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June 28 2017


At the child psych hospital, we have a kid who came in with a photo of his parents, freaked out when staff tried to take it away from him, said he carries it with him everywhere he goes.

Those of you who haven’t worked in institutions before are probably saying “Awww, how cute, he really loves his family.”

Those of you who have worked in institutions before are probably asking “Was there a shiv hidden in the photo frame?” And yeah, there was.

June 24 2017

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The Pilgrims in Massachusetts:

They soon came upon a dozen men, women, and children, who were returning to Nemasket after gathering lobsters in Plymouth Harbor—one of countless seasonal rituals that kept the Indians constantly on the move. As they conversed with their new companions, the Englishmen learned that to walk across the land in southern New England was to travel in time. All along this narrow, hard-packed trail were circular foot-deep holes in the ground that had been dug where “any remarkable act” had occurred. It was each person’s responsibility to maintain the holes and to inform fellow travelers of what had once happened at that particular place so that “many things of great antiquity are fresh in memory.” Winslow and Hopkins began to see that they were traversing a mythic land, where a sense of community extended far into the distant past. “So that as a man travelleth…,” Winslow wrote, “his journey will be the less tedious, by reason of the many historical discourses [that] will be related unto him.”

They also began to appreciate why these memory holes were more important than ever before to the Native inhabitants of the region. Everywhere they went, they were stunned by the emptiness and desolation of the place. “Thousands of men have lived there,” Winslow wrote, “which died in a great plague not long since: and pity it was and is to see, so many goodly fields, and so well seated, without men to dress and manure the same.” With so many dead, the Pokanokets’ connection to the past was hanging by a thread—a connection that the memory holes, and the stories they inspired, helped to maintain.


It’s funny that American zombie/postapocalypse stories are such a transparent excuse to retell frontier narratives – venturing into the wild, beating back the savages to establish civilization – when in the original context it was those savages living through multiple “civilization-ending pandemic” AND an “alien invasion” apocalypse

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Disability advocates arrested during health care protest at McConnell’s office. Thank you for risking your lives #cripplepunk

50+ arrests and counting


WHY THE FUCK would it ever be necessary to arrest and zip tie physically disabled protesters!?

It’s always about humiliating people and making them physically uncomfortable. Can’t scratch your nose, can’t adjust your clothing.

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The best part is it works no matter who posts it, even Enemy Politics Blog.

In fact, when the early tube tunnels were dug, they were so cool down there that the cool tube was seen as a respite from the summer heat on the surface. Why suffer on a bus in the heat when there’s a cool tube to take instead, said the marketing men.

So why is the Bakerloo line, once the coolest place to be, now a mobile sauna?

While that heavy thick clay is lovely to tunnel through, it is also a heat insulator.

Over the years, the heat from the trains soaked into the clay to the point where it can no longer absorb any more heat. Tunnels that were a mere 14 degrees Celsius in the 1900s can now have air temperatures as high as 30 degrees Celsius on parts of the tube network.

— “Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground
(via rangi42)

June 21 2017

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“Dude, how many layers of Weird Near-Future Sci-Fi Politics are you on right now?”

“I dunno, let me go consult the chart.”

@kissingerandpals: what?

Me: hey me, you know what would be hilarious?

* completely sober at 3 in the morning *

Also me: what fam?

Me: aight, so we like, do the expanding brain meme, but for national technocr- i mean uh expanding the search space of solutions to near-modern political problems, and the punchline is ~nuclear moon base~

Also me: hahahaha politics amirite?

The central thesis of this blog is that we won’t find the solutions to the challenges of the 21st century by re-fighting the battles of the 20th century.  We are doing current politics and it’s having the current results, but we all want something better, and that necessarily means something different.

The current political ideologies are mostly unaware of the future and the ways in which it will likely dramatically upend them.  Not only are they not prepared for its problems, but they aren’t prepared to take advantage of new potential solutions, either.  And without acknowledging those solutions, they often pretend that the problems don’t exist, for ideological reasons.

Some of the proposals on here some fake, but each could be a real policy with more detail.











Universal Basic Income on an “as needed” basis would be unviable, because it would mean people could have as many children as they wanted. This would lead to population explosion, which would be bad for everyone.

So the upper limit on UBI would be enough for a couple to raise 2 kids. Given the option to have a hard life raising 2 kids or an easy life raising 1 kid (or an easier life raising no kids) we would expect a significant number of people to opt for the latter. Leading to an average of fewer than 2 kids per couple receiving UBI. Therefore only couples that have income in addition to UBI would be the ones having more than 2 kids. There would likely be very few people who own the means to production in a highly automated society, and so very few people would have more than 2 kids.

Lineages without ownership of the means to production (the majority of lineages) would therefore die out by inability to populate at replenishing rates. 

Even assuming the “as needed” UBI would lead to a problematic population boom, it seems an easy fix to raise the limit in the face of an observed population decline without going to fully unlimited.

it seems blatantly obvious to me that a large proportion if not most of the population do not make decisions about how many children to have through careful consideration of the economic practicalities, and that as a result this really wouldn’t work how you think it would work.

I’m pretty sure that the numbers back up that , overall, especially if there is access to birth control, people tend to make rational economic/benefits based reproductive choices.

Yes, there’s the lower classes popping out babies as young single mothers, but even there, there’s compelling arguments to be made that getting pregnant while single and a teen IS a rational economically based decision for a woman of that class.

I disagree with that statement. Religious people make stupid decisions regarding baby making. I know people who chose not to abort babies that had an 80% chance of killing them because it would make Jesus sad.

*OVERALL* secular and less religious people generally make economically based reproductive decisions with a goal of comfortable living and often class mobility. Of course, the other question is the cause/effect order of highy religious people having intentionally high fertility (and let’s not kid ourselves, were talking about big three abrahamic religions here). I think the missing piece here is that you don’t seem to be grasping that, for said highy religious people, having a large number of children is a good and an end.

The other question is how much of an overall impact highly religious people intentionally having large families has, which is directly related to the percentage of the population said families are, and how heritable their beliefs are.

Your mockery of other people risking their own lives because they prefer not to engage in what, to their beliefs is child murder, is a pretty bad look too. If you disagree about the whole “abortion is child murder” (as I do) the response to someone risking their own life based on that belief is that it is sad and an unnecessary risk, not that it is mockable. “lol look at this person risking her life for her moral beliefs” is really low.

It’s sad that people are indoctrinated into a belief system that makes them believe that their lives are less valuable than a potential baby. Why bring a kid that you might not be able to raise into the world? The chance of the baby having a full support system is low with a dead parent.

Would you rather be dead or an orphan? Is the possibility of not having “a full support system” dire enough that you choose death over having a single father?

That’s the belief you are facing, and however you do your quality of life calculus, a lot of people choose life.

It’s not like an aborted clump of cells has a brain much less consciousness. Our abortion laws stop after brain wave baby killing. The argument is rediculous. People don’t want other people pulling out potential babies to please a made up God.





Here’s something I’d learned about before, but didn’t really understand until nursing school:

When you put your hand on a hot stove (or any extremity on any major, unexpected source of pain), the decision to pull it away happens in your back.  That’s what a spinal reflex means–not just that the action is automatic, but that your brain isn’t even consulted.

You will never remember it this way.  You will always remember the event as “the stove felt hot so I pulled my hand away.”  But “you” didn’t do anything.  All you did was come up with a justification after your back had already acted.  Even if you know this intellectually, it won’t change anything–you still won’t be able to remember your hand acting on its own.  Your brain will not allow it.

There are more parts of the nervous system that work this way than you’d probably like to think about.

Alternate framing: your spinal cord (and indeed your whole body) is part of “you” just like your brain

Alternate, alternate framing: Almost none of your brain is “you” either.

The parts of your brain that consciously think “My name is [name]!  I want to do good things and not do bad things!  Here are some decisions I’m going to make!” are pretty much dwarfed by the ones that don’t.  We usually frame them as acting in service to the consciousness–your non-conscious brain may help you balance when you walk, but you tell it where you want to go–but then again, you also think you decided to take your hand off the stove.

Have you ever walked into a room, and then wondered what you were supposed to do in there?  You think you just forgot.  But what if you really didn’t know?

(Please note: this is mostly me going “oooh, wouldn’t it be creepy if,” and at this point I have strayed pretty far from the amount of neuroscience I actually know.)

Actual neuroscientist here. Admittedly, consciousness isn’t my speciality, but there’s a not unreasonable school of thought that says that basically everything you do is subconscious and what you think of as your consciousness is pretty much just along for the ride and making up rationalisations after the fact. Granted, that’s mostly hypothetical at the moment (not to mention a pretty bold claim), but I’m pretty sure they have non-zero evidence to back themselves up.

(Apologies if this gets posted twice, my WiFi was acting up and actual error handling would be far too sensible for the tumblr app)

EDIT: realised I was using the lay version of the word ‘theoretical’, so switched it for ‘hypothetical’





In retrospect, the Sea Lion comic kind of represents the moment for me at which the (social) left stopped being funny. I’m less sure whether that’s a function of real world success- revolution can be funny in a way that power consolidation cannot- or whether it’s just that I’m now watching John Oliver sketches in the context of the Sea Lion comic.

Progressive “comedy” isn’t funny. I think it used to be, but it certainly isn’t anymore. There’s literally no jokes being made, it’s just all leftist social club signalling at this point and it makes me hate comedy shows. A lot of standup sucks, too. At best, their grade A material is worth MAYBE a limp chuckle.

Even just recently I saw that in the upcoming season of Broad City, they’re going to have the characters act like “Trump” is a horrible curse word. Where’s the joke? Why is it funny? Do they even know or care? They’re hardly the only ones who do this non-humor, too.

The left has collectively forgotten how to tell a good joke and now they’re being eaten by people who can, like Sam Hyde, Joe Rogan, and Nick Mullen. There are others.

Was the sealion comic supposed to be funny? Because I actually had never previously considered that prehaps it was. When it first came out, people spread it around with an “this is so true! I hate men!” type caption, never a “lol this is hilarious”. The affect was nearly somber, if not angry, never humorous or light-hearted or even gallows humor.

I initially understand the op to be using the phrase “stopped being funny” in a more colloquial sense of “stopped seeming harmless and amusing” rather than “stopped being capable of producing comedy”. Probably because, in retrospect, the sealion comic was probably where the Social Left stopped seeming harmless and amusing.

I did mean ‘ha-ha’ funny, yes.  I’ve never really thought of the left as harmless or merely droll.  Over the years, different leftist projects have made me much happier and better off than I might otherwise have been, so it’s never seemed particularly inert.

I don’t know how funny the original Sea Lion comic was supposed to be, but it was at least absurdist; if David Malki had wanted to portray his opponents as subhuman animals without provoking a chuckle, he probably would have picked a rat or some other form of vermin.  But you’re correct that my objection to that comic isn’t that it’s not funny per se.  It’s that it frames transgression as the subject of mockery.

Consider the historic lefty rallying cry, “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” and the ways the Sea Lion comic totally inverts it.  The panels make it clear that the man and woman are wealthy and high-status within their community.  They’re shown to have at least one interpersonal relationship, whereas the sea lion isn’t.  They’re also human, which is itself a status marker- consider the different tone the comic would have if the man and women were instead Frog and Toad from Wind in the Willows.  But nonetheless we’re meant to empathize with them, and to see the Sea Lion as weird, annoying, and out of place.  It’s uppity.

More to the point, the woman’s initial cruelty is justified by the sea lion’s response.  That’s basically the joke, in fact.  “Would you mind showing me any evidence of any negative thing any sea lion has ever done to you?” the sea lion says, before following them home and pestering them while they try to sleep.  The sea lion doesn’t have any discernible race or gender, we’re not complaining about ‘those people’ in a demographically charged way.  So when we say ‘ugh, sea lions’, we’re not saying ‘ugh, white people’ or ‘ugh, men’ with all the historical complexity that entails.  We’re saying ‘ugh, don’t you hate those people that afflict the comfortable?’ 

I remember, very fondly, Stephen Colbert’s bit at the correspondent’s dinner in 2006.  Making those jokes to the president’s face, in a time when the religious right felt ascendant and I felt the personal risks very keenly, was a genuine comfort.  But today, it probably wouldn’t be, even though the right is arguably more powerful and more dangerous now than it was then.  That’s because the left has gradually become its own magisterium in a very concrete way, with a specific canon and set of proscribed ideas, values, and behaviors- and with its own power brokers and sacrosanct offices.  It’s less “Robin Hood stealing from the tax collector” and more “France and England fighting over Burgundy.”   The left begins to object to Trump not just as an oppressor, but as a dissenter.  And with that shift, it suddenly becomes possible to complain about sea lions.  

(Although as I mentioned in the original post, I’m still not sure how much of this is a change in my map versus how much is a material change in the territory.)

Malki is not on the left, he is prefiguring Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. More concerned with virtue-signalling to social justice types than spending a moment’s thought on what kind of class message he is sending out.

Also I totally empathised with the sealion when I first saw the comic, and was shocked to learn that Malki was trying to mock sealioning.



Too many incoherent thoughts right now but

The intuitive value system of Neoreaction sort of frustrates me. It always seems to involve a refusal to ever elaborate explicitly on what it is that we’re supposed to be chasing after, which allows it to duck out of the way of any of all challenges. You can’t accuse them of worshipping evolutionary or memetic fitness, or of homophobia, or racism, or almost anything else because they refuse to take a position, stick with it, and allow you to attack it directly.

The left, at least, is fairly clear (roughly, “equality and freedom from power dynamics) as are liberals (roughly, “utilitarianism + individual freedom”), and even the traditional right (“what the Bible says”). Neoreaction has no comparable elevator speech or even thousand-word essay on what exactly it is that they terminally value, or if they do I haven’t seen it.

yelling at black people on the internet


An interesting and disturbing parallel.

In 1939, Goering calls a meeting of Nazi high officials and says that the troops are complaining, they’ve got it so tough on the front and the Jews back home are still allowed to walk around freely in German cities, unmolested, when the war is their fault to begin with. This was to be the justification for the order that all Jews in Germany and German occupied territory would have to wear the yellow Star of David at all times, to identify them as Jews.

The hardships faced by The Troops justify brutality against the domestic enemy.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the county sheriff joe arpaio decides inmates in the county jail (that is to say, people who are innocent until proven guilty and awaiting trial) have it too easy, so he empties the jail buildings by making all the inmates sleep in tents outdoors in the jail yard. In the summer, the heat was so bad it melted their plastic sandals. Arpaio dismisses concerns that this might constitute inhumane conditions for the inmates because The Troops in Iraq are also dealing with temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and the inmates are Criminals (but haven’t been convicted of anything)! Why should they get it better than the Troops?

The hardships faced by The Troops justify brutality against the domestic enemy.

Fascism is brutal and militaristic.


In the late 1990s, when she was an assistant professor in Yale’s psychiatry department, Suniya Luthar was doing research at an inner-city school in Connecticut. She wanted to know whether misbehavior correlated more with poverty or with a stage of adolescence. She needed a second school to use as a comparison. An undergraduate student she worked with had connections at a school in a Connecticut suburb that was more upscale, and Luthar got permission to distribute her surveys there. The results were not what she expected. In the inner-city school, 86 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches; in the suburban school, 1 percent did. Yet in the richer school, the proportion of kids who smoked, drank, or used hard drugs was significantly higher—as was the rate of serious anxiety and depression. This anomaly started Luthar down a career-long track studying the vulnerabilities of students within what she calls “a culture of affluence.” I called Luthar, now a professor at Arizona State University, in March to find out whether the anxiety she was recording amounted to familiar teenage angst or something more serious. As it happened, she was about to fly to Palo Alto. A meeting on adolescents and suicide, hosted by Stanford’s psychiatry department, had been organized in a hurry. Earlier that month a fifth kid had killed himself, Byron Zhu, a 15-year-old sophomore at Palo Alto High. He had walked in front of an early-morning northbound train. The police were still at the scene when kids were biking to school that morning; the principal, who had rushed over, asked the police to put up a special barrier so they wouldn’t see.

Luthar had been invited to give a presentation on affluent youth as a largely unrecognized at-risk group. Convincing people that rich kids are at high risk isn’t easy, she said. But she has amassed the most thorough data set we have on that group, from schools scattered across the country. Luthar’s data come from school districts where families have median incomes of more than $200,000, and private schools where tuition is close to $30,000 a year. Her research suggests a U‑shaped curve in pathologies among children, by class. At each extreme—poor and rich—kids are showing unusually high rates of dysfunction. On the surface, the rich kids seem to be thriving. They have cars, nice clothes, good grades, easy access to health care, and, on paper, excellent prospects. But many of them are not navigating adolescence successfully.

The rich middle- and high-school kids Luthar and her collaborators have studied show higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse on average than poor kids, and much higher rates than the national norm. They report clinically significant depression or anxiety or delinquent behaviors at a rate two to three times the national average. Starting in seventh grade, the rich cohort includes just as many kids who display troubling levels of delinquency as the poor cohort, although the rule-breaking takes different forms. The poor kids, for example, fight and carry weapons more frequently, which Luthar explains as possibly self-protective. The rich kids, meanwhile, report higher levels of lying, cheating, and theft.






Every computer needs a “cleaning keyboard” mode where the keys would be inactive while you wipe them down

why not just clean it while the computer is shut down?

while the computer is what now

Just unplug the keyboard??

this is laptop erasure




no but in all honesty if he had been detained for a short amount of time and kicked out of the country i’d probably be like “lol good he deserved it” but yall are literally choosing to celebrate a healthy 22 year old man dying after a year in a prison in north korea because muh anti-imperialism

how the fuck is this a counterargument fjdasklfjdsakjfkljfgfdkjk WHAT about this post would even slightly imply that american prisons are Good, Actually fkdjasklfjdsf that has literally fucking NOTHING to do with this GOD

Check out this ridiculously uncommon, ahistorical occurrence: a tankie is using the “and you are lynching Negroes” defence




no but in all honesty if he had been detained for a short amount of time and kicked out of the country i’d probably be like “lol good he deserved it” but yall are literally choosing to celebrate a healthy 22 year old man dying after a year in a prison in north korea because muh anti-imperialism

how the fuck is this a counterargument fjdasklfjdsakjfkljfgfdkjk WHAT about this post would even slightly imply that american prisons are Good, Actually fkdjasklfjdsf that has literally fucking NOTHING to do with this GOD

Check out this ridiculously uncommon, ahistorical occurrence: a tankie is using the “and you are lynching Negroes” defence

June 10 2017

Play fullscreen

Sound Remedy - We Are The Dream (TheFatRat Remix)

June 07 2017


Prediction market/insurance idea:

A service that allows people to make bets on future demand for a particular skillset or credential. Like, lets say that Alice thinks that underwater basket weavers will be in high demand within 10 years. Not a particular basket company, not demand for baskets, but demand for the labor of people who graduated with degrees in underwater basket weaving. Alice decides to buy 100 shares of UBW from Bob, who thinks the market is going to bust in the next few years. This is great for college students who want to decide whether or not to major in underwater basket weaving, because they now have access to prediction market data, but it gets even better when they can get money for college by selling UBW shares. If the value of the shares goes up, so does each student’s chances of getting a job. If they go down, then they’re less likely to have a job, but they will also have less to pay off in “student loans.” But there’s a risk that they might find themselves in a good market yet still not find an underwater basket weaving job, so it’s probably smarter to have a middleman who offers student loans funded by shorting UBW, then asking for repayment based on a percentage of future earnings. This means that no individual student will get screwed over by not managing to get a job and also needing to pay back the value of the shares they bought, everyone has to pay back a manageable amount, and everyone (students, employers, middlemen) benefits.

Taking equity stakes in people is a phenomenon that exists, but it feels kind of morally and legally dubious. Like selling a part of yourself into slavery.




Here’s a drug control policy I’ve always wondered about:

Government-sold “illegal” drugs, but only for people who can show that they are already taking (or maybe that they are addicted to) those drugs from an actually illegal source. So, for instance, if you’ve been buying heroin from a drug dealer you could go to a government-run clinic and basically get a note authorizing you to buy heroin from the government. It would be sold at roughly street value and you couldn’t take it off the premises, perhaps. Treatment and methadone and whatnot would be provided for free or at low cost. Obviously the specifics would vary depending on the drug.

But the real point of the plan isn’t treating the addicts (though that might be a nice side benefit), it’s to undercut drug dealers. Drug use (or so I understand) follows an 80-20 rule. That is, 20% of drug users account for 80% of drug use. It’s the hardcore users who keep the drug dealers afloat. If you provided these hardcore users with their drugs then the market for illegal drugs would largely collapse. It would become much harder to find a drug dealer to get started in the first place as most of them are forced out of the market. Ideally, the clinics would mostly be empty and the mere fact of their existence would be enough to permanently cripple illegal drug sales.

The users would have every reason to go to the clinics, since paying the same amount for a drug as you would on the street but with no risk of arrest and no risk of dangerous adulterants is a strictly superior alternative. (And presumably most addicts don’t actually want to be on the wrong side of the law.) But by making it that only users who reach some threshold qualify (working that out might be harder than it looks, IDK), you preserve most of the disincentives in our current system that keep people from getting started in the first place. It’s still expensive, illegal, and a little dangerous. So drug use would still be hard to get into but it would be easier to get out of.

You’d also want to be careful about incentives – the people running the program shouldn’t benefit from more people buying drugs from their clinics – but that’s beyond the scope of talking about the basic idea. And it might work better for some drugs than for others, but I think it’s an interesting idea, and if it’s been proposed elsewhere I haven’t seen it.

spiralingintocontrol said: This has actually been done IRL: theguardian.com/society…

Well, if it’s not an original idea, at least it’s a possibly sensible one.

According to this Vice article on the Netherlands from a few years later:

It was in the 1990s when the Netherlands started a program that provides long-term addicts with free government heroin.

In practice, this means that addicts are allowed to inject or smoke heroin three times a day in a solemn, no frills room in a building run by municipal health services.

Combined with a specified care program, it has been responsible for almost the complete disappearance of heroin addicts from public view.

In the United States, heroin is on the rise like it’s 1983, while an ever-shrinking group of Dutch addicts is only getting smaller and older.

In a 2002 study, there were an estimated 25,000 addicts in the Netherlands (out of a population of more than 10 million), but only about 2,000 were considered hardcore addicts, according to the Central Committee on the Treatment of Heroin Addicts.

Heroin use under the age of 40 is practically non-existent, according to Amsterdam’s health services.

In 1992, more than one million needles were exchanged for clean ones in Amsterdam alone, according to the city’s Department of Health. In 2013, it was less than 200,000.

In 1985, nearly 100 percent of methadone patients were aged below 40. In 2014, almost all of them were older than 40. Aid programs are so abundant, it’s now hard to find an addict who hasn’t been in touch with one.

Interesting that they provide it for free though. Might reduce property crimes, but the article implies that that makes it harder to quit altogether.

how society dealt with mind-altering substances certainly won’t be considered a high point of 20th century civilization, let’s put it that way.

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