Scholl in Franz Josef Strasse, and I saw that she was born the same year as me, and she was executed the same year I started working for Hitler. And at that moment I actually sensed that it was no excuse to be young, and that it would have been possible to find things out.
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
"The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.
A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.
"Julius Caesar"
I cannot tell why the spokesmen I have cited want the developments I forecast to become true. Some of them have told me that they work on them for the morally bankrupt reason that "If we don't do it, someone else will." They fear that evil people will develop superintelligent machines and use them to oppress mankind, and that the only defense against these enemy machines will be superintelligent machines controlled by us, that is, by well-intentioned people. Others reveal that they have abdicated their autonomy by appealing to the "principle" of technological inevitability. But, finally, all I can say with assurance is that these people are not stupid. All the rest is mystery.
I can imagine the pain and the strength of my great great grandmothers who were slaves and my great great grandmothers who were Cherokee Indians trapped on reservations. I remembered my great grandmother who walked everywhere rather than sit in the back of the bus. I think about North Carolina and my home town and i remember the women of my grandmother’s generation: strong, fierce women who could stop you with a look out the corners of their eyes. Women who walked with majesty; who could wring a chicken’s neck and scale a fish. Who could pick cotton, plant a garden and sew without a pattern. Women who boiled clothes white in big black cauldrons and who hummed work songs and lullabys. Women who visited the elderly, made soup for the sick and shortnin bread for the babies.

Women who delivered babies, searched for healing roots and brewed medicines. Women who darned sox and chopped wood and layed bricks. Women who could swim rivers and shoot the head off a snake. Women who took passionate responsibility for their children and for their neighbors’ children too.

The women in my grandmother’s generation made giving an art form. “Here, gal, take this pot of collards to Sister Sue”; “Take this bag of pecans to school for the teacher”; “Stay here while I go tend Mister Johnson’s leg.” Every child in the neighborhood ate in their kitchens. They called each other sister because of feeling rather than as the result of a movement. They supported each other through the lean times, sharing the little they had.

The women of my grandmother’s generation in my home town trained their daughters for womanhood. They taught them to give respect and to demand respect. They taught their daughters how to churn butter; how to use elbow grease. They taught their daughters to respect the strength of their bodies, to lift boulders and how to kill a hog; what to do for colic, how to break a fever and how to make a poultice, patchwork quilts, plait hair and how to hum and sing. They taught their daughters to take care, to take charge and to take responsibility. They would not tolerate a “lazy heifer” or a “gal with her head in the clouds.” Their daughters had to learn how to get their lessons, how to survive, how to be strong. The women of my grandmother’s generation were the glue that held family and the community together. They were the backbone of the church. And of the school. They regarded outside institutions with dislike and distrust. They were determined that their children should survive and they were committed to a better future.
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 used[1] 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.
If anyone went on for a thousand years asking of life: "Why are you living?" life, if it could answer, would only say, "I live so that I may live." That is because life lives out of its own ground and springs from its own source, and so it lives without asking why it is itself living.
When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fuckin' ROCKED! I don't care if they died in a puddle of their own VOMIT, I WANT SOMEONE WHO PLAYS FROM HIS FUCKIN' HEART! "Mommy! Mommy! The man Bill told me to listen to has a blood bubble on his nose" SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO HIM PLAY.
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
They couldn't before because public would be sensitive. Now with checkpoints everywhere, NSA spying, cavity searches, homeless people beaten down to death by cops getting away with it, DOJ declining to investigate bank scandals, IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, they do not need logos with pink teddy bears and stills of a happy family holding hands with smiling children on the beach. The majority of public IS already got used to this tyranny. Coming forward with less PR is a next, obvious and logical step. After that: huge military boot on your face!
Personally I'm a major proponent of native GUI applications conforming to their platform's UI standards, and I'm also a proponent of users being able to theme their environments. In my opinion the purpose of personal computing is to empower the user. Users should be able to control their work environments and their workflows as they see fit. Unfortunately I feel that this philosophy of user empowerment has been slowly challenged, where the user experience is being controlled.
[..] if one is in touch with one's own unconscious reality, I think one would have to admit that in all of us there is a piece of Eichmann, and if you ask why, on what basis do I say this, then I would ask you whether you have lost your appetite when you read that in India people were starving, or whether you have gone on eating. As soon as you have not lost your appetite, when you knew other people were starving, then your heart has hardened, and in principle, you have done the same which Eichmann did.

I don't think, that if we are really in touch with the inner reality of ourselves, that there is any crime, or perhaps any virtue, which we cannot discover in ourselves. We shut ourselves [off] from the awareness of our inner reality, we project the evil to our opponents and enemies, and believe that the good is in ourselves; individually, nationally, and group-wise in general.

But if you can really see that every one of us, carries all of humanity, the good and the evil, within himself, then indeed is very hard to be a fanatic, then indeed it's very hard to be a judge, then indeed would follow, a deep understanding, if not love, of your fellow man. Which is part of being truly a person.
lecture called "The Automaton Citizen"
What can one say about a country where a museum of science in a great city can feature an exhibit in which people fire machine guns from a helicopter at Vietnamese huts, with a light flashing when a hit is scored? What can one say about a country where such an idea can even be considered? You have to weep for this country.
"American Power and the New Mandarins" (1969)
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.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
These men were able to give the counsel they gave because they were operating at an enormous psychological distance from the people who would be maimed and killed by the weapons systems that would result from the ideas they communicated to their sponsors. The lesson, therefore, is that the scientist and technologist must, by acts of will and of the imagination, actively strive to reduce such psychological distances, to counter the forces that tend to remove him from the consequences of his actions. He must -- it is as simple as this -- think of what he is actually doing. He must learn to listen to his own inner voice. He must learn to say "No!"

Finally, it is the act itself that matters. When instrumental reason is the sole guide to action, the acts it justifies are robbed of their inherent meanings and thus exist in an ethical vacuum. I recently heard an officer of a great university publicly defend an important policy decision he had made, one that many of the university's students and faculty opposed on moral grounds, with the words: "We could have taken a moral stand, but what good would that have done?" But the moral good of a moral act inheres in the act itself. That is why an act can itself ennoble or corrupt the person who performs it. The victory of instrumental reason in our time has brought about the virtual disappearance of this insight and thus perforce the delegitimation of the very idea of nobility.
"Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment To Calculation" (1976)
As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.
When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.