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There needs to be a word for "saying things that are probably true, but saying them with an unjustified degree of confidence". Because this is the current standard mode of communication shoved down our throats by those with the big megaphones regarding things like election fraud and covid and global warming and so forth.

The fact that they say "Noooo, of course there was no fraud, shut up you lunatic" instead of saying "Well yeah, obviously there's always some fraud, but come on, it's unlikely that it's going to amount to a hundred thousand net votes in several different states" makes me very suspicious. But in reality it probably doesn't make them wrong, it just makes them terrible people.

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"It never happens, and if it does that's a good thing" attitude.

A couple years back I looked at the Mariposa County results, as that was very disputed, in part because of a long-standing perception that elections there were corrupt and rigged, because previous election - Mariposa and surrounding counties all red. That election - surrounding counties remain red, Mariposa flips blue, this wins the state for Biden. *Looks* suspicious, but is it?

Digging down into the results, Mariposa was red in 2016 by a slim margin, and turned blue in 2020 by a slim margin (I think but can't remember definitely that it was something like 5,000 votes). Now, that *could* be the result of vote fraud, but it could also, perfectly credibly, be wibbly voters who had been swayed to Trump in 2016 being swayed to Biden in 2020. No fraud needed or proven.

But when there was such blanket denial that any fraud could possibly have taken place at all ("most secure election ever!") that was a terrible reaction born of pure defensiveness and didn't help the same way explaining debatable results like Mariposa would have. Different states had different standards, and when I read one (can't remember the particular state) that accepted post-in votes up to a week after the ballot ended, with no postmark being needed - well, can you blame anyone for thinking this was less than secure and could be exploited for fraud?

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I think you're confusing "D's now basically admit" with "I wrongly believe".

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Oh, gawd. Thank you for this. The comment is now deleted. It was a remarkable piece of irony oblivious malarkey.

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I think that's an obvious idea, I've seen many references to it before. It's just the practical implementation (and the cost of designing, manufacturing and maintaining the system that can do that) is the challenge. I think I'd pay some additional money for a car that can do that, but I have no idea if that would cover the added complexity... I suspect it'd take a while until it becomes a feature of mainstream car models, if at all.

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For point 7, the one on the right seems to have a cat ear right in the center of the picture, not to mention lines that make me see whiskers. It seems pretty obvious to me, so I'm wondering if this is a typical mind thing?

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I hope you mean the one on the left?

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Oops, yes I do, I can't see the pictures when I commented. So yes, the one on the left

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I stared at those pictures til my eyes bled and didn’t see no cat.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

Look in the upper-right corner, there are some obvious tabby-like vertical stripes and some triangular shapes that could read as ears. EDIT: also in the left image, directly above the driver's cab door, there appears to have been what looks a *lot* like a cat's right ear superimposed over the image, possibly continuous with the rest of a cat's face superimposed on the rest of the train (suggestive but difficult to make out). It's a sharp-cornered orange-brown feature rather than a more purely dark foliage shadow.

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I appreciate your valiant effort to describe where you see these things. But I fail to perceive them. Too bad we can't post photos in the replies. I'd like to see what you're talking about with some helpful arrows and circles.

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Wow this is really interesting. For me it was like, "of course people say it's more catlike it literally has ghostly cat ears"

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Huh? It's so obvious that I thought it was a joke or something. Wild that some people can't see it. Have you considered that you may just be an NPC?

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Yeah, I wonder what the difference is. I did very well in a semester long color mixing course, so I don't think it's partial color blindness, but I cannot see it at all. My husband can see it a bit, and ones like the New York picture much faster than I can.

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What would NPC have to do with not seeing the cat? And I'm not color blind. But my visual perceptions seem to be more along the autistic spectrum than normal people. For instance, I'm able to pick out underlying patterns hidden in a lot of noise quickly because I immediately focus on a detail of the pattern and visually connect my way through a pattern — rather than taking in a gestalt of the picture (not sure I'm explaining this well). So, even though I now see the "cat ear" object in the lefthand image of the train, the train refuses to resolve itself as a cat to me. I was never able to see the images in those magic eye patterns, either. And I've never been able to see the cat in the Georgian cat image (link below). I've given up trying.

The funny thing though, is I've probably got a better ability to distinguish subtle hue differences in colors than most people. And I used to have a photographic memory for maps and diagrams (but that's faded with old age). I could accurately draw a map or diagram from a single viewing—which made me a whiz at geography. Nowhere near as good as Stephen Wiltshire, though (second link below). I could only remember 2-d images. He can do it 3-D!

https://www.henrygeorge.org/catsup.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Wiltshire#:~:text=Stephen%20Wiltshire%20MBE%2C%20Hon.,after%20seeing%20it%20just%20once.

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I don't think anyone claims the train "resolves itself as a cat to the viewer". They're just saying that the left image have certain features which look like cat ears etc. so of course an AI would score that image as more "cat-like" than the right image.

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I couldn't see it on my PC monitor, and on my laptop monitor I can only see it when looking straight at the screen - tilting the screen seems to reduce contrast and hide the effect.

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The cat in the upper right is visible in both pictures, though.

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The cat ear is in the dark green foliage above the center of the train. Don't feel bad; I had to turn up my monitor brightness by a lot in order to see it. You might even need to turn off your blue light filter (if you have one).

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OK. I can see the cat-ear-shaped object that you're talking about in the foliage. It doesn't help me to resolve the cat face in the train, though. To me the "ear" vaguely resembles a giant manta ray with its tail behind it crashing into the train. Lol! Now that you've pointed out the "ear" I can't unsee the manta ray.

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its a giant cat head looming over the train, made out of foliage. the cat has its eyes closed and mouth open.

i think the difference is they changed the deep shadow to emphasize the illusion of a jaw and open mouth.

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I can see it on the PC but not on my phone. This explains the Google antitrust case.

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Wow you are right. I don't know how I missed that

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The left picture look like it was Deep Dreamed a bit (though those usually produced dog faces and pagodas).

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I see it as well. Does someone want to help me out with the text in the skyscrapers, though? The obvious text Scott referred to is nevertheless eluding me.

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New York in the dark space between the skyscrapers

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Ahhh....yes, I see it now. Thank you.

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Thank you! Cat was fast but could not get that one until I saw your answer here.

Maybe we should get a |Spoiler| tag

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Yeah, I can make out a cat but it's a lot like looking at clouds and seeing a bunny rabbit or a fish or an omen form the gods or whatever.

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I've stared at both of these pics for 10 minutes, and I can't perceive any difference between the two pictures except that the chromatic values of the greens in the foliage seem to be different. Not sure if I'm seeing a difference in contrast between the two. I do happen to see two eyes and a smile on the cow-catcher in both the photos, though.

Full disclosure, when I take the pattern detection test for autism, I test as autistic. So, even though I don't consider myself to be autistic, I seem to be quite neurodivergent at least when it comes to visual perception.

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Have you ever done those "magic eye" images that were popular in, I think, the late 80s early 90s? The trick is to defocus your eyes slightly, as if you're looking at something behind the picture, or as if you have a 1000-yard stare. Doing that with a pair of side-by-side images, like this pair, can make the differences jump out more clearly.

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This blog has discussed Georgist ideas before, so it isn't too surprising that many here can see the cat.

https://www.henrygeorge.org/catsup.htm

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**applause**

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This is the most SSC comment ever, and I love it.

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When I first looked at the image on my PC monitor, I couldn't see anything cat-like. Now that I try it on my laptop monitor, it pops out pretty clearly, but only when viewed a certain angles - tilting my screen seems to reduce the contrast and hide the cat features. I totally think it's a monitor thing, as Scott theorized originally.

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Yeah, I saw the cat ear too. Seemed obvious.

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#7 it literally looks like there is a faint picture of a cat superimposed on the train on the left. I would think the selection would be practically unanimous.

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I saw the cat in the leaves above the train cabin

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Same here.

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It helps that it's an unusually catlike train to begin with. The driver's windscreen panels and the little red circle already have roughly the right shape and proportions to look like a cat's eyes and mouth.

You wouldn't get this result without an already catlike locomotive (this is a sentence I have never written before).

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I don't think that's it. As other commentators are saying, there's a faint picture of a cat superimposed on the adversarial image, that humans can see.

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I can barely see the ear above the left train. Maybe this is a visual contrast thing? I’m nearly 50 and have less good contrast than I used to

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i am the same age and saw it right away. the shadows are altered to define the side of the kittys jaw and open mouth more.

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Yes. Anyone else see a giraffe similarly superimposed on the right image?

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I see an ostrich/emu-shaped bird on top of the train in the shadows of the foliage.

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For 6, the giant plane: does anyone know the name of a sci-fi novel featuring huge passenger planes that circle the Earth, never landing, refueling in mi-air? Passengers use small shuttle planes to dis/embark. It was written no later than early-80's.

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That sounds like Timothy Zahn's story "Between a Rock and a High Place", published in Analog in 1982. IIRC the large, permanently flying craft was called a Skyport, and the plot involved a feeder plane crashing into it in a way that didn't immediately take it down but made it impossible to evacuate.

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Yes, this is it! Thank you.

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Also on the giant plane: you refer to a normal-sized plane "bottom left", which I think should be "bottom right".

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Based on my knowledge this is not possible with most fusion designs which don't have the thrust to weight ratio to fly but may be possible with Zap and Helion's reactors. Particularly Helion which wouldn't require a steam generator. They may reach tantalizing levels of performance in the next few years looking to demonstrate step before a full size reactor results

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27: Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders? One of these things is not like the others.

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They're just too desirable to stick to one partner.

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"Brandy, you're a fine girl" (you're a fine girl)

"What a good wife you would be" (such a fine girl)

"But my life, my lover, my lady is setting, operating, and tending rolling machines"

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This is great.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

5, flying aircraft carrier: The Soviets actually did make something like this, though not nearly as big. It was done by sticking fighters on existing bombers, and it turns out that while they added weight, they also increased its lift ability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zveno_project

16, defund the police: Doesn't this proposal rely on the fact that societally you have majority support, or at least a very significant minority? Also would those who want Chauvin punished be happy with something like community service? (Also killing someone because they didn't do the right amount of community service seems like it would cause more problems than it solves, especially for those advocating defunding the police...)

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It also removes the ability to punish any crime that nobody really feels like killing you for.

Like, Joe the Random Shoplifter gets sentenced to community service, and he fails to do it. Is anyone sufficiently bloodthirsty to go murder him over it?

What if he's part of a gang, and I'm pretty sure that his gang will murder me if I kill him? And those murderers feel confident that they can murder any further state-sanctioned killers that come their way to murder them?

When this kind of thing was tried in medieval Iceland, did it lead to a just and peaceful society, or did it lead to generations-long blood feuds and shockingly high levels of axe murder?

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Turning into Medieval Iceland would be a step down for a lot of places but it would probably be a step up for, say, Philadelphia. So yeah, why not?

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>It also removes the ability to punish any crime that nobody really feels like killing you for.

That's not obvious. If it's legal to take an outlaw's stuff (it usually is), well, then, you have to deal with enterprising gentlemen who make "killing outlaws for their stuff" their entirely-legal profession (the most recent case of this I'm aware of is privateers, who typically weren't paid by the state issuing the letter of marque).

The problem of warlords/gangs that can defy such gentlemen, however, is a real one.

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The "defying efforts to kill them" issue seems like a serious one even without bringing gangs and warlords into the picture.

If you have a regular person who's already known to have a gun and a propensity for violence who's declared an outlaw, they're probably not going to want to be killed, and will make efforts to defend themself. If someone tries to kill them and take they're stuff, they'll probably try to kill them back. The other person isn't legal to murder, but so what? They're already an outlaw.

If out of every several people condemned to outlawry, at least one ends up killing more people in defense of their life and property, then the system ends up looking a whole lot worse than our current police force.

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The English privateers in fact were paid by the state, in theory at least. Every ship they captured was supposed to be brought in to an English port to be condemned as being a valid target. If this happened, the ship and its cargo could then be sold.

If the court ruled against the capture, the captain (the one with the letter) was personally liable for compensation to the owners of ship and cargo - and likely would be bankrupt as a result.

Now there were a lot of ways around this. The courts in the Caribbean were much more lenient (and much faster) than the ones in England, since they were often short on things and ships. A personal relationship between the owner of the letter and the governor could cover many sins. The downside was that they were often also short on cash money.

For that matter, a privateer with a letter for e.g. French ships, could take a Danish ship (or take a ship and then find out it was Danish). They could then take it to e.g. a Portuguese colony for condemnation and sale. The "condemnation" in this case would likely be very informal.

It could be chancy to do this if word got back to England though - the ship owners could end up suing the letter owner in English court, likely years later. It would be an uphill battle, but still expensive.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

>The English privateers in fact were paid by the state, in theory at least. Every ship they captured was supposed to be brought in to an English port to be condemned as being a valid target. If this happened, the ship and its cargo could then be sold.

That is not what I'd call "paid by the state". They were taking stuff from merchants, and then selling it to - for the most part - other merchants, with the state's permission; no money was coming out of the state's coffers except if the state happened to be the buyer. The state could be literally bankrupt and the privateers could still sell to someone else. And certainly they're not being paid for the attack *per se*.

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You are correct - the state did not pay privateers to attack ships. Sometimes it was the other way around - the privateer would pay for the letter (or at least set up a bond). Though that would have been quite limited in time; privateering was pretty chancy; I doubt you could charge much for a license most years and get any takers.

There were things like "ship money", but that was paid to actual navy crew. The navy could "bring in" a captured ship, but that was more like buying a used car at auction.

Privateers were intended as a less formal expansion of the navy, so to make sense they had to be cheaper for the state than building and crewing more navy ships.

It's also possible that this was intended to (sort of) regulate something that might happen anyway - there was a lot of rationalizing by the English that the Spanish considered all non-Spanish in the New World to be pirates and bandits already...

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

Aren't bounty hunters a simple and modern example of this? If you skip bail, a bondsman will send some armed thug after you (or a professional, but the point is that they could basically send a thug)

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No; bounty hunters are paid by the person sending them, not in stuff they loot from the target.

This conversation is about how and whether one could enforce laws without the state paying for police.

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> No; bounty hunters are paid by the person sending them, not in stuff they loot from the target.

Can't they just wave a magic wand and call it "civil forfeiture"?

(mostly joking here)

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Privateering worked bc ships were filled with valuables, or at the very least the ship itself was valuable. Getting in deadly confrontations to get somebody's clothes and smartphone sounds very stupid unless somebody has ulterior motives.

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His house, though?

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... How many criminals do you think own real property?

Most likely, you'd be ridding an owner of a troublesome tenant, and such owner would owe you nothing more than a pat on the back for the service

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Plus the problem of de facto death penalty for failing to turn up for your community service! Pretty sure defunding advocates would regard this as a bug rather than a feature (as would I, naturally).

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The gang thing gets to the interesting part of this - thinking about why it wouldn't work in, say, modern America even to the extent it worked in Iceland. For it to work, you need a broad majority of people who 1) like the law basically as it is, 2) trust the judgments of the courts at least enough to use them as a focal point and accept them if they disagree and 3) are willing (able?) to use at least enough violence that their numerical preponderance overwhelms any other group of people.

The US is an interesting case, because the Old West (at least in books/films, I know nothing about the real world version) was able to at least use the posse system which is in the same ball park. On the "do I buy it" heuristic, I feel like this would work in rural Wyoming, but not remotely in Chicago (neither of which have I ever been to).

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The only thing I know of real posse is what a friend learned about his Grandfather from Ancestory.com of all places. He knew his mother was the child of an older man, but never heard much about his grandfather. Until he got an ancestry.com account. He found a newspaper article about the trial of the posse that murdered his uncle and grandfather—who definitely had it coming. His grandfather and uncle were outlaws in a remote Arizona farming community, I don't know the dates, probably 1920s. On Sundays—when everyone was in Church—they'd steal every tool and implement from a farm. When the posse caught up to them, they were strung up, and shot into two parts. Only there was an observer who was not in the posse who reported this to the state police.

If you steal the farming tools from a subsistence farmer, you're condemning his family to death. So like I said, they had it coming.

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> It also removes the ability to punish any crime that nobody really feels like killing you for.

There's always slavery.

One way or another, someone's going to want to do something with the meat that your mind calls home. Bodies are just made of organs that can be used for something else.

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founding

>It also removes the ability to punish any crime that nobody really feels like killing you for.

Disagree. There are always people who are willing to kill a man just to watch him die, and aren't terribly picky about which man so long as he lives somewhere near Reno (or wherever is convenient to the wannabe killer). Most of these people would prefer not to spend the rest of their lives in Folsom as a consequence. If the State can officially say, "hey, all you people who ever wanted to kill someone just to watch them die, if you kill *this*, then we don't put you in prison and maybe we even call you a hero!", then it will probably inspire action even against an outlaw whose boring tax-law violations would otherwise never get anyone's blood boiling.

Even more so if the killer gets to keep the outlaw's stuff.

So there's plausibly a stable equilibrium in which each community has say a hundred such wannabe killers, and every criminal who gets caught just meekly does their assigned community service or whatever because the first one stupid enough to choose outlawry is going to have a hundred guns after them. Even the protection of a gang might not be enough against those odds.

Of course there's also a stable equilibrium in which nobody does their community service, there are thousands of nominal outlaws walking around, all of them feeling pretty secure because odds are that the one killer who would eventually have chosen them as a target will instead have been killed by one of the ten other outlaws he picked first. And plenty of other reasons not to want to implement this plan, even if we would get some cool new Sagas out of it.

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The Johnny Cash reference is a nice touch, John

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The question really comes down to whether Youtube or Twitch would allow you to monetize the video of you hunting down and killing various criminals across the country. If so then there would definitely be 'content creators' filling that void in the market.

Also relevant is whether 'it's ok to kill this person' means 'it's ok to kill this person and take their stuff' or 'it's ok to threaten to kill this person in order to mug them' or etc. Having an asymetrical right to kill someone gives you a lot of power over them that can be easily exploited to gain things other than the simple joy of murder, if the law allows it.

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community service isn't a thing if you haven't someone who actually compels you to do the service.

It's the whole libertarian mantra about how the government threatens to kill you if you don't pay your taxes : yes, ultimately every system of punishment must be able to excalate until obedience is obtained, otherwise the system doesn't work.

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It is amazing how many people don't understand this. At the foundation of all enforcement is well FORCE.

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Yup. There's a reason why the polisci definition of a "state" is "a [political entity] that maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence".

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I think you've misread or misunderstood something.

The proposal is "community service, or we declare that it's now legal to kill you and take your stuff". That's a threat of force, but it doesn't actually need police to enforce it.

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Gangs remain problematic, but as far as killing-for-shoplifting goes, it seems reasonable to extend the idea to different levels of outlaw-ness. Maybe for petty crimes the judge can declare that it’s legal to steal your stuff and call you names, but murder’s still out.

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It still means any punishment is limitless. If you get caught stealing a loaf of bread (though without police, who would catch you?), then everything you own is now fair game. People talk about a cycle of poverty, but this seems even worse.

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Oh I wouldn't want to live in this society, to be clear. I just think it *could* reach a stable equilibrium (or at any rate, the reasons it couldn't, e.g. gangs, are not the same as the counterargument you were gesturing at).

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Yeah I'm sure it could do that, I'm just arguing any implementation would be far worse than today for everything the Defund the Police crowd cares about.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

If you have no police, then the shopkeeper catches you. He can't hand you over to the police, so what do you think happens then?

Police are to protect the criminal from the public, as mob justice is famously error-prone.

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Or you do the community service/pay the fine that the court orders; at the moment if you don't do that you're sent to prison. In any system, option 1 is stealing stuff's illegal, in which case there's either a penalty a thief doesn't have to co-operate with (incarceration/execution/mutilation/outlawry) or a penalty the thief needs to cooperate with (fines/community service) backed up the threat of a non-co-operative penalty if they don't co-operate. Option 2 is no penalty or an unenforceable co-operation-requiring penalty.

Of course, if you had a purely digital currency then fines become a non-co-operative penalty, and similarly things like employment blacklists or social credit systems could work in the same way.

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In the given example, you would probably be assigned a relatively small amount of community service or fine for shoplifting. The punishment would only be limitless if you refuse to comply.

(this doesn't mean it's a good idea and I think even the contest winner was more interested in creativity than practicality)

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16. Trying to discuss this with a straight face reminds me of my days of smoking way too much pot with my friends. “No really Gunflint, tell me why this wouldn’t work” passes me the joint.

Or of the professor played by Donald Sutherland in Animal House having a high bros discussion with his students.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JUOGxePBs50

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Not relevant, but I also like the exchange in the classroom.

Jennings : Don't write this down, but I find Milton probably as boring as you find Milton. Mrs. Milton found him boring too. He's a little bit long-winded, he doesn't translate very well into our generation, and his jokes are terrible.

[Bell rings, students rise to leave]

Jennings : But that doesn't relieve you of your responsibility for this material. Now I'm waiting for reports from some of you... Listen, I'm not joking. This is my job!

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#15 Two points. To your question, my understanding is that the Czech government has been giving very generous subsidies to parents for almost 20 years now (in the range of $10,000 per child per year). Looks like it's having the intended effect. Link below.

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/07/improve-us-birth-rate-give-parents-money-and-time/619367/

That being said, making sense of this graph for other countries is complicated by the changes in the scale of the birth rates. Top birth rate changes from >1.96 to >1.76. Just pointing that out for others to beware.

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The trouble with flat-rate subsidies to parents is that you largely wind up incentivising poor people to breed, whereas what you _want_ is to encourage rich people to breed.

My preferred solution is to allow tax thresholds to be shared across a whole family. So if the top tax rate cuts in at $200K for a single and $400K for a couple it should be $600K for a couple with one kid, $800K for a couple with two kids, and so on.

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deletedSep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023
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As another low fertility rich person, I agree with everything you said. It’s a hard problem to solve.

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I would expect that subsidies are going to make the biggest difference in a family where it tips the scales towards the wife becoming a stay-at-home mom. Because the decision to become a SAHM is associated with a higher probability of additional children -- the marginal cost of another child is now much lower.

I think this scenario is common enough in the upper middle-class: the husband is a businessman, engineer, lawyer, or doctor; his wife is a teacher, nurse, administrative worker, etc., whose gross salary is around 1/3 to 1/2 of his, less than that on an after-tax basis. She could quit her job, and she's not exactly passionate about her work and probably a little burnt out by the time her 30s arrive, but the pinch from the lower income will be a little painful, particularly in his late 20s or early 30s when his career is still gathering steam but key baby-making years (he might be earning 2x her income at age 30 but 4x at age 50).

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I agree. Good childcare is better than extra cash, because cash often can't buy you good childcare. It would probably help if part-time jobs were more available (also for men!); then two partners could each have a job and have enough time left for kids.

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Not to tell you about yourself, but that last paragraph is a really big impact. A lot of the problems become easier when you start sooner, but many people wait because they want to get "established" first (whatever that means to them). So extra money isn't to incentivize people of your age, but to instead help them feel safe to start sooner.

See https://thezvi.substack.com/p/fertility-rate-roundup-1

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My solution is cheaper housing.

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I think that's a bit of a red herring. They are not, as they say, printing any more land. So "cheaper housing" either means:

1. More housing in undesirable areas, or

2. Denser housing in desirable areas.

But 1 already exists, there's loads of cheap housing in undesirable areas and people still don't choose to move there. And 2 is probably counterproductive, because you don't want to raise a big family in a goddamned high-rise apartment, you want to raise them in a big house with a proper backyard.

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There's also

3. Make more areas be desirable.

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Or, if you are a Georgist, accept that housing in desirable areas costs a lot purely because of supply and demand, but extract as tax the part of the profit that’s due to area being desirable and not due to the landlord building a particularly appealing dwelling.

Then, however, you circle back to the question of what to do with the funds collected this way, and if subsidizing parents is the right thing to do, whether to give more money to specific groups of parents.

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This is a Europe vs US thing. In the US, you could literally do a China and just build 20 new megacities* in the Great Plains, give businesses epic tax breaks/subsidies to move there, and use the resulting de-densification to reduce house prices.

In Europe, adopting US-style zoning rules and better infrastructure would probably reduce house prices enough to push commutable family houses into affordability territory, even before any further price effect from bursting housing bubbles.

*Realistically even 5 kilocities would probably be plenty.

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We lack the resources to supply the houses. We can build houses all day, getting water to them is another matter.

We could take water away from farms—as is the constant mantra from the land developers; but then what would we eat?

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What is the difference between “US style” zoning rules and European rules (though the latter surely change from state to state)?

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If govt gave me $100,000 in cash for each child I would have to have about 4 children before I'd financially ahead rather than if they just gave me cheap housing instead.

PS: My metric for housing affordability is average area income to average housing price ratio.

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Sep 29, 2023·edited Sep 29, 2023

Simple logic and the evidence both say that enabling young couples to form their own households earlier (early 20s rather than late 20s or 30s) means they have more children over the course of their fertile years. Cheap housing would indeed seem to be better than direct cash in this case. Rare!

But why not both?

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The idea of raising a family in a house with a big backyard is very American. Lot of people do not see that as a necessary component of raising a family. Hell, you don't even have to leave America. How many people in NYC or Chicago are raising their kids with big back yards? If you live in a desirable area presumably there are other benefits that make up for what you're losing.

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I've never met a kid raised in an apartment who wasn't an emotionally stunted drone.

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What's your problem?

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That is the system in France, you divide the total salary by (adults + (kids/2)) below 3 kids. Starting from the third kid, they count as 1 each, and not 1/2.

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If your population is crashing hard enough I don't think you care about who is doing the breeding. You just need people.

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"If your population is crashing hard enough I don't think you care about who is doing the breeding. You just need people."

If the new people are net resource consumers (or even net tax consumers) then more can be bad. For the same reason that you can't make up in volume a loss on each item sold.

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>If the new people are net resource consumers (or even net tax consumers) then more can be bad.

That does sound like a good argument against rich people breeding, but I'm afraid the problem is not the number of rich individuals, but the amount of resources they have at their disposal.

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If you structure the flat-rate subsidy as a discount from say, income tax, then it wouldn't be as bad. Truly poor people aren't paying any income tax so they get no benefit from having more kids.

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I suspect a lot of ills are driven by massive income inequality. If poor people have lots of children, that doesn't help. But if rich people have lots of children, that splits up their fortune among many more people, which probably has a net benefit to the economy by diluting the wealth that a very small group of people control.

You could, perhaps, calculate how many children should people have, given their available resources. If they don't have the right number of children, they should be taxed the equivalent amount it would cost for someone without their resources to have kids - a wealth based quota. The tax money could be used to subsidise poorer families who want to have kids, but maybe comes with some caveats (e.g you must enrol your child in school) as a safeguard against this system driving child neglect. I don't want this system being used by the kind of people who have 10 homeschooled kids who come out the other end believing vaccines cause autism or whatever.

Oh, and children that someone claims are theirs would naturally be entitled to a share of the wealth. The moment this person stops being a legal dependent / heir, the tax obligations apply.

This is unlikely to affect most people, but it'll give the highest net worth individuals incentive to adopt or create new dependents without punishing the poor.

And anyway, this is already happening in lots of places - since I'm childless, I don't get any childcare benefits, but get taxed the same to fund it. I don't mind because children important future taxpayers to later support me. I do think if there's a perceived need to create more people, the kids should have access to the overall resources of the nation rather than just their parents' - having more resources for future taxpayers will keep them healthier (hence cheaper to keep alive) and better educated.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

I'm Czech. With a kid. The subsidies are quite high, but not as much as you state - it is currently $13k in total, for most people this is split into three years (so $360 per month). This typically adds around 1/4th of one person's average salary (the woman, sometimes also the man, typically doesn't work until the child is 3 years old or does only part-time). This really leads to speculations that poor people have children just for the sake of this benefit, but of course this is difficult to prove.

The amount was increased substantially from $9500 in 2020, but the increase is gradual so I don't think this is the main reason.

As for the data itself, I suspected some change of methodology, but it seems it is legit. See this graph of the Czech statistical office ("Graf 19", PDF page 33, black line): https://www.czso.cz/documents/10180/165603915/13011822.pdf/48325f59-e080-4991-a04c-643441673e17?version=1.3

Czech sources mention as the main reason for the increasing numbers were stable economy and the increase of the subsidies (plus some changes in the way they are paid).

By the way, for 2022 the numbers are back to 1.66, reportedly mainly because of covid and they are expected to go down because of the Ukraine war and economy stagnation.

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Good to know. Thanks for the corrections.

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Oct 2, 2023·edited Oct 2, 2023

My understanding from a couple of podcasts that interviewed researchers focused on natalist policies is that there's very little evidence that subsidies get anyone to have a kid they didn't want to have -- the policies that work at all are letting people have a kid they wanted, but felt they wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford.

(I'm pretty sure on one of them was on Vox's The Weeds. This article has some relevant links: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/7/21125303/alaska-basic-income-birth-rate-fertility )

If the policy is making poor people less-poor by enough to have a wanted child, that seems like a huge win, in utilitarian terms?

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Yeah, 2021 is basically just an outlier. 2018–2020 were constant 1.71 (and 2017 was 1.69), 2021 jumped to 1.83, but 2022 fell back to 1.62, so possibly just a pregnancy shift in time. 1.71 is still relatively high but not that outstanding. https://www.czso.cz/documents/10180/191186709/13007023g05.xlsx/c0e41af0-9175-4353-ab06-893a281a9cd5?version=1.1

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Orban tried this (free money for new parents) in Hungary and it didn't really have an effect. Then he offered young couples an almost rent-free loan of (forgot the exact amount) ~150k, of which 1/3rd would be forgiven for every child the couple had in the next 20 years. Which just before Covid had its first reports and it seemed to work better.

The first gives money to people who already have a baby, the second incentivizes young couples to buy a house, move out, and then have kids. I think this is really interesting (although I'm not a fan of Orban) and am curious which approach works best.

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That sounds like a very clever proposal, at least for people who won't blow it all on drugs and bad business decisions.

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Without a building programme, it sounds to me like a way of propping up real estate prices. Increased demand for the same housing stock is a zero sum spiral.

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That would apply in a messed-up situation like most of America. If supply is free to meet demand, I think there isn't a problem?

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I have no knowledge of the construction industry in Hungary, but I imagine there is zoning and other restrictions on building "to keep our greenbelt" and "to protect the character of the neighborhood" and all the other things as in anglosphere countries.

My impression is that there is a big corrupt bureaucracy obstructing supply as well. But who knows what Transparency International's real agenda is?

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For what it's worth, human abilities to predict adversarial examples have been known since at least 2019: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08931-6

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Thanks for linking this. I've always thought the existence of adversarial image misclassifications by CNNs is not especially surprising, and this paper does a nice job of demonstrating that. Still, one of their conclusions seems a bit different than what I would expect:

"Indeed, although adversarial images are often analogized to optical illusions that flummox human vision, we suggest another analogy: Whereas humans have separate concepts for appearing like something vs. appearing to be that thing—as when a cloud looks like a dog without looking like it is a dog, or a snakeskin shoe resembles a snake’s features without appearing to be a snake, or even a rubber duck shares appearances with the real thing without being confusable for a duck—CNNs are not permitted to make this distinction, instead being forced to play the game of picking whichever label in their repertoire best matches an image (as were the humans in our experiments)."

I think they missed a better analogy. A CNN misclassifying an adversarial example is more analogous to a specific human momentarily misidentifying an object. Everyone regularly has experiences where they misidentify objects in a similar manner to how CNNs misclassify adversarial examples. Just this morning I glanced at some soup cans on my shelf and thought I saw a cat. After an extremely brief moment, I realized it was in fact cans without even superficial resemblance to a cat at all. I cannot duplicate the precise combination of sensations that led me to see the cans as a cat, but CNNs are static and give deterministic results to a static input. My moment of misidentification is akin to a static CNN misidentifying a static input.

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You're welcome! I guess you could be right about the static/dynamic thing. But let's imagine a recurrent neural network trained on video -> object classification tasks. I would bet that you could still produce adversarial videos. In this case, I think the distinction the authors raise is apt; resemblance is not the same thing as identity. You'd need a completely different ANN paradigm to replicate this.

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I agree they have a useful analogy, especially when you have a situation like a cloud that looks like a dog (should the CNN output "cloud" or "dog"). Completely reasonable to be concerned about resemblance vs identity. I think this sort of adversarial image should also be very robust against random perturbations. Maybe it's even the more relevant sort of adversarial image, considering the AI generated images we see in link 8.

In comparison, when you have one of the adversarial images that to a human clearly looks like a panda, but a certain CNN will output "gibbon" (https://arxiv.org/abs/1412.6572), the analogy doesn't work well. As far as I know, these sorts of images are not robust, and adding a small perturbation will restore the CNN output to "panda".

For video, I agree it should be possible to make an adversarial video, and I think you'll be able to create either of the above types of adversarial images; one that has confusion due to resemblance vs. identity, and one that has a sort of fine-tuned state, but I bet the longer the video the more delicate the second kind of adversarial image will be (compression artifacts might destroy the effect!).

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Precisely. This can be phrased in a more general (and more concise) way as contemporary ANNs only really being able to perform System 1 tasks. (Which, not really an issue if you treat them as sophisticated tools with known limitations, but a huge, yet completely unsolved issue if you expect automation - and, further down the line, general intelligence - from them.)

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#18: I spent a little time in Peru and thought the food was delightful. That's all. Just felt I needed to stand up for Peru.

#27: low divorce rate ≠ good marriage rate? Without more context, it could just be an artifact of a *lower* marriage rate or a *later* time of first marriage leading to fewer opportunities for divorce.

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Certainly in the case of clergy, given how many religions ban marriage!

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The Catholics allow non-Catholic priests who are already married to retain their spouses if they convert to Catholicism. A man who does that needs to think long & hard about whether he REALLY wants a divorce.

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Wait... really?

Where can I read about the lives of married Catholic priests?!

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Married Catholic priests are real but very rare.

"There are around 125 married Roman Catholic priests like Whitfield, an Episcopal convert, across the U.S., experts say, and perhaps a couple hundred total around the world."

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Perhaps more important (since Catholic priests are only about 10% of US clergy) is that divorce is a de facto disqualifier for ministry in most of US conservative Protestantism (Evangelicalism). The exception would be churches that are Prosperity Gospel. For example, Paula White. I'm a conservative Protestant but I don't really understand her world, since Biblically she's disqualified for ministry at least 3 times over.

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My hometown got a Peruvian restaurant a while ago. The desserts are amazing!

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There's a Peruvian chicken place near where I work that's pretty awesome. Never had the desserts though. I'll have to check them out. Any recommendations?

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Sep 29, 2023·edited Sep 29, 2023

If I remember right, the Chocolucuma was delicious. And they had a fruit mousse that was also quite good.

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+1 for Peruvian food. And do try the Peruvian-Chinese combination, which is weirdly enough a thing. The places are called Chifa.

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Agree on Peruvian food. After a quick look at that list, there is a high correlation between how "global" a cuisine is (how many restaurants serve it commonly) and how popular it is. Also, the top cuisines tend to be more recognizable, or at least a single dish is. Do you like Japanese food or do you really just like Sushi or miso soup? Do you like Indian food or do you just like chicken tikka (which isn't Indian).

My take away isnt that people don't like peruvian food, it's that they havent had or don't know what it is. If anything Greek food is the big loser considering how popular/common it is but yet isn't very well liked.

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Also why is ‘Hong Kong food’ so far away from ‘Chinese food’? That doesn’t make sense.

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One possibility involving unrepresentative memory and one about unrealistic comparison:

Maybe a lot of people have a memory trying some strange dim sum, like chicken feet, which they specifically associate with Hong Kong cuisine (accurately, or as a representative of Cantonese cuisine), while anything positive about Hong Kong cuisine got assimilated in memory to Chinese cuisine.

Maybe people who visited Hong Kong ate in low-quality restaurants to save money (because it's an expensive city) or out of ignorance, but were already familiar with similarly cheap, high-quality Chinese restaurants in their home country.

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I think you're right... and it's partly a product of how the data has been presented?

The poll data has the following options:

• Like A lot

• Like a fair amount,

• Don't like very much

• Don't like at all

• Don't know,

• N/A - I have never eaten this cuisine

The statistic shown is '% of those who have eaten the cuisine that like it', which seems only exclude the N/A option but leaves in the 'Don't know'. I would imagine that the 'don't know' respondents are either people who (a) have tried the food, but not enough to have an opinion, (b) haven't tried the food, and selected 'don't know' when reading down the option list (not waiting to get to the N/A option).

For example, here's the Japan entry for British cuisine:

• 02% Like a lot

• 11% Like a fair amount

• 14% Don't like very much

• 05% Don't like at all

• 28% Don't know

• 40% N/a - I have never eaten this cuisine

If you exclude the Japanese respondents who say that they have never eaten British cuisine, then the '% who liked it' comes to 20%. However, if you only include people who expressed an opinion on British cuisine, then the '% who liked it' rises to 41%

When you include the 'don't know' option in the calculation, then the Japanese respondents are the most negative about foreign food of the bunch. However, this is mostly because of a high 'don't know' rate. When you only look at people who liked or disliked different cuisines, then they're actually middle of the bunch in terms of how much they liked/disliked different cuisines?

So I think that including the 'don't knows' is tipping the results in favour of well-known cuisines that people have had lots of opportunity to try. I copied the data to Excel and had a go at creating an equivalent graphic that only looked at '% of people who liked it out of those that expressed an opinion'.

----

YouGov article: https://yougov.co.uk/consumer/articles/22632-italian-cuisine-worlds-most-popular

YouGov Polling Data: https://d3nkl3psvxxpe9.cloudfront.net/documents/YouGov_-_Global_Cuisine_survey.pdf

Copied to Excel: https://1drv.ms/x/s!ArxGiOiadOU3grRQA3vR0XhI6Ysf-w?e=0aCD8O

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You can really see this play out toward the bottom of the table, where a lot of the "bad" cuisines are rated higher in countries where those cuisines are more common. The funniest example to me is that Malaysians have an outsized love for Saudi Arabian food. This is totally reasonable considering that Malaysia is a majority-Muslim country that has strong ties to other Muslim countries (I still chuckle at the business advertising locations in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Gaza).

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I assume these are the rates at which marriages end in divorces, not the percentage of the group that's divorced, so I don't think lower marriage rate would skew the numbers. (I'd be more surprised if 53% of bartenders had been through a divorce than if 53% of marriages to bartenders ended in divorce)

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I was recently in Peru and was astonished by the quality of the food.

Notably, the only 99 I see in the grid is what Italians think of their own food.

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Miami has many popular Peruvian restaurants. And Nobu worked in Peru while crafting his skillls. Btw, I double-checked that on Wikipedia and it leaves out the part where Nobu casually mentioned he considered suicide after one of his restaurants failed.

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Peruvian here. I actually shared the table on Facebook, as Peruvian media tends to inflame Peruvian culinary pride too much and it deserves to be brought down a notch or two. (A prominent Peruvian chef abroad said recently, while interviewed, that he would have liked to have been an engineer, only things didn't work out financially, and that the country needs engineers more than it does chefs [NB: though yet again top engineering graduates in Peru often end up grossly underemployed and underpaid]. I agree.) Nevertheless: the results make no sense, and I'd very much like to see the methodology behind this.

It's not surprising at all that Chinese-Peruvian food is a thing. There was massive, semi-forced migration from China in the second half of the 19th century - coolies were brought over in part to replace formerly enslaved people in agriculture and in part to build railroads. [The word "coolie" is non-offensive in Peru and China - it's the ghosts of those who put people in that situation who should be ashamed.] Many died, but those who survived their period of indentured servitude generally stayed, married into local families (migrants were almost entirely men) and (says the stereotype) opened shops or restaurants, or were employed as cooks by wealthy people.

In the 80s and 90s, in Peru, for the middle class (which in American means: struggling families) "going out to eat" was a rare ocassion that meant almost by definition either Chinese food or rotisserie chicken. We have other things at home!

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#13: Describing Grayzone as an anti-war site is misleading. They aren't against Russia invading Ukraine - only against Ukraine defending itself. This is relevant as far as deplatforming goes. Moving from deplatforming anti-woke groups to actual anti-war groups would represent a new step in deplatforming. Moving from deplatforming anti-woke to deplatforming fake news that supports any regime, as long as it's authoritarian and brutal enough (Putin, Assad, etc.) doesn't really break any new ground.

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I also found this description to be bizarre as well. Granted, Scott's typical position is that cancelling is bad irrespective of one's views so a better description wouldn't change the message, but Grayzone is definitely not best described as an "anti-war" site.

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Hasn't "anti-war" always meant "in favour of our side surrendering"?

Being "anti-war" in the sense that "hey, war is a generally bad thing" doesn't distinguish you from "pro-war" people -- even the most pro-war people tend to be in favour of war in order to achieve specific important objectives rather than being in favour of war in general.

And being anti-war in the sense that you think that the _other_ side should surrender also doesn't distinguish you from pro-war people.

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Depends what society we are talking about? Ancient Romans and Mongols circa Genghis Khan seem to have been pretty pro war-in-general

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Even though we men think about it all the time, it can be safely assumed from context that we're discussing our society in this thread, not ancient Rome.

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but why would we talk about something as boring as that, when we could talk about Ancient Rome?

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Lots of people who are far more spatio-temporo-culturally similar to us have been pro-war, eg. pre-WWI militarists, fascists etc. I can't think of many Anglo-Saxon examples of being generically pro-war other than maybe the imperialists, but anything Westerners argued for in the last hundred years seems close enough that it's relevant to defining people's positions.

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I think the idea was that war was good because it was a chance for men to show bravery.

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America has been pro war since its founding.

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The Romans and Mongols were both fine with the other side surrendering before the ram had touched the wall (Romans) or roughly the equivalent (Mongols). After that they were pro-war.

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If the US had invaded Russia, committed genocide, and annexed Siberia, maybe the "anti-war" label would still be used for the Russians calling for Russia to negotiate. But it seems extraordinarily silly to do this for international observers; someone in Kenya who is spreading propaganda about how good this invasion is and how the Russians secretly want this is obviously not anti-war, they are pro-war.

I do think "being anti-war in the sense that you think that the _other_ side should surrender also doesn't distinguish you from pro-war people" has a lot of truth to it though, it's just that Grayzone's "side" is not the US, let alone Ukraine. Their side is "authoritarian regimes" ("authoritarian regime tribe" you could say). I am vastly more anti-war than Grayzone, because when my "side" launched an invasion of Iraq, I opposed it, while when their side launched an invasion of Ukraine, they supported it. Always supporting authoritarian regimes is not anti-war.

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Was the George Bush administration truly "your side"?

If the Grayzone people are somehow part of an "authoriatarian tribe" and therefore on the same side as Putin, then surely you were/are not part of the same "tribe" as the Bush admin. (but instead part of the "anti-middle eastern US intervention" tribe just like Saddam Hussein) And therefore by opposing the Iraq war you weren't going against your side you were going against your opposing side just like the Grayzone people are doing with Ukraine.

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>Was the George Bush administration truly "your side"?<

The 2002 invasion resolution had large support from Democrats, so yes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Iraq_Resolution_of_2002#:~:text=Administration's%20proposals%2C%20H.J.-,Res.,signed%20into%20law%20as%20Pub.

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Regarding whether Bush is on my side, I think yes. I think the Iraq war was a huge mistake and handled badly, but I still wanted the US to do well in Iraq, I think Bush and the US were a million times better than Hussein, and I support many things the Bush administration did (PEPFAR in particular is likely one of the greatest programs in US history).

> "instead part of the 'anti-middle eastern US intervention' tribe just like Saddam Hussein"

Absolutely not. I support many US interventions in the Middle East. I'm not even opposed to the US joining any wars in the Middle East; I think the US joining the Gulf War after Hussein's invasion of Kuwait was a good idea. I am certainly not entirely anti-war, as I support countries going to war to stop invasions and mass-killings of civilians; I'm just more anti-war than the pro-war website Grayzone.

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Why does the US have the right to intervene in any of these places, barring a UN authorisation to do so. (Which was true of the first gulf war but bit the second).

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PEPFAR—paying $5 billion dollars for $200 million in pills. Lol.

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It wasn't about the oil, it was never about the oil. Contrary to the constant misinformation mantra, the US never took a single drop of Iraqi oil.

The Ministry of Truth has scrubbed from the web, but there was a pretty exhaustive list, with—I think—122 items. 122 reasons we invaded Iraq. Of the things I remember, was:

1. The Big Gun, there's a TV show describing a big cannon, with a 1km long barrel that shot rocket propelled shells which Saddam hired a Canadian named Bull to build. The cannon was immobile and only pointed at Israel. The final stage was sabotaged on the way to delivery, and Bull was assassinated.

2. The Nuclear Mujahedeen, an army of 10k scientists, engineers, and technicians Saddam employed to build nuclear weapons. In the US raids, Iraqi civilians looted their uranium contaminated gear killing themselves and their families. You can only kill yourself with purified uranium, as natural occurring uranium isn't radioactive enough. The victims was a thing during the war. In 1981, Israel—in cahoots with Saudi Arabia—flew a bombing mission into Iraq, and bombed the Iraqi bomb fuel reactor.

3. Uranium from Chad. There was a very big kerfuffle when US Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valery Plame went to Chad to investigate the attempted purchase. Plame reported no attempt was made, however a congressional investigation determined she lied about this to shed bad light on President Bush. Gee, like the CIA is trustworthy. Scooter Libby was charged with revealing a CIA agent ... like the wife of a US Ambassador is not an agent of the US government.

4. Iraq invaded Kuwait. And the US has a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with Kuwait, which basically says, we defend Kuwait, and they don't pursue building or buying nukes. Well Iraq invaded, we were obligated to defend. Fast forward to today, Saudi Arabia is trying to build or buy nukes to defend itself against a nuclear enabled Iran. Wanna see those two scrappy kids get nukes(?) cause I don't.

5. Saddam was funding suicide bombers in Israel, and boasting about paying $10k US to the families of suicide bombers. And there were suicide bombings almost daily for a long while.

6. Assassination attempt against President Carter. Saddam sent an assassination team to the US to attempt the life of former President Carter. Saddam was mad that Carter had built lasting peace between Egypt and Israel. That's reason enough in my book to invade Iraq.

7. General Terrorism. Iraq was the financial source, training grounds, and safe haven for all manner of terrorism around the world. Of course that too is memory holed.

8. Saddam used chemical weapons against his own people. But then again, he didn't have chemical weapons, so that's a Schrodinger Event which either did or did not happen. But a whole lot of civilians got gassed by chemical weapons that some say didn't exist, but when Schrodinger opened his box, a lot of people were dead all the same. There was a huge convoy of trucks which hauled a lot of 'stuff' to Syria right before the invasion; the speculation was this was the chemical weapons. There was an Iraqi base labeled 'The Dragon's Lair' that US troops are not allowed to talk about.

That's only eight, there were another 114 items on the list, but as I said, the Ministry of Truth has found these items untruthful and has scrubbed them from our collective memories.

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Oil is a global market—it was for the oil and Bush/Tillerson wanted to make Iraqis wealthy just like Tillerson ended up successfully making Qataris wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. Obviously Iraq has a much bigger population than Qatar but American energy companies have made many foreigners a lot of money.

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Russians are indeed the bad guys in Ukraine. Authoritarianism has nothing to do with whether a war is to be supported or not. After all the British were democratic (largely) as were the French (kind of ) or the US empire (mostly) during their imperial heights.

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Agreed. Even modern wars are like this, which I think gave the “anti-war” crowd a lot of cred in the early 2000s. I think a lot of “anti-war” people were always just opposing whichever side of a war the US was on. This made them seem anti-war and prescient when the vast majority of war discussion in the US was on US wars that became a complete mess (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.), but broke down when it started to become Russian wars instead (Ukraine, Syria, Ukraine again).

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I've never really looked deeply at the Grayzone, but I don't see anything pro-authoritarian-regime on there currently (but maybe I'm just clueless about geopolitics). But I do see https://thegrayzone.com/2023/08/21/anti-syria-lobby-caliphate-starvation-sanctions/ which appears to be against caliphates (authoritarian Islamic regimes).

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ISIS is considered a terrorist organization, not a governmental body.

But, yes, it's a simplification. A more accurate, although still simplified way of putting it would be that Grayzone supports countries that are adversaries of the US (particularly Syria, China, and Russia). The article you posted is actually a good example of this; it's a propaganda piece blaming all of Syria's ills on the US and its allies, while insisting that the brutal dictator Assad would bring normalcy. In one wild paragraph, it uses an accusation from the Syrian Foreign Ministry as proof for the ludicrous claim that the US facilitated an ambush by ISIS on Assad's forces.

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Assad is probably the better choice, the other option being Isis. Probably.

Those countries that are anti US are anti US because the US has tried to maintain hegemony at the expense of these countries - particularly China these days.

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According to von Clausewitz it's not a war if the defender is not actually fighting. So Grayzone could indeed be considered an anti-war site, in a Clausewitzian sense.

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Code Pink and International Answer were always referred to as "anti-war," though the wars they objected to were a bit selective.

And their mainstream US media coverage was/is entirely dependent on who is in office.

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How does this apply to Iraq? Afghanistan? These were wars entirely initiated by the US - not fighting them would not have been equivalent in any way to 'surrendering'. Pro-war people loved these wars, anti-war people were very against them. Another way of thinking about the divide is either the threshold for what constitutes a valid use of war, or whether or not war is a good strategy for achieving non-directly-defensive objectives.

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I wonder what Tucker Carlson Republicans would say about the Persian Gulf War now?? We sent ground troops to repel an invasion of a super wealthy monarchy…I don’t even know if I would support that one now. I definitely support power projection like enforcing no-fly zones and Navy patrolling the Strait of Hormuz…but ground troops??

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No. Soviet "anti-war" messaging definitely didn't mean USSR surrendering by itself or in any of its proxy wars. It always meant USA surrendering to USSR in its proxy wars, and preferably by itself too. If not, unilateral disarmament, reduction in military spending, repeal of COCOM regulations and the Jackson-Vanik amendment, so that USSR could buy high tech dual use machinery for its MIC with no annoying hurdles, would all be good too.

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They would actually be well-described as "pro-war", since they continually post propaganda in support of the war.

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Yeah if they were actually anti-war you'd think they'd have something to say against the government that started the war, which I haven't seen any sign of.

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Presumably the case for calling Grayzone anti-war is that it's an American site, so calling it "anti-war" implicitly means that it opposes the US's participation in war. But this case is not very good. The US is just an arms supplier, not a participant in the Ukraine war and there is no serious movement for the US to enter the war. And also because Scott's summary did not mention that Grayzone was an American site, so this heuristic for what "anti-war" means wasn't available to anyone who doesn't already know what Grayzone is.

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US arms are fueling the conflict, and the US sabotaged peace negotiations, they're not a neutral

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US arms are only fueling the conflict insofar as they're preventing the invading hordes from just having their way with their victims.

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There’s zero evidence they sabotaged peace negotiations and aid to Ukraine has helped prevent more massacres like what happened in Bucha.

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I’d be inclined to ask whether Russia has or hasn’t sabotaged „peace negotiations“. I wonder why blame is deflected away from Russia all the time. What have they offered or asked for in return for peace?

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Unless Scott meant ""Anti-Ukraine"-War" website, i.e. with a left-binding dash.

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Or, we could continue to see them published and ignore them.

(I’m pretty sure that’s a mischaracterisation anyway)

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Regardless of whether it breaks new ground it is still bad. Let ideas stand on their own merits.

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"defending itself" by forcing people to fight for it's territorial claims and arresting anyone who criticizes the government's policy of refusing to negotiate continuing this war until the bitter end

Their lean is pro-Russia, yes, but a world where Ukrainian atrocities stop getting whitewashed, and Ukraine is pushed to negotiate seriously (i.e. making concessions instead of fantasizing about reclaiming Crimea) is a world where the war ends faster and fewer people die.

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A world where you give me your lunch money has less slapping vis-a-vis me slapping you than one where you don't, so how about you pony up?

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That's a really nice house you have there.

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Would be a shame if little green men came for a visit.

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Hopefully they're not from Vega.

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also, re: Assad, you're aware his primary enemies were al-Qaeda and ISIS, and his secondary enemies were groups like Jaish al-Islam or Ahrar al-Sham that took Saudi Arabia as an explicit model? Secularist/democratic rebels were a nonfactor outside Daraa unless one counts the DFNS/Rojava/YPG, who do not aspire to rule the rest of Syria and eventually gave up on fighting Assad themselves.

It's so bizarre that so many people who are not Islamist fanatics, and who would likely find themselves quickly beheaded in contemporary Idlib or ISIS Palmyra, reject the obvious conclusion that Assad was by far the lesser evil in this war. What happened to supporting secularism and freedom of religion? Heck, what happened to the War on Terror, which the US was still allegedly fighting during the 2010s - was the problem with al-Qaeda that it was in Afghanistan and not Syria?

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This is an upending of the usual meaning of antiwar in the American conversation. The likes of the people at Antiwar.com have always been against US interventionism. One wouldn't have they weren't antiwar because they weren't railing against Hussein declaring war on Kuwait, or the North Vietnamese on the South Vietnamese.

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>as long as it's authoritarian and brutal enough (Putin, Assad, etc.)

Okay, I don't disagree with the general thrust of what you're saying but it's absolutely bizarre to act as though there's something especially "authoritarian" and "brutal" about Assad as compared with the rest of the region and the extremists who were trying to overthrow him with US funding/support. Assad would have been decapitated many years ago if he were any gentler.

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What extremists in Syria did the US fund, specifically?

And, no, he wouldn't have been decapitated if he didn't gas civilians.

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I think every group the US funded in Syria could accurately be described as extremist, but I hope you will agree that an Al Qaeda affiliate counts. Otherwise, you are probably a dangerous extremist yourself.

https://www.vox.com/2015/6/15/8771999/this-is-how-crazy-syria-policy-has-gotten

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Of course an Al Qaeda affiliate counts, but your article doesn’t make this accusation, let alone provide evidence for it. It accuses Turkiye and Saudi Arabia of funding a rebel coalition that includes an Al Qaeda affiliate. The United States is not Turkiye or Saudi Arabia.

“[T]wo pieces published in the past month, from the Wall Street Journal and the Independent, reported that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are working together to ship weapons and cash to Jaish al-Fatah, a rebel coalition. Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, is one of the key partners in the coalition.“

And if you look beyond this article, you will quickly find that not only was the US not funding al-Nusra, they were actively attacking them, decimating their operations and killing several of their top commanders. http://www.voanews.com/a/turkey-says-airstrikes-killed-22-is-militants-in-syria/3659580.html,

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The U.S. provided direct support to "moderate" groups who were in the Jaish al-Fatah coalition with Al Nusra: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/world/middleeast/syria-russia-airstrikes-rebels-army-conquest-jaish-al-fatah.html

Some C.I.A. weapons ended up with Nusra Front fighters, some of the rebels trained by the CIA joined the group, and groups directly supported by the U.S. often fought alongside Al Nusra. The U.S. knew this was impossible to avoid with the support they were providing.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/world/middleeast/cia-syria-rebel-arm-train-trump.html

It's true that at other times the U.S. attacked Al Nusra, but they were more than willing to strategically support them when they could be used against Assad.

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This is a huge misunderstanding of the conflict. The United States never strategically supported nor funded Al Nusra. They were always actively working against them, *as were the groups they were actively funding*.

This is *how* Al-Nusra got the bulk of its US weaponry; from fighting (and mostly winning against) US backed groups. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria/syria-battle-between-al-qaeda-and-western-backed-group-spreads-idUSKBN0L311Z20150130, https://jamestown.org/program/the-rise-of-jaysh-al-fateh-in-northern-syria/

It is true that some of the groups and fighters the US had supported ended up joining the coalition with Al-Nusra, *after* the US backed groups had lost. And the US allied with the Soviet Union during WWII. I oppose these groups doing this, and am glad the US did not continue funding them, but it doesn’t mean the US was funding al-Nusra all along.

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The Grayzone's founder Max Blumenthal has been clearly on Russia's side, even aiding them in preparing UN briefings. The information spread by the website has been pro-Russian rather than anti-war. Taking down a donation source for a Russian propaganda outlet in pacifist disguise is an honorable deed, I want this to happen more.

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Was about to make this very point but you beat me to it.

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48: So wait, you're telling me carcinization is coming for cars now, too?

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Donuts or it didn't happen!

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Point 27: Are these the actual divorce rates? I ask this because reported divorce rates are often gross rates per thousand people. Such published rates are often used to back the claim that divorce rates have dropped significantly in the past few four or five decades, but they are based on divorces per thousand people and not divorces per thousand married people. The marriage rate has also declined, and people have to be married before they can be divorced. So, do nerdy men have a lower divorce rate because they are so uxurious or because they are less likely to marry at all?

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Nerdy men don't have a lower divorce rate; "Gaming Managers" and "Gaming Service Workers" are the nerdiest jobs you can have, with the highest divorce rates.