Oct 082019

After sharing this link, I was informed that Stallman has had a history of maybe defending sexual relationships with minors. I didn’t know about this. That is bad. I am less certain now that he shouldn’t have lost all his positions. On the other hand, as the link points out, the worst allegations against Stallman involve him being a socially clueless aspie. That makes me worried.
In Defense of Richard Stallman
“Stallman made some technically-correct-but-utterly-tactless comments on a private mailing list, mostly in defense of his late friend and colleague Marvin Minsky. Someone leaked those comments to the public. He was then forced to resign from pretty much every position he held….He is now likely homeless and his friends (such as Eric Raymond) have had trouble contacting him.”


Libertarian leaders debate the direction of the Libertarian political party. This was one of the more interesting and passionate debates I’ve heard in a long time. And I’m still very torn. Passionate idealism, vs pragmatic realism? I don’t know dammit!


The economic case for fighting pollution to boost productivity

pseudoaddiction is the most obviously true medical concept this side of Hippocrates. The denial of its existence is a failure of national epistemics that deserves more scrutiny than it’s getting.”
AKA: My friend almost died because a doctor refused to feed his addiction to insulin.


Natalie Wynn is amazing, I love her videos in general. But this one is the most overwhelmingly “This is everything I ever wanted in a video, I can’t even begin about how great it is.” It summarizes everything I’d like to say but can’t. It doesn’t have any solutions, but at least it identifies the problem.

(for the uninitiated, Wynn is a social commentator, and this video is about the state of Men in modern society. Also, it takes a while to get started.)


“Here’s yet another reminder that our memories are reconstructed fabrications our brains use to reinforce existing narratives. A new study of 3,140 participants finds that exposing people to fake news created false memories of the depicted events in about half of subjects.”


Humans are fascinating. Real-life Persephone :)


E-cigarettes are so dangerous they give people heart attacks — even before they start using them.


Planned Parenthood to stop taking Title X funds rather than comply with abortion ‘gag rule’. Y’all remember to up your donations a few bucks the coming years. :)


The best thing about HPMOR is it’s a perfect example of how an intelligent, outside the box thinker can direct millions of dollars toward their goals in ways you’d never expect.”


We regret to inform you that all the Fast & Furious stars might be candy asses. “each of the leads has negotiated with the studio to ensure they never look less badass than any of their costars for even a single round of ass-whooping”


I keep forgetting that in Rowling’s Potter, Harry gets married to freakin’ Ginnie Weasley. But then, I also keep for getting that in Rowling’s version he’s a jock. ><

“Harry Potter had a crush on Cho specifically because she was good at Quidditch, and could go toe to toe with him as a seeker. Harry Potter started developing feelings for Ginny after she joined the Quidditch Team, and their first kiss happen as a celebration of winning a important match for the house cup, and she will later become a freaking professional quidditch player.
Harry Potter is into jocks. Harry Potter is into jocks that, specifically, could kick his ass at his favorite sport.
I feel like this is an important thing to know about the guy.”


most of the people interviewed had a similar path to getting so deep into flat eartherism
1) They sorta believed that the earth was flat.
2) They told their friends, who either blew them off or mocked them or both.
3) They found a group of flat-earthers online, who were very welcoming and happy to find a fellow flat-earther.
4) Slowly, these people abandoned their old friends and converted to the new folks, who’d never tell them they were wrong about the flat-earth. Which had the side effect of making their flat-earth beliefs the most prominent part of their personality.
5) Eventually, the rejection becomes the proof that they’re on the road to truth, and no amount of evidence will convince them because this is no longer about logic – it’s about using their own logic to build a shield to protect them from rejection.
[…] the most telling part was at the end, when they interviewed one of the most devoted flat-earthers and asked him (I’m paraphrasing):
“What if you got irrefutable proof that the Earth was round? You’d lose all your friends. Could you walk away from this culture you helped create?”
And to his credit, he answered honestly:
“No. No, I don’t think I could.” […]
… the internet has made wrong people folks to be courted. In fact, the more wrong people you can get on your side, the less you’ll be lonely. And the only cost to be a part of these groups is that you can never question the beliefs at the core of it, because that wrongness is what binds you, and any evidence that contradicts that wrongness must be either discarded, attacked, or humiliated.”

The ridiculous beliefs of religions are a feature, not a bug. You can’t have a religion without at least one obviously ludicrous thing. I used to think this was an argument against religions. Now I’m starting to think it’s an argument in favor of one Big False Belief.


“Did anyone notice how quickly the internet turned into a Lovecraftian horror scenario?
Like we’ve got this dimension right next to ours, that extends across the entire planet, and it is just brimming with nightmares. We have spambots, viruses, ransomware, this endless legion of malevolent entities that are blindly probing us for weaknesses, seeking only to corrupt, to thieve, to destroy.
Add onto that the corrupted ones themselves, humans who’ve abandoned morality and given up faces to hunt other people, jeering them, lashing out, seeing how easy it is to kill something you can’t touch or see or smell.
…Some of our best and brightest are going to create an army of four winged bats hovering throughout every city and we are going to connect them directly to the dimension where the nightmares live.
I’m not saying it’s all bad, but I am saying Cthulhu lies deathless dreaming in this web we built him and he is waking up.”


TIL that the most important things to recycle are metals. So rinse your aluminum and tin cans and put them in the bin.
Paper is iffy, and anything that’s touched food or has glue/sticky on it will contaminate other recycling or damage the machinery, so throw that in the trash.
And plastic should not be recycled at all, always put those in the trash.


The Website Obesity Crisis

“[author tweeted] “text-based websites should not exceed in size the major works of Russian literature.”
If you open that tweet in a browser, you’ll see the page is 900 KB big. That’s almost 100 KB more than the full text of The Master and Margarita.

In May 2015, Facebook introduced ‘Instant Articles’, a special format for news stories designed to appear within the Facebook site, and to load nearly instantly.
Facebook made the announcement on a 6.8 megabyte webpage dominated by a giant headshot of some dude. He doesn’t even work for Facebook, he’s just the National Geographic photo editor.
Further down the page, you’ll find a 41 megabyte video, the only way to find out more about the project.”

I kinda suspect that at least part of it is class-signalling. One demonstrates that one is rich enough to live in a high-bandwidth area and therefore higher class than those rural and third-world people by insisting on pages that are visibly obese.
Yes, it’s probably not a conscious thought, but it’s there nonetheless. Why does poor fashion instinctively hurt the sensibilities of the rich, even if “they aren’t classist?” Because everyone has completely absorbed the subtleties of status markers to the point that they are mostly subconscious aesthetic taste.


Sometimes I get pleasure out of the stupidest things. Like, this is the first Pitch Meeting I ever saw. I’ve now watched over 100 of them. They are all basically identical, with a few details swapped out as appropriate. And yet, I love them. Every single one just brings me joy. I am ashamed, I feel like the 5-year old that keeps saying “Again!” and watching the same episode of his favorite show over and over and over and over. And yet…. <3


“Civil religion” is a surprising place for social justice to end up. Gay pride started at Stonewall as a giant fuck-you to civil society. Homeless people, addicts, and sex workers told the police where they could shove their respectable values.

But there was another major world religion that started with beggars, lepers, and prostitutes, wasn’t there? One that told the Pharisees where to shove their respectable values. One whose founder got in trouble with the cops of his time.

In a hundred years, will social justice look exactly like Christianity does now? No. The world’s changed too much. Even if every religion converges on the same set of socially useful values, the socially useful values change. We don’t need to push chastity if we have good STD treatment and contraception; we don’t need to push martial valor if all our wars are fought by drones. The old religions are failing partly because they can’t adapt quickly enough; social justice won’t need to imitate their failures. … But I expect it to recapitulate the history of other civil religions in fast-forward. Did you know “pagan” is just Latin for “rural”?”


Don’t Hire Assholes. “removing an asshole (or converting them to a non-asshole) enhances productivity more than replacing an average worker with a superstar”


Sometimes the world is good. :) Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants


Obituaries For The Recently Cancelled. “Matthew Edwards, 41, was canceled early Friday evening after he was seen in his car singing along to “Remix to Ignition.” Mr. Edwards has not watched the R. Kelly documentary, but colleagues say he was aware of its existence and general content. He leaves behind his intersectional feminist wife Julia and two woke children.”


Netflix’s re-translation of Neon Genesis Evangelion is drawing backlash for queer erasure. Fuck Netflix. This was the most formative work of art of my young adult life, and I hope they burn in the same hell as the guy who was hired to draw pants/cloths over the genitals of all the famous renaissance works.

I am forced to re-link The Remarkable Queerness of Shinji Ikari


Casually Explained: Life as a Video Game


Planet of Cops. “The single greatest accomplishment of 21st Century leftism is distributing the culture of surveillance and snitching. Intersectionality gave nearly everybody a weak spot to be exploited by the right self-appointed enforcer and a lens to turn any innocuous opinion into kompromat. It couldn’t have worked better if designed from the ground up to work like this.”


Watch out! I’m on a Kontext Machine Kick!

Today I learned that pre-Reagan Republicans used to be Batman? O_O
“Hell, for a while, the Republicans were even the more abortion-friendly party. The Democrats were the Catholic party after all. The Republicans were the Protestant-as-humanistic-heritage-charity ones, the ones who eugenically spaced their three children two years apart unlike those grubby Papists, the ones with mistresses, the ones with bourgeois life courses to even be diverted from. Not to mention the doctors who cleaned up after amateur abortions or offered black-market ones themselves.”

“the framework that I’ve found productive for understanding The Big Lebowski is that it’s a Raymond Chandler tribute.
…That’s why the cowboy’s there as chorus/narrator, because the brilliant thing about The Big Lebowski is that it isn’t a stoner comedy, it’s a stoner tragedy.”


“the internet in general was pretty wealth-marked in 1998 (far more than we realized, with our American mythology of universal white suburban middle-classness and “global village” Internet mythology) … And if the Anglophone internet is ::gestures:: like this now maybe it’s cause it’s less of a professional-class preserve? The dividing line maybe being smartphones where “people on the internet” went from “people who specifically spend $X/mo on it as luxury” to “people with telephone service”? That’s a real possibility, that for all the “Global Village” stuff the wondrous effect of the ‘90s internet was to create a cultural space that was MORE gatekept by wealth and education.

That’s… kind of depressing, though. “Haha you thought the world was getting better because you were eliminating elitist barriers but actually it’s cause you were making them higher, which is good because the poor and non-elite are disproportionately idiots with worthless ideas and to the extent they’re on top of things the thing they’re on top of is undermining the basis of a good society, and anyway those times were a phenomenon of a narrow early adopter base and you’ll never ever get them back unless you make the non-elite economically and politically irrelevant.”

Depressing but very well precedented, that’s exactly the arc newsprint, radio, and TV followed before.”


“Proposed: the 1980s farm crisis (which was where family farming finally died in America) at some level fed into the development of anti-abortion activity and identity in the same period, by way of agrarian-magical fertility rites.
It’s a recurring notion among human agricultural societies that the health of the land, and of the crop, rely, through sympathetic magic, on the enactment of human fertility, in ritual or actual childbearing
These fertility cults constitute a folk religion symbiotic with any variety of nominal official religions, if not actively parasitic and tending to supplant
At some fundamental level the failure of the agrarian economy is understood or at least felt as a result of the failure of women to bear children, and for them to return to fertility will renew the golden age
To perform abortions is, essentially, to perform black witchcraft, cursing the crop and ruining the harvest; if a witch has cursed your crop the solution is to kill the witch.
This would explain the origin of Operation Rescue in the mid-1980s, and why it would choose Wichita of all places for its Summer of Mercy, this would explain the geographic distribution of the most intense anti-abortion sentiment and violence, this would explain why if you drive too far into farm country the cultural footprint consists of decaying human settlements and roadside signs condemning abortion or beseeching women to give birth”

  2 Responses to “Link & Meme Archive 6/1/19 – 10/8/19”

  1. Did anyone notice how quickly the internet turned into a Lovecraftian horror scenario?

    Yet another reminder that the universe is a charnel ground. I think it’s cool and awesome and utterly fascinating (from a sufficient remove) too tho – the universe is also a pure land.

    The animal world is a never-ending “Lovecraftian horror scenario”. (Do I need to say anything about the human world?) Shit – if we, creatures of Earth, make it into space or to other planets – however far we might ever reach – we’ll be able to experience (be subjected to) all kinds of sci-fi Lovecraftian horror first-hand!

    But it’ll be beautiful in a way too. Whole new extra dimensions “brimming with nightmares”! Cthulhu has never slept. (I like that phrase by the way.)

  2. A depressing note: The web environment is somewhat special in that it offers relatively little resistance (and arguably even encourages) complexity-creep, compared to other software platforms, so web examples will be particularly available or particularly egregious, but the The Website Obesity Crisis is a subset of the more general Software Complexity Crisis. I believe you’ve watched The Thirty Million Line Problem. Everything is piles on top of piles of top of piles that depend on piles of other piles of code. Our platforms, our tools, and our models of software are much more complex and than the work they actually do necessitates, therefore inefficient and slow. Modern software is often significantly slower than 20-30 year-old software when performing equivalent operations; even things as simple as typing in a text editor, scrubbing video (different one), just loading up the program, smooth scrolling, etc.

    I love computers. I occasionally make myself sad thinking that people generally believe computers are several orders magnitude slower than they actually are. I remember the following 1-minute clip made me particularly emotional when I first saw it: the file copy happens almost instantaneously, but Windows props up an entirely cosmetic progress bar for several seconds, making it appear to take at least hundreds of times longer than it actually does; “no wonder people think computers are slow”. Nikita Tonsky shares similar feelings in a nice blog post similar to the the Website Obesity Crisis, titled “Software disenchantment”.

    I think of it as a instance of the tragedy of the commons, and not of class warfare. Simply, the shape of our tools make bloat and inefficiency the path of least resistance, and computers have become so ridiculously fast anyway that there’s little pressure to improve quality and efficiency. That’s a real depressing thought, to me, since, to quote Elon Musk: People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves; it does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually, it will, by itself, degrade over time.

    To finish the depressing note on maximum depression, here’s a very interesting 1-hour talk by Jonathan Blow, about technology degradation, from ancient civilization, to space-faring, to modern software: “Preventing the Collapse of Civilization”. Enjoy!

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