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https://lookinthemirror8.wordpress.com/2023/10/01/9-11-was-possibly-done-by-david-bowie/

Dark humour, not for everyone but I think it's pretty funny/ interesting.

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OC ACXLW Nuclear Proliferation history/Does sex belong in science 9/30/23

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1H8BpUe5zWMBVFf1DFJ65AnnSoHEbLNrFvv9w925zCbs/edit?usp=sharing

Hello Folks!

We are excited to announce the 44th Orange County ACX/LW meetup, happening this Saturday and most Saturdays thereafter.

Host: Michael Michalchik

Email: michaelmichalchik@gmail.com (For questions or requests)

Location: 1970 Port Laurent Place

(949) 375-2045

Date: Saturday, Sept 30, 2023

Time: 2 PM

Conversation Starters :

This week we have specific cases of situations that have broader implications on how we go into the future. We look at nuclear proliferation (which could be viewed as a special case of the more general problem of controlling dangerous technologies) and biological sex as a thought paradigm in anthropology (which can be seen as a specific case of socially controversial ideas struggling to find a place in scientific discourse).

Are nuclear weapons and the international agreements about them a good model for other technological existential threats (ASI, Bioengineered pathogens, nanotechnology, smart e-viruses, psychological warfare technologies)

How much should the scientific community change its research program to account for the sensitivities of the general population and potential harms? Is there a way to reconcile these conflicts? Will censorship and self-censorship cause more harm in the long run? Are there truths about people and society it’s better we just not know. Are there research agendas that, if we allow ourselves to pursue them, will lead to more wrong ideas than right ones?

Video, with YouTube transcript available:

Why Every Nuclear Power Built the Bomb (And Everyone Else Hasn't)

https://youtu.be/l8MkjxFq7pI?si=vrqqSlRwOFXM60UN

More mishigas: Two anthropology societies cancel an accepted symposium on sex and gender because it would “harm” their members

https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/09/27/more-mishigas-two-anthropology-societies-cancel-accepted-symposium-on-sex-and-gender-because-it-would-harm-their-members/?fbclid=IwAR0xsMUMuWYki3rQXXlLyqz_mJqdHgJ05nCoYlrAWfwEf--oB8ulr6xfb5M#

Walk & Talk: We usually have an hour-long walk and talk after the meeting starts. Two mini-malls with hot t

takeout food are easily accessible nearby. Search for Gelson's or Pavilions in the zip code 92660.

Share a Surprise: Tell the group about something unexpected that changed your perspective on the universe.

Future Direction Ideas: Contribute ideas for the group's future direction, including topics, meeting types, activities, etc.

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Is the Chinese Communist Party Communist?

Arguments against: they are no longer in strong alignment with the ideas espoused by Karl Marx, who popularised the word "Communism" or various other historical groups who have called themselves Communist.

Arguments for: Communism is as Communism does. The Chinese Communist Party has 98 million members and vastly outweigh any other Communist group in the world, so if they say they're Communist then who are we to disagree? Karl Marx is just one guy, and he's dead, why don't the 98 million members of the CCP get a say in the definition of what Communism is? Saying that the CCP isn't Communist is like saying the Pope isn't Catholic; if one billion Catholics agree that the Pope is Catholic then he is, regardless of what St Peter might have thought.

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founding

The party just isn't very ideological

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"Guidance of Marxism-Leninism" is still refered to in the preamble of the Chinese Constitution (https://english.www.gov.cn/archive/lawsregulations/201911/20/content_WS5ed8856ec6d0b3f0e9499913.html).

Now you might argue that they interpretation of Sacred Texts is Wrong, and has nothing in common with True Marxism. Many people, said the same about Soviet communists.

Imho it is far from clear whether, had there be a ressurection and second coming of Marx now, he would prefer Soviet interpretation of his ideas to Chinese interpretation.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

Argument against: the "Chinese Communist Party" is only the "Chinese Communist Party" in English. In its native Chinese it is the 中國 | 共產 | 黨 (Zhōng guó - China | gòngchǎn | dǎng - Party), with 共產 being the neologism invented to translate the word "Communist" into Chinese. But where "Communist" comes by way of French from the Latin "Communis" (common/universal/of the community), 共產 is a compound that includes both the morphene "共 /gòng" in the sense of common/shared but also the morphene "產 / chǎn" in the sense of to produce/beget/yield. "Chǎnpǐn" hyperliterally "produced-article" is the compound for "product" and "Chǎnjià" is "begetting-dates" and the compound for maternity leave, to give you a sense of other compounds formed with 產 / chǎn.

Which is all to say that the word for Communism in Chinese, 共產主義, could be hyperliterally back-translated as "Shared/Common-Producing/Begetting-Ideology." Feels a little different, no?

I don't want to overstate the importance of this. In Chinese, compounds are words and the morphene components of neologism aren't given any more weight in everyday use than we would give etymological origins in English; "電腦" means "computer" to a Chinese person and they don't think of it as a "electric-brain" even if that's the meaning of the morphene components 電 and 腦.

But I do wonder if, in a Sapir-Whorf way, the etymological divergence when "communist" got translated into "gòngchǎn", with the "chǎn" emphasizing outcomes and products, may have contributed to Chinese Communism's emphasis on instrumental ends rather than ideology. Certainly Chinese Communists have a tendency to write sentences that cohere queerly when translated into Western languages, such as Deng-era reformers observations that "[Western democracies with public health care] were doing Communism better than us" or that "Communism is about getting rich." Clearly some semantic drift has occurred in translation!

So: the Chinese Communist Party is definitely gòngchǎn but it is not Communist in the sense that the word is usually used in Latin languages.

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Okay but was literally founded as a 'Marxist-Leninist' party. What terms they used to represent this seem much less important.

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China seems to have been a centralized empire for about 2000 years, with the occasional era of warring states and dynastic cycle. They may just be returning to form.

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"Yes" and "no" are both... not "wrong" answers per se, but bad answers that indicate a misunderstanding of how language works.

The answer that gives a correct insight into the relationship between communism and the CCP is "communism is an ambijective word; some things are unambiguously communist and some are unambiguously not communist, but the CCP falls in the zone of ambiguity, so to make meaningful statements you need to expand the word out".

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Seconding the above.

The big question is 'who gets to define a word?

The definition of democracy is 'Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.' According to wikipedia, 'A republic, based on the Latin phrase res publica ('public affair'), is a state in which political power rests with the public and their representatives—in contrast to a monarchy.' Every time I look at a country that has the words 'democratic republic' in the official name, it's had some form of elected body that on paper serves as the place where political power rests.

The thing we need to be careful of is people that choose tortured definitions of words that only serve to benefit them. You can go with an expansive definition that includes everything or a very narrow definition that only encompasses a small area; both are equally rational. You can't, however, switch back and forth depending on what benefits you.

In any case, It ultimately doesn't help. Saying China isn't truely communist doesn't protect communism from people that think communists are bad, it just switches their arguments from 'communists are bad' to 'people that call themselves communists are bad'.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

>Arguments for: Communism is as Communism does.

Totalitarian regimes often coopt other terminology that they fail to espouse. No one outside of propogandists claims that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is actually a democracy, and few people will take seriously the any claim that the National Socialists (aka Nazis) were actually socialists.

Of course, terms can also have separate meanings in the context of a country - c.f. American usage of "liberal" and how disjoint it is from the actual concept of liberalism.

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“few people will take seriously any claim that the National Socialists (aka Nazis) were actually socialists.”

They actually… were…

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"Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists. Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic. We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfilment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one." Hitler, 1923.

Hitler was pretty clearly talking about a socialism that's different than every other form of socialism that's ever existed, particularly those that trace their roots back to Marx.

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He rejected Marxism, yet, as others pointed out, his actual policies had a lot in common with those of the USSR of that period. But I don't want to grind this on, suffice it to say that the original premise that "few people will take seriously the any claim that the National Socialists (aka Nazis) were actually socialists" is a bit flimsy. Plenty will.

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Those policies aren't a function of socialism - they're a function of total war.

The United States, for example, took over factories and used them to make tanks. The U.S. employed rationing - with the government deciding how much each person could consume. The U.S. established the Office of Censorship.

None of this really fits with our notion of a liberal, capitalist society - at least not during peacetime.

Are we going to say that the U.S. itself was a socialist country during World War 2, and that WWII was just a battle among socialists on the one side and socialists on the other?

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Well, you could argue that yes, the U.S. did in fact become a quasi-socialist country during the war. And absolutely, two socialist regimes, German and Soviet, went at each others' throats - after a notable period of friendship and collaboration in the 30's right up to June 22 1941. And the propaganda in both countries was railing against the evil capitalists, with the added poison of antisemitism on the German side. The USSR took up the antisemitism thing after the war.

So yes, it's a mess.

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Hitler's politics were much closer to the socialism that modern American progressives long for. https://reason.com/2007/08/15/hitlers-handouts/

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This only works at a level of generality that would make every government to ever face war a socialist government.

During war, the government usually raises taxes or borrows money to pay for soldiers and their families. That was true of George Washington's Continental Army. It was also true of Hitler's Wehrmacht.

If we go even one step deeper, the comparison stops working. From the Reason article you cited, "Aly argues that theft accounted for a full 70 percent of the Reich's wartime revenues, ensuring that the burdens of war fell squarely on the shoulders of the conquered."

Can you point me to something that, say, Bernie Sanders ever said that would suggest he wants to enact a similar policy?

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I mean, I'm sure Bernie Sanders *says* he would just have to tax the *millionaires and billionaires* and we'd all have infinite free money, but his actual policy proposals would require approximately the highest tax rates in the world, imposed on the vast majority of the populace.

Regardless, Hitler's "socialism" wasn't just a gimmick to raise wartime revenue - a core part of his ideology since the early 1930s was having a large "social safety net" to ensure the security of the Aryan people.

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Both Chinese "communism" and North Korean juche are explicitly nationalistic. Chinese "communism" certainly has private property. There's also the motte-and-bailey shell game where Western leftists will describe the Scandinavian social democratic governments as socialism.

Or you could just go to the defintions of socialism. The first search that comes up for me is:

socialism

sō′shə-lĭz″əm

noun

1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which the means of production are collectively owned but a completely classless society has not yet been achieved.

3. Specifically, in Germany, legislation, supported by Prince Bismarck, intended to improve the condition of the working-man. Among the measures included were the insurance of workmen against accident, sickness, and old age, and the establishment of cooperative associations under state protection.

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>the means of production are collectively owned but a completely classless society has not yet been achieved.

I think this is important. A completely classless society is the goal that wreaks havoc. It’s impossible and too many people get killed trying to make it happen. Hitler may have had many socialist ideas. but a classless society was not one of them.

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That certainly rules out definition 2 from applying to Hitler. Now we need to look at the other two.

For definition one, Hitler was certainly not opposed to state control of the economy, even before the war. For names you may recognize: Volkswagen.

Definition three may be the most applicable. It's certainly possible to argue that the political policies of the party were heavily influenced by the social democratic policies pushed decades before to head off the rise of communism. While this may not be applicable to modern socialism, it would have been very applicable to a Germany where these policies would be something a lot of people would remember.

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Certain parts of Nazism will fit with the definition of socialism. Others won't. That's pretty typical of any economy. We could call them all mixed economies, but that erases a lot of the nuance.

Regardless, it's clear that Nazism is totally distinct from Marxism. Virtually all of the self-described socialist countries that have ever existed trace their lineage back to Marx. Nazi Germany did not.

Thus including Nazi Germany with the socialists is usually step one of making an argument according to the noncentral fallacy - the argument being that modern socialists have something meaningful in common with Nazi Germany. They don't. Hitler was very clear that his socialism was completely distinct from Marxism, as the quote discusses.

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There's a lot in this reply that needs to be examined.

First, I never mentioned Marx. At the time Hitler came to power, there would have been only one self-described socialist country. That that particular form of socialism (Marxist) came to spread so much was entirely because that country was on the winning side of the war. Presumably, if the Nazis had won, there would have been more non-Marxist socialist governments.

Second, by using your logic, dis-including Nazi Germany from being socialist is usually step one of making an argument according to the noncentral fallacy - the argument being that the modern free market / capitalist political side has something meaningfully in common with Nazi Germany. Hitler was very clear that he was socialist (in terms of central economic control but not ownership in the service of the public good), even if not Marxist.

Finally, the point of the discussion originally was 'is China communist?'.. Aside from theoretical allegiance to the ideas of Marx (which leftists in this thread have pointed out has little bearing on Chinese policy) and retaining a rubber stamp elected legislature (which falls under the "democratic republic falsehood' argument), how, in practice, is the PRC different than Nazi Germany? Because even if modern socialists don't expect their government to end up like Nazi Germany, the fact that the most successful 'socialist' economy in practice looks an awful lot like Nazi Germany is a good argument that it is the natural evolution of socialist governance.

Trying to avoid the noncentral fallacy, both China and Germany:

Legally allow private property, including the means of production (China has 495 billionaires).

One party government.

Security state with brutal suppression of dissent.

Private companies exist at the whims of the party / government.

Militaristic and expansionist.

Uppity minorities sent to concentration camps in an effort to force conformance to dominant culture.

Government control of art / entertainment in the name of culture.

Strong central leader eliminates political rivals in own party.

What are the central differences?

I could make the argument that the Nazis cared more about the working class and the environment before the war, but that doesn't help your case.

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I think that the "noncentral fallacy" is often over applied. Like, you can't say "a central example of rape would be forcible sexual intercourse by a man not wearing a pirate costume, and I totally wore a pirate costume, therefore this is a noncentral example of rape and shouldn't be punished".

To vastly simplify, a modern socialist would say "socialism is good, and Nazism was bad, therefore Nazism is a non-central example of socialism and doesn't count". A modern anti-socialist would say "socialism is bad, and Nazism is bad for exactly the same reasons, therefore it's a perfectly central example of socialism with a different coat of paint".

Ayn Rand once defined socialism as something like "an ideology that puts the good of society over the rights of the individual" -- under this definition all forms of socialism are evil for the same reason.

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The standard counterargument is that the first people the nazis killed were the actual socialist party (while leaving the non-Jewish capitalists fine and dandy). Hillter took Marx's discussions of class and substituted "The Jews" for "capitalists", which is sort of a fundamental change.

This is a difficult discussion to have because there's no broadly agreed-upon definition of what socialism "is". I've previously argued that "leftist" should, at minimum, mean anticapitalist; socialist *should* ideally have the same distinction, but even I have used it in much fuzzier circumstances.

What definition of "socialism" are you using?

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The standard counterargument falls apart very easily. It's certainly easy to find other Socialist governments that have purged rival socialist parties. Certainly the Bolsheviks purged the Mensheviks very early.

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1st - agreed it’s a difficult discussion. “Socialism” at this point has lost almost all meaning. In US, many Republicans use it for policies they don’t like, while young idealistic people use it to call policies they like.

I use it to describe the system in the USSR. While Nazis didn’t directly nationalize industries, they did exert significant control.

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CINO, communist in name only.

But seriously, no, they are not even claiming to have communism as the goal the way the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was.

To use your analogy, if the Pope proclaimed that God didn't exist and the Bible was just another adventure fiction book, and who needs to waste time on Mass anyway... that would be kind of where the CCP is now.

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New working paper: Discursive Competence in ChatGPT, Part 2: Memory for Texts, https://new-savanna.blogspot.com/2023/09/discursive-competence-in-chatgpt-part-2.html

Abstract: In a few cases ChatGPT responds to a prompt (e.g. “To be or not to be”) by returning a specific text word-for-word. More often (e.g. “Johnstown flood, 1889”) it returns with information, but the specific wording will vary from one occasion to the next. In some cases (e.g. “Miriam Yevick”) it doesn’t return anything, though the topic was (most likely) in the training corpus. When the prompt is the beginning of a line or a sentence in a famous text, ChatGPT always identifies the text. When the prompt is a phrase that is syntactically coherent, ChatGPT generally identifies the text, but may not properly locate the phrase within the text. When the prompt cuts across syntactic boundaries, ChatGPT almost never identifies the text. But when told it is from a “well-known speech” it is able to do so. ChatGPT’s response to these prompts is similar to associative memory in humans, possibly on a holographic model.

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Good article in Science News, about brain implants treating depression.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/brain-implant-depression-electrode-stimulation-surgery

Interesting that the model is not biochemicals.

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I have zapped myself a few times doing amateur home electrical repair without turning off the circuit breakers first. It's generally been helpful for my depression and PTSD, with noticeable effects lasting around 12 hours. I haven't been crazy/gutsy enough to intentionally repeat it, but have merely been a bit ... as a Catholic might say about unprotected sex, open to providence.

ECT and TMS have also been helpful but not a cure, as with the guy in the article. Dunno why this would be any different?

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Oh my. I’m becoming hopelessly unhip. Just working tomorrow’s Times XWord. Got FINSTA on the crossings but I had to look it up.

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That doesn't sound like something you'd find in the Times crossword. Are you sure it wasn't the New York Times crossword?

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founding

Was there genuine confusion here? Curious as to what value you assign:

P('The times crossword' == 'NYT crossword' | comment on an American blog) ?

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Yep it’s the NYT XWord.

I suppose I should be more considerate of the non U.S. readers. I’m in the habit of using this sort of shorthand. The Times, The Post even occasionally The Journal if I’m absently thinking everyone must know I’m referring to a big time US newspaper.

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I only know about it because I once read about a Congressman (apparently even less hip than me) who asked a tech executive if he was going to "ban finsta."

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I'm dated too, because I had no idea what that was and had to look it up. And of course, by the time it made it to the NYT, the concept is already lame and no longer cool 😁 From 2021, so the crossword is already 2 years behind the trends, as to be expected when your parents finally hear about the Hot New Thing:

https://mashable.com/article/gen-z-instagram-finstas

"From 2015 to 2018 finstas ruled the teenage digital landscape. Slang for fake Instagram accounts, finstas were the first place teens would post photos they didn't want to share on main. Creating a finsta was a rite of passage, and following someone's shadow feed felt like you were really part of their close inner circle.

...But if you ask any teen, they’ll probably tell you that finsta is already a dated concept.

In a 2021 survey from financial services firm Piper Sandler, only 22 percent of teenagers said Instagram was their favorite social media platform, coming in third after Snapchat and TikTok, respectively. Compare that with the results of Piper Sandler’s 2015 data that show Instagram at the top of the list among teenagers, with 33 percent of participants claiming the photo-sharing app as their favorite."

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It's just an alt account, right? People have had those for years.

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It's the word females came up with for alt account, and thought it was some original thing.

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I figured it was kids in general. Not sure if it's girls more than boys, though I guess they use social media more.

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Perhaps the point is that they're alt accounts which are used similarly.

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I'm looking for a scene in a movie -- or it could be from something on TV, or some YouTube video -- that contains an example of what I would call a good fight: Both parties are quite hurt and angry and say and that, via raised voices, tears, etc. But they refrain from treating each other badly. So they are not sarcastic, belittling, mocking, and they don't accuse each other of huge character flaws -- stupidity, not caring about anyone except oneself, profound sneakiness or dishonesty. They stick with the topic, each talking about why their point of view makes sense, and how hurtful and infuriating they find the other's point of view.

"I hate it when you do X. I've told you that many times and you keep doing it anyway."

"You know why I keep doing X? It comes naturally to me. I've done it all my life. And nobody else complains about it. You didn't either, til last year."

"That's true, but a lot of things changed last year, and that affected how I feel about X, and I think that's a valid reason to object to it now. And I've told you that too, but you still keep doing X."

"Yeah, OK, things did change, but . . ."

That kind of argument. Seen any examples of it?

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I can't find scenes online any more, but season 1 of "Luther" has some very good stuff between John Luther, Zoe Luther, and Mark North.

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This TNG scene kinda fits, though it lacks some of the emotional aspect:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMKtKNZw4Bo

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Well, I guess it depends how well-reasoned everyone has to be in the scene. Maybe the Fisher King? It's pretty one-sided and there's a couple of snipes but that's the topic under discussion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BevEBQsAoPk

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For another suggestion, there's probably something from the TV series "Babylon 5" that counts. I can't recall anything off the top of my head, but maybe someone else can?

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No video examples come to mind right away, but there's a short bit in a D&D stick figure comic that I think might fit:

https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0854.html

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You are right, that's an excellent example of what I'm looking for. Here is some normative information for you: It is extremely rare to put in a request with as many fine-grained details as mine and get a response that meets all the little criteria. I've probably put up on ACX a dozen requests this detailed and picky, and I usually do not get a single answer that meets all the criteria. On this thread somebody posted a question and only had one criterion: They wanted research data, and did not want anecdotal data, which they'd already gotten a lot of from acquaintances. Out of about 5 responses they got, one was anecdotal data accompanied by pressure to act in line with the poster's view, based on anecdotal data.

So, MM, I'd say that even in the ACX population you are 90-something percentile in accurate responsiveness to detailed requests. You've done it before, too. It's a really good quality to have -- some combo of regular smarts and emotional intelligence.

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Yeah I stepped into it, didn’t I? FWIW I apologized to the original poster.

Lesson in reading comprehension for me: I re-read the post, and yes, clear request not to use personal anecdotes, and somehow I assigned too low a weight to it, overridden by “I know this situation and can help” impulse.

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I'm sorry I spoke kind of harshly to you -- though I don't think I was *awful.*. But I had a particularly strong reaction to your post because if I were in OP's situation I think I too would be sick to death of people pushing me to be in a support group because on helped them or their son-in-law or whoever.

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Thank you and no worries. You were right in the end, the OP really didn't like my reply.

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Here I was, worried that there wasn't enough back-and-forth...

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Hmm. Well, I do wish there was more back and forth on our private correspondence. But it seems to me that about the most important topics we are both so distressed that we need a near-perfect response, without which we will feel even worse than we already do about the stuff we’re disclosing. And while I feel sure I will respond with intelligent empathy, I’m not sure that I can produce a perfect response. Plus of course each of us is the same gender as the person who did the awful stuff. So mostly I feel like, ah well, either this will work or it won’t, & I can’t influence the outcome except by fakery, which I’m not about to engage in.

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:-) I shall work on the first, tomorrow. I'm generally tolerant of imperfection, so don't worry too much about that, or the gender thing. I think a big part is that my standards for myself are too high relative to my new lower level of capability. And my memory issues mean that one day in which I resolve to do it tomorrow, is much like any other day in which I resolve to do it tomorrow. :-/

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My therapist recommended that I stop trying to "create intimacy" on dates and instead "cultivate intimacy." This means no hugging, telling jokes, etc. How do I affirmatively do this?

For context, I am a white American man in the US, and Chinese women are WAY more interested in me than anyone else is. (This only applies to women born in China. Chinese-American women ignore me completely.) What does a successful date look like in China?

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I have no actionable advice. It sounds to me that "cultivating" would mean letting the woman lead and leaning into topics she brings up, as opposed to "creating" where you're telling a dirty joke* or going in for a hug and forcing an accept/reject response from her.

*(I assume by "jokes" you meant dirty jokes. Unless your therapist thinks you're so incredibly unfunny that it scares people.)

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The joke in question was a non-sexual play on words that my date didn't get (English not being her first language).

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Oh. Yeah that'll do it too. I remember a training video or somesuch for interpreters, where the host makes a pun and the interpreter says "their joke is untranslatable, please laugh."

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Definitely ask the therapist what they mean.

I can see being a little cautious about pushing hugs, but not telling jokes?

Are there any Chinese women you can talk with about dating behavior?

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I'm hardly a huge success story (though I did have two girlfriends for a while), but I've heard lifting weights helps some people. You no longer fit one of the key parts of the nerd stereotype, and unlike a lot of the other redpill advice (exposing your balls to UV light, say) it's healthy taken in isolation.

I also wonder if you might try to find another therapist (though I guess it can be hard these days). If they can't explain the difference between 'creating' and 'cultivating' intimacy (which are two different words with the overlapping meaning of 'make something appear' with different connotations that could definitely be used in a non-intuitive way by mental health people), well, they're not doing their job.

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You might try checking out the "Chinese Doom Scroll" substack, and looking through the archives for some accounts of dating. They appear to do things very differently over there. The substack is basically a daily translation of some of the top stories, plus occasional commentary. The glimpses of the dating and marriage scene over there appear grim to me.

https://weibo.substack.com/

To toss off a completely unfounded speculation, maybe you somehow both match the things they expect and want, and simultaneously fail to match the things they expect but don't want. (Like the book "The Princess Bride": maybe you're the "Good Parts Version".)

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I have read this. Complaining about one's in-laws appears to be the national pastime.

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I know one Chinese man who came to the US a few years ago and is dating. His ideas about dating and marriage are quite different from US ones, at least US ones among educated professionals, which is what he and the women he dates are. He believes that his being in a profession that will probably make him quite rich gives him a huge advantage. (I told him it probably was a modest advantage. Female doctors and lawyers make pretty good money on their own, and people who got graduate degrees in things like philosophy and medieval history probably just don't care much about money.). He believes that women older than 28 or so have much lower standards in men because their shelf life is expiring. (I told him that it's very common among professionals to be unmarried at 28, because most don't finish their training til then, and 28 does not have an "old maid" tint to it in people's minds.) And he is kind of bewildered by the stuff I say about chemistry and falling in love and looking for a partner who is also a best friend. All this stuff about the quality of the connection seems weird to him. His picture of mate-finding is much more transactional than that. I have no idea whether his ideas are typical of the attitudes of other Chinese people, though.

I don't really understand the difference between "creating intimacy" and "cultivating it," and how hugs and jokes come into it. Do you have a clear picture of what your therapist had in mind?

Also don't know what to make of Chinese women, but no other women, finding you attractive. Never heard that from anyone before. Are you unusual in some way -- looks, circumstances, interests?

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Is your Chinese acquaintance having success dating?

I believe he wants me to postpone all flirting-type behaviors until I have internalized her body language, etc. So I have "don'ts" but no "dos."

I am a short ugly weirdo! My therapist believes that I fit in so poorly with mainstream American culture that I'm only attractive to women who don't care about that culture. (Indian women are a distant second.)

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Oh, and I have been getting into salsa dancing. Last night, I saw this older fat balding guy that looked like a creepy pedo, but that danced quite well, dancing with women wildly out of his league, young women too.

I was so impressed I walked up to him and asked him if this works, and he told me that yeah, it works for meeting women, but progressing further depends on you, so he apparently does pull, against all odds.

I insist, do not underestimate what confidence can do for you, and maybe get into salsa dancing or something similar.

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I just wanted to share that I knew a guy who was short, fat, and effeminate, a gamer too, and he ultimately ended up marrying a girl quite out of his league in terms of looks. He had the gift of the gab though, and he hit on lots of girls, to the point people at the office snickered at him behind his back about it.

Don't underestimate what confidence can do for you. You shouldn't believe mainland Chinese women are your only prospects.

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I think I probably would have fallen in love with Wally Shawn if he and I were somehow thrown together a lot because we were on the same boat or working on the same project or something. https://i.imgur.com/XQZdOXm.png

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Neat! I wonder if you could describe what you like about Wally Shawn? I did love My Dinner With Andre.

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Woulda fallen for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, too.

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Yes, I mostly remember him from Dinner with Andre too, and don't know much about what he's really like. But I imagine him as being smart, funny, and I-yam-what-I-yam.

And if he was in fact like that, his looks would not have been an obstacle. In fact, I would have started liking his looks, because he looked like Wally and I really liked Wally. And in fact different parts of him would have started looking like various things I liked -- like his turned up nose would look like the locus of his puckishness. That is how it has always worked for me for people that I like. I have an acquaintance, M, whom I like a lot -- not romantically -- who had average looks, and a big nose. He recently got surgery to reduce the size of his nose, and while I can see that from the point of view of conventional good looks he has improved his appearance, I felt disturbed by the change, til I got used to it, because it made him look less like M.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

Shortness is definitely a disadvantage, though if you are taller than 5'7 or so you will be taller than most women, and for many women the important thing is that the man be taller than them. So being short-ish, like 5'7, knocks out at most 1/3 or 1/2 of the women. (And for a woman to hold out for someone who is tall seems really vacuous to me. Good grief, that's just not important! You're probably better off without women who demand 6 feet of height at least.). Are you genuinely *ugly,* (as opposed to not being handsome?) Has someone else confirmed that your appearance truly is a lot worse than average? If your face truly is ugly according to current tastes, it really might be worth considering cosmetic procedures, especially for things that are pretty easily correctable, like acne scars or a misshapen nose. If your body is way worse than average, then you should probably lose weight or gain weight and/or go to the gym and get in better shape.

So the suggestions above about improving your appearance apply most strongly if you are searching for dates on dating apps. I think dating apps are just inhumane and awful. Seems much better to find something you like doing that puts you in a setting where there are lots of other people who share a common interest, and hunting there for someone to ask out. And if you are weird, join up with some group where lots of people are weird the way you are. (ACX meetups?)

Even if Chinese women aren't disturbed by the way you are "weird," that doesn't guarantee they are going to be able to appreciate and savor your weirdness. You need to find someone who gets you.

In response to your question about how my Chinese acquaintance is doing with dating: He is having a bad time of it. Mostly does not much like the women he meets, and after a while gets tired of emitting the behaviors he thinks they wants. Fell really hard for somebody who, I could tell, was desplaying quite moderate interest. When she ended it, he was terribly distressed.

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I have obvious facial asymmetry that is not correctable without very invasive surgery. I am only moderately overweight, which is probably the only part of the situation that I can do anything about.

I generally have much better things to do than hang out in groups that are >80% male, with the few women disproportionately uninterested in men. (This describes literally everything I enjoy.)

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

>I generally have much better things to do than hang out in groups that are >80% male, with the few women disproportionately uninterested in men.

Yeah, I get that, it's true of a lot of guys that the things they are most interested in do not interest women. But consider this: Are you sure you want to be in a relationship with a woman, then? Because what exactly are you going to do together and talk about? Even excellent and frequent sex is only going to fill up at hr/day on average, and not many modern women are going to be on board with cooking meals and darning your socks while you're gaming or attending sports events with other males during your hours of free time.

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Sep 30, 2023·edited Sep 30, 2023

You know, for a long time I figured exactly that. Women don't like nerd stuff, a few do but they are going to be snapped up by the few most skillful nerd men, so romance is pointless (for me anyway, normal guys obviously do it and like it).

That and I had late-90s feminism making me guilty about wanting to have sex and convinced any flubbed approach would lead to a harassment lawsuit. Which is probably true now, but not back then.

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That was half of what ended my last relationship: we talked about nothing but work because the only thing we had in common was being employed. (The other half was her asexuality.)

I suppose I have a fantasy of meeting a woman who shares my level of curiosity and indulging in whatever directions it takes us. However, this is firmly in the category of "dream" rather than "goal."

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Huh, well Trump has one less trial to prepare for: a New York state judge just issued a summary judgement that Trump, his three adult children, his business and a couple other officers of that business are all liable for obvious business fraud committed repeatedly for a decade. The ruling says basically that the repeated fraud is so obvious from the documented facts that holding a trial would be a waste of a jury's time.

In the US adversarial legal system, motions for summary judgement are routinely filed by both sides despite being very rarely granted. I just asked two veteran trial attorneys of my acquaintance who each said they have never, during their successful legal careers, had a motion for summary judgement be granted. One guy said his law partner did once.

I assume Trump et al will appeal this ruling. In the meantime though the case moves on to a penalty phase.

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Selection bias really plays a role here. Summary judgment motions aren't often granted because if you knew to a certainty that you'd lose on summary judgment, you'd either settle or dismiss it yourself.

The threat of summary judgment weeds out a lot of cases that otherwise would be proper for summary judgment.

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Sure, so you need one side to be making non-rational tactical choices. By for instance having a client who refuses to accept his lawyers' analysis that his defense is untenable.

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In fairness to Trump, his options are most likely constrained in ways not typical of other litigants. Because he's a really high-profile figure, any settlement agreement would be scrutinized endlessly. Because he's a high-profile political figure, a generous settlement deal would be career suicide for any AG that offered it.

For what it's worth, Trump's side did offer to settle with the AG in the civil fraud trial. The AG rejected the settlement offer.

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Isn't it great how one person can just decide that? It's even better that judges are made out of better stuff than commoners and can be relied on to look at only the facts and not their own prejudices.

It's also great when judges know more about valuation than banks do! 'Cause obviously those poor simpleton banks were terribly hoodwinked by that sly Trump and totally relied on him for the terms of those loans! And that awful Trump, trying to cover up his fraud by paying back everything that was lent to him, with interest! That'll teach him (and future generations!) to abuse the comply-with-the-terms-of-the-agreement loophole!

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I like the idea of 'fraud is impossible because the person being defrauded would have known more about the situation than a judge/jury, so they must have been correct in their initial assessment and the judge/jury must be wrong'.

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I like the reciprocal idea that "the party who made a profit in the transaction was defrauded."

Especially when said defrauded party is not a party to the lawsuit.

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It does seem to make summary judgment a bit of a stretch. More than that, I understand the judge said that Mar-a-lago was worth between $18-27 million, despite the fact that much smaller properties (less than an acre, single house, compared to 20 acres and multiple buildings) next door were worth more than that. The judge may be right, but that really seems like the kind of thing you should, you know, have to show in court.

Summary judgment is about things that, even if all the facts were exactly as stipulated by the person making the claim, would still not permit any answer but one.

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Sep 28, 2023·edited Sep 28, 2023

The defrauded party is the people of the State of New York, per state Executive Law 63|12. Every state has a similar law on the books. The basic idea is that someone who engages in "repeated fraudulent or illegal acts" or "persistent fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business" is degrading the fundamental trust in business practices upon which a vibrant state economy depends. The keywords are "repeated" and "persistent", the law is aimed at fraudulent action being used as a business strategy. The attorney general is specified in the law as the official who is supposed to bring such persistent patterns of fraudulent practice to the attention of the state courts.

The specifics laid out in the court's ruling are pretty wild. For instance Trump repeatedly listed his personal condo at three times its actual square footage (and hence market value) despite multiple on-the-record notifications of its actual size -- one of those having been published in the pages of Forbes magazine.

Despite having received valuations of $30M or less from five different professional fair-market appraisers (!), he listed a parcel as being worth at least $261M in four different annual sets of Trump Org sworn financial statements. Then yet another outside appraisal came in at $56M but Trump stuck with, and even tried to defend in court, a valuation of $291M. [The ruling reads as if this is the one that really pushed this judge over into summary-judgement territory.]

Regarding the 40 Wall Street building, Trump Org seems to have for years taken outside appraisers' numbers and simply doubled them in the company financial statements, loan applications, etc.

Regarding Mar A Lago, it isn't the judge who valued it at between $18-27M but rather the local county assessor in Florida, who placed its value in that range 12 years in a row. The reason for that valuation is that the property is not legally subdividable or developable: Trump in 2002 signed an irrevocable deed in which he surrendered all rights to develop or use any part of the parcel for any purposes other than the existing social club. He did that in order to get a large tax deduction for the resulting historic-preservation easement. That easement is permanent, it "goes with the land", that's why he had to sign and record a fresh deed in order to receive the tax benefit.

Hence most of the Mar A Lago property's market value was legally extinguished, and comparisons to neighboring properties on which new houses or other structures have been built are specious. The county assessor correctly based its valuations, and Trump's annual property tax bills, on comparable properties having the same sort of deed restrictions on them. But Trump kept basing his sworn financial statements on the idea that the Mar A Lago parcel could be sold at any time for something like half a billion.

There's more, but those are the headline properties. The stuff about his golf courses seems closer to just eye-rolling hyperbole than actual fraud and probably wouldn't have led to this case or this ruling on their own. They are more icing on the cake in the context of the above. (Well maybe excepting the valuation of refundable club membership deposits, which Trump has been in the habit deciding are not actually a liability because reasons. That just flat-out violates Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.)

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"The defrauded party is the people of the State of New York, per state Executive Law 63|12. Every state has a similar law on the books. The basic idea is that someone who engages in "repeated fraudulent or illegal acts" or "persistent fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business" is degrading the fundamental trust in business practices upon which a vibrant state economy depends. "

So... "The People of the State of New York" (which includes literally zero actual humans, being an abstract entity) is being defrauded. The harm is not obtaining the maximum possible profit in any given transaction I guess? Oh no, because a "vibrant economy" (yet another abstract entity for which 'vibrant' cannot possible apply) requires *trust* (and only some kinds of people can degrade this trust, absolutely NOT government employees, they can't degrade trust nosireebob.) But this purported harm to "The Trust" of "The People" can totally be quantified and a concrete punishment righteously laid out against the human malefactor.

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I don't think Trump was perfectly fine in what he was doing, but I do have a problem with this being decided in summary judgment. As I mentioned before, that's when there's no question of facts and cannot be decided otherwise as a matter of law. The valuation of properties is not so clear cut. Trump may have lost this one in court no matter what, but summary judgment is not the right approach and he'll likely win that on appeal.

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Could be, I dunno.

If he does though I don't think it will be on the basis of valuations of properties being inherently subjective. They obviously are, but both the law and GAAP are clear that a reasonableness standard has to be applied. In some spots state or federal laws place explicit ranges on that (just as an example, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization cannot rely on a valuation that is more than 20 percent different from that of an independent outside appraiser).

That type of specifics varies from state to state and I am not knowledgeable about New York State law. But across the board a sworn financial statement that is prepared for lenders and investors to rely upon has to be within some reasonable bound on things like the values of assets. The judge is certain that in this case that reasonable bound was being exceeded and not by a little bit, and there is no question that it was a habit (year after year for decades). Judges hate being reversed on appeal and it seems doubtful that this judge would have risked it on such a fundamental point to the case.

Also an attorney has pointed out to me that the defense lawyers' behavior before this judge created additional support for summary judgement. The Trump attorneys in hearings before the judge kept bringing back up arguments which the judge had already ruled out as legally irrelevant. Besides being irritating to that judge, doing that raised the prospect that those lawyers would do the same in open courtroom with a jury present. Which adds fuel to the idea that (a) the defense had no real defense to offer and (b) the defense would by its actions poison a jury pool just trying to get a mistrial. basically stall stall stall and try to run out the state's patience and clock. The appeals court is going to look _very_ negatively upon that.

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If only someone had gotten around to this back before 2015...

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founding

What difference did you imagine that would have made?

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Mostly, it would have been the right thing to do. If there are laws, prosecute those who break them, or repeal them. Fiat justitia ruat caelum. It is shameful that he got away with his shit when he was friends with the powerful. That they turn on him when he's out of favor is no credit to them.

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" If there are laws, prosecute those who break them, or repeal them. "

But then you wouldn't be able to use prosecutorial discretion to advance your or your allies' interests.

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While I agree about law should apply to everyone and not "too well-connected to prosecute", is Ms. James now going to go after the other 7 million New Yorkers who fibbed on their tax returns, maximised their answers on "how much you earnin'?" for mortgage applications and loans, and vastly inflated their value when looking for love on dating apps?

Ex-mayor Bloomberg, for instance: he is totally squeaky-clean and never claimed a penny more in worth than he actually possessed, and certainly never ever had accountants doing the fandango around tax laws and minimising liability? I'm positive this is all so and Ms. James wasn't engaged in partisanship!

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A lot of this is about fraud-- substantially over-valuing one's properties. It's not a crime most New Yorkers are in a position to commit.

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Not at those levels, sure. But I fill in wage details for mortgage applications for staff at my place of work, and they ask "put down that I'm working so many hours a week" or that I put in the higher level they got paid (they work standard hours but sometimes work more in a week).

That's technically fraud.

I'm sure Donald Trump isn't the only business mogul in NY doing it, and I'm sure a lot of people at all income levels fudge their tax and their loan applications. So if Ms. James is going after this crime because it's A CRIME and not because of partisan politics, she'll be hauling a heck of a lot of people into court, and they won't all be millionaires.

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I think it would have taken some of the glamour off him. Maybe it would have kept him doing reality TV, instead of running for President. Or maybe the media wouldn't have built him up as much during the primaries. Or maybe the left would have had more success attacking him for his lying and bullshit, instead of making up the Russia stuff.

In the big picture, I don't know. It's possible that Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush or whoever would have produced worse outcomes, by my measures, in the areas I care about. My thinking in this area is distorted.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

" Or maybe the left would have had more success attacking him for his lying and bullshit, instead of making up the Russia stuff."

Er, they *did* try the "not a real billionaire" stuff - see Hillary (oh God) and her ideas of what is funny with her quip about liking real billionaires. Are you really forgetting all the tax returns demands to prove he wasn't as rich as he claimed? None of it worked, because for Trump supporters, he's rich even if not as hugely rich as the others. When you've got 5 billion moneybags sneering at Trump for only having 1 billion, or maybe not even a billion at all, that is less effective than the "party of the little guy, the poor, the disempowered, the minorities and the working class" might hope. Because you know that the moneybags are sneering even harder about you, the little poor guys, and at least Trump isn't.

And the more the moneybags and their ilk sneer and seethe, the better. So you're going to stick with Trump, because he drives them crazy. So what if he only has tens of millions? That's a hell of a lot more money than you will ever see in your entire life. That's rich enough, as far as you're concerned.

https://www.npr.org/2016/08/03/488568418/hillary-clinton-uses-billionaire-supporters-to-undermine-donald-trump

"On Monday, Clinton sat on an Omaha, Neb., stage behind Buffett, grinning widely as he attacked Trump for not releasing his tax returns. "How many of you would be afraid to have your tax return made public?" Buffett asked the cheering crowd. "You're only afraid if you've got something to be afraid about."

Buffett even offered a kind of deal, saying he'd release his tax returns if Trump did.

For the Clinton campaign, appearances by figures such as Buffett and Cuban can subtly help erode Trump's reputation for wealth and success, Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said.

"The kind of endorsements from Cuban and Warren Buffett and Mike Bloomberg and other like that are ways of saying, 'Donald Trump is not the businessman he says, 'cause if he was, real businessmen would be endorsing him,' " Sheinkopf said.

It's also a way of scaring off potential donors, at a time when Trump appeared to be starting to finally gain some ground in fundraising, though major contributors have been holding back."

That's the same Buffett who talked about paying less tax than his secretary, yes? Yeah, I'm pink-collar/blue-collar/lower middle class white collar worker, I'm sure impressed by rich guy going to tell all about exactly how rich he is and how much, much richer than my guy he is, so I should vote for the candidate of the rich, rich people. We can see how well that worked out in the election.

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/hillary-clinton-billionaires-226538

“Billionaires for Hillary” isn’t a group the Clinton campaign will be trotting out anytime soon to win over die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters, but in recent days, quite a few megarich business moguls have been publicly appearing with the Democratic nominee to sing her praises.

Just in the past week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a surprise appearance with Clinton in Pittsburgh, Michael Bloomberg slammed Donald Trump at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last week and on Monday night, investing guru Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” touted Clinton at a campaign stop in his Nebraska hometown."

So if they had gone after him in 2015, what would have been the difference? City Attorney General who is in the bag for the Democrats goes after potential Republican candidate? Oh my, that will certainly make all the Republican voters reconsider who they might support!

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That's the problem with making a blatantly political attack. Whereas if somebody had been going after him before he ran, it wouldn't have been brushed off so easily. But no one seemed to want to do the work, or have principles. If any of the attacks had done as much research as this silly piece about his hair treatment, things might have turned out differently.

https://www.gawker.com/is-donald-trump-s-hair-a-60-000-weave-a-gawker-invest-1777581357

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Nobody went after him before he ran because (a) they never considered he would go for political office (b) he was hanging out on good terms with Democrats (see the photos endlessly posted online of him at black tie events with Bill'n'Hill all smiling and laughing and having a high old time) (c) when he did announce it, he was treated as a joke candidate - the Clinton campaign allegedly helped boost him because they were so confident that were he the Republican choice, Hillary would win by about 100% instead of having to deal with a genuine contender.

Well, we've seen how well that worked out, haven't we? Trump, precisely because he was an outsider and precisely because all the glitterati were laughing at him, appealed to voters who were "a plague on both your houses". Silly little snobby magazine hit-pieces about how he liked his steak done and ketchup with it, how *low class*? Even if you like your steak rare, if you're "low class" by the PMC standards, you're going to go "Well to hell with you, I'm working class who doesn't qualify for the fancy restaurants you like either, he's my guy and you're not".

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founding

Have you looked at how many people went after Trump for being an obvious fraudster before 2015? Everybody who was paying attention knew the man was a crook. albeit sometimes a profitable one to do business with if you were careful about it. Trump's dishonesty was a standing joke in the mainstream media.

Everyone who was eventually going to go out and *vote* for Donald Trump, either affirmatively disbelieved the mainstream media that was saying Donald Trump was a crook, or simply didn't care. Adding one more New York Times story to the long list of pre-2015 New York Times stories saying "yet another court has determined that Trump done defrauded someone", was not going to change that.

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I think there are very few of us whose thinking in this area is not distorted. I find it impossible to think about without getting furious and despairing, and once I'm feeling that way my priorities become either to shout all my thoughts, or to find someone who disagrees with me and go after them.

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I mean, it's hard to think about this counterfactual without my PTSD acting up. I'm not proud to say this, but I truly enjoyed how the mere presence of Trump made my outgroup suffer. When people, whom I once thought were my friends but later learned were not, moved to Canada in advance of his election, I laughed from schadenfreude, and from their self-inflicted misjudgement of his character.

Would Hillary or Jeb have provided me this joy? I doubt it.

I do not think this is healthy, but I try to be honest about the way I was and am. Maybe one day I will not be like this, as I once was not.

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I didn't vote for him (I thought he was dangerously incompetent and narcsissistic), but I didn't find him as aggravating as most of the progressives around me do, and I did enjoy watching them seethe.

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Jeb would have been relentlessly hammered as Chimpy McHitler 2 and another one of the warmongering Bush dynasty who only made it on nepotism rather than merit. So I don't think it made much difference which Republican won the White House, the fury over depriving Hillary of Her Turn Now would have been the same.

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I know a more-or-less conservative who talked about wanting to make liberals' heads explode. This strikes me as a very corrupting impulse.

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Jeb would still be President now I guess.

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He might not have coasted to the nomination and if he did still do that he might not have taken the electoral college by small margins in a few states.

And then I might not have spent four years shouting Dunning Kruger at my TV.

I’m turning it into a sort of joke with the last remark but it took a good deal of gallows humor to ride out the storm.

I know the guy won fair and square but imo he doesn’t belong in a position as important as the presidency.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

Thank God we're back to a state of social harmony and economic stability, right? 2022 was so much better than 2018!

(Said No One)

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From my perspective, honestly, yeah? Not 2022, but 2023 is pretty back-to-normal in terms of both economic and social factors (outside of what the news media would like to talk about, anyway- that has been notably degrading since 2018). Far fewer people are losing their jobs from cancellation, ZIRP isn't leading to private equity rugpulling the hell out of small businesses to the same extent, and there have been a spate of Supreme Court decisions that have been mostly good (with a few notable exceptions). Maybe not "so much" better, but it certainly feels like 2020-2021 was the last gasp for a lot of extremely unfortunate social phenomena. (Not particularly catalyzed by the President or anything, honestly- I think the most recent two presidents are both products of the emergent social consensus at the time, not reagents for it.)

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"there have been a spate of Supreme Court decisions that have been mostly good (with a few notable exceptions)."

Gasp! You mean the same Supreme Court that Trump packed with conservative Catholic theocrats, a theme upon which many grave periodicals and sober media outlets issued warning articles?

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-sins-of-the-high-courts-supreme-catholics

"The overturn of Roe v. Wade is part of ultra-conservatives’ long history of rejecting Galileo, Darwin, and Americanism."

https://verdict.justia.com/2023/05/03/how-did-six-conservative-catholics-become-supreme-court-justices-together

"Have you ever wondered how six conservative Catholic Supreme Court Justices were able to be on the Supreme Court at the same time? There is an additional liberal Catholic, Justice Sotomayor, but all conservatives on the Court now were raised Catholic. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that all of the conservatives are Catholic, and that no evangelical is among them, given the abortion litmus test among Republicans? Compare the current Court’s conservative makeup with the face of today’s anti-abortion movement, which is mostly evangelical in the headlines, though the Catholic Church hierarchy has always lobbied to make abortion illegal. Period. No exceptions for rape, incest, or any other reason. Six Catholics overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Of course, Supreme Court appointments are mired in politics, but in a country with extraordinary religious diversity, this configuration demands explanation."

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-justices-faith-and-their-religion-clause-decisions

"Going back to that television viewer, an unstated and accurate aspect of the message was the lack of religious diversity on the Roberts Court. With five, maybe six, Catholic conservative justices and one Catholic liberal justice (Sonia Sotomayor), seven out of nine justices are of the same religion. Justice Elena Kagan is Jewish and new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has said she is a nondenominational Protestant.

Just as the court is beginning to look more like America with four female justices and two Black justices, religious diversity reflecting the nation’s multi-religions is another factor in inspiring public confidence in the court’s rulings and the institution’s legitimacy."

https://www.theglobalist.com/the-u-s-supreme-court-now-a-roman-catholic-institution/

"Conservative Supreme Court Justices are making unaccountable and undemocratic decisions, much like the Vatican Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith."

https://apnews.com/article/abortion-supreme-court-catholic-ee063f7803eb354b4784289ce67037b4

"But the justices in the Dobbs majority aren’t simply cradle Catholics. Several have ties to intellectual and social currents within Catholicism that, for all their differences, share a doctrinal conservatism and strong opposition to abortion."

Too many Papists means the nation is now being ruled from the Vatican! Alas that the warnings of long ago went unheeded! /s

https://chrc-phila.org/thomas-nast-anti-catholic-cartoons/

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Mea culpa, 2018 didn't have complete zero interest rates, just very low ones (lower than any year from 1970 to 2009). Not enough to really make bond investments a good choice.

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To be fair, half the horsemen of the apocalypse showed up in between.

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Well at least you didn’t CapsLock it.

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> deflects as a form of cope

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You read my mind.

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That turns out to be because they kept bringing back up arguments that he had already ruled on. Few things are as likely to irritate a trial judge.

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Does anybody have good examples of either, or both, of the following? Of the two, I'm more interested in the second:

1. An idea or tool that should rightfully be popular and widespread, but it has been rejected by a segment of the population due to tribal association? (ie the thing is obviously good from an objective perspective, but it has failed to catch on in the wider population because it became associated with the lower/upper class, the political left/right, femeninity/masculinity, etc)

2. An idea or tool that has escaped the aforementioned trap (ie something that *has* caught on in the wider population, without its popularity being bogged down by tribal affiliation).

Boring, mundane examples are perfectly good!

Also on that note, is there a single word or short phrase to describe the phenomenon of "being robbed of support because one tribe rejects it due to association with competing tribes"?

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Driving stick VS automatic. The latter is obviously superior for everyday driving. Now explain that to Italians.

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I mean, consequentialism.

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I would say phonics in education. It is objectively the best way to teach children to read, but a proportion of educators are opposed to it because it is too...prescriptive? conservative? boring to teach? I'm honestly not sure what the root of the disagreement is.

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>1. An idea or tool that should rightfully be popular and widespread, but it has been rejected by a segment of the population due to tribal association?

To some degree, in western societies, masking when you're sick. At the beginning of the *2020 thing* i was somewhat enthousiast at the thought that we'd start wearing mask when we're sick, which seems like a sensible behaviour, but the insane mania around mandatory masking really poisoned that well by placing a sort of social stigma around the dude who still mask in 2023.

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Masks or lack thereof is a definite missed opportunity.

Just a bit of mindfulness about not coughing germs on your coworker would have been a nice evolutionary step.

I used to send anyone home from my team if they dared come in with a red sniffling nose.

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founding

I mostly just stay home when I'm sick, which is much easier in the post-COVID era of remote work. But I agree it would have been nice if we could have found a sane, happy medium on masking, rather than making masks somewhere between a tribal marker and a religious icon.

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Yeah, I keep wanting to join my local GOP but their general attitude around masking kinda pisses me off (and I'm afraid of getting COVID).

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I thought the GOP didn't believe in covid... 🙄

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Sep 30, 2023·edited Sep 30, 2023

Yeah, that's the problem.

Maybe it just proves I'm gray and not red tribe.

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Seated urination. Men overwhelmingly reject this, despite its obvious advantages (less urine on clothes, on floor, etc) due to its association with femininity. There are cases where it's debatable (public restrooms, esp. with urinals), but at the very least, sitting in one's own home is strictly superior.

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"(less urine on clothes, on floor, etc)"

This is how you signal you're so high-status that you've never had to clean a womens restroom.

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

I take it you've never had haemorrhoids

- Signed a former sitter

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Do you serve fries with them?

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founding

also bidets

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Have you ever peed in the men’s room at a sports stadium? It’s all long stainless steel toughs. In that case rapid through put is important. I’m in and out and my wife has advanced to the halfway point of the women’s queue.

But yeah, I take your point in spite of my joke about the water in the bowl being too cold below.

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Ah the sweet aroma of the pee running along the trough... smells like...

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Oh, this is my life hack. And I never leave the seat up!

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My penis hits the toilet wall, it's strictly inferior to standing.

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Mine dangles right into the water and down the drain.

But of course that happens when I stand up too.

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I'm confused how this could be the case, physically. Do you suffer from priapism?

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I believe there's a fair amount of variation in how much men's penes shrink when flaccid: "grow-ers" vs. "show-ers"?

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They make the seats too small, so you get the choice of scooting back and pooping on the seat rim or scooting forward and rubbing your dick against the inside of the toilet. And that's without arousal, which also causes the problem of "now I'm sitting down and aiming completely out of the toilet at the air in front of me." You can mitigate that when you're standing.

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Huh, yeah I can imagine that being a problem.

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That water is always pretty cold too.

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For 1, I vote dresses and skirts, especially in hot environments. Very associated with femininity post horseback riding, and it still hasn't gone back to being gender neutral, despite how few men are riding horses.

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Maybe the solution is to bring back horseback riding. The Mongols have got you covered.

https://correctmongolia.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/blue-deel.jpg

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Speaking of this, I don't understand why women's clothing either doesn't have pockets, or has tiny useless decorative pockets.

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Purses!

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Women's dresses have start having way more pockets in them lately, I'm happy to report!

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Men don't get to wear dresses, and women don't get to have pockets. I say we combine them and make unisex cargo dresses.

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Isn't that Utilikilts? I suppose they're more of a "skirt" than a "dress", though.

https://utilikilts.com/

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For a counterpoint, check out these awesome pants:

https://redantspants.com/

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Because the clothing is "decorative", rather than "practical"? That is, instead of enhancing thing-based physical capabilities, it enhances aesthetic-based interpersonal capabilities.

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1) Automatic cars in the UK. I'm an immigrant here, I'm mostly fond of the country, but the reluctance to adopt an almost strictly superior technology for 99% of users is completely baffling. It's associated with 'being a bad driver', so much so that if you get your license with an automatic car it's a lesser license (you can't drive non-automatics, which is a material restriction re: rentals etc). So I suffered through learning to drive with a manual car in London, despite having no intention to ever drive a manual again.

2) ...the entirety of modernity? Say, dishwashers and washing machines (which I continue to hold to be two of the high points of civilisation).

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

I agree that automatic transmissions are in general superior to manual, but the "you must pass a driving test using stick in order to be licensed to drive stick" restriction seems perfectly reasonable to me. Driving stick is difficult if you only know how to drive automatic, and incompetent stick drivers are dangerous (stalling at intersections/in stop-and-go traffic, rolling backwards on hills). The reverse is not true; anyone who can drive stick can also drive automatic.

The state thus has a perfectly reasonable interest in making sure that only people who can actually drive stick are allowed to do so. I think this fully explains the licensing asymmetry, without any appeal to the UK's irrational "manual is better" attitude.

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Have a manual transmission in the US is becoming something like anti theft technology. Fewer and fewer US drivers have ever used a stick.

Sorry you find it annoying but I grew up with stick shift vehicles and prefer them to automatics. I like the feeling of connection to the machinery.

I taught my wife how to drive a standard and she really took to it. The only glitch was her first time at a stoplight facing uphill on a steep San Francisco hill. The driver behind her was right on our rear bumper so she was afraid of rolling back a bit at the light change.

She set the parking brake and we switched seats so I would drive away from the light. It was just that one time though and now she can handle that situation without a problem.

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I was hoping you were going to say you switched seats and then you rolled back into the car behind 😉

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Your comment is perfectly congruent with your username!

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My aunt is a long-distance driver, and went from a stick shift to a Prius, and complains that "it's not really 'driving', it's a golf cart".

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I found driving a Tesla remarkably similar to a golf cart, though I attributed that to the floor design and seat positioning.

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1) nuclear power -- rejected because it was associated with war-hawks, capitalism and atheism (many of the early hippies believed in God: e.g.: The Farm commune, which influenced The Green movement profoundly)

2) almost everything that is popular

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Solar cells. Scott knew it ten years ago https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/29/links-for-july/ --- They would become so dirt cheap that investion in a nuclear power plant makes no sense at all. And now the time has come: https://www.pv-magazine.de/2023/09/22/modulpreiscrash-und-kein-ende-in-sicht/

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I'm talking about our failure to invest in nuclear over the past 50 years because of the so-called Green Movement. Imagine how many coal plants we could have gotten rid of back then but for goddamn dirty hippies.

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Yeah, we need to invest in nuclear. (fission!)

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When Canadians rejected Target and booted the company out mostly due to Anti-American sentiment and pro-Canadian rhetoric. When it would have actually been great to have Target and when so called Canadian classics like Tim Hortons are actually owned by Americans... all about perception.

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Canadians, I believe, (as I speak for all of them) would have loved to welcome Target into our retail world-scape. But Target was determined to punch themselves in the nuts at every opportunity.

It's a Harvard business case study !

https://hbr.org/2015/01/why-targets-canadian-expansion-failed

It spawned numerous long-form articles, of which this one is the best!

https://canadianbusiness.com/ideas/the-last-days-of-target-canada/

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Nice! Thanks for the links. I don’t know about the rest of Canada either but I was living in Toronto at the time and there was a lot of anti-American sentiment. Trump was campaigning and all over the news and I sensed people really rejected Target because of this. That was the impression I got. Which I was bummed about cause one opened near where I was living and then closed and there was no comparable store.

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Joke for 1) Bacon in the Middle East.

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they do lamb bacon and turkey salami at the local supermarket.

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On your point (2), several entire scientific fields had to pass through that crucible during the 19th century because each of them was in the process of debunking the Christian Bible as literal account of the world's beginnings. Devotion to that story, that the Earth and all its living things dated from a specific day 6,000 years ago, was thoroughly mainstream across Europe and North America. Paleontologists, geologists, and evolutionary biologists all had to deal with extensive fallout based on that reaction to what they were learning and documenting. For those objecting it felt very much [though they of course used contemporary wordings to express this] as if a core piece of their shared identity was being torn away.

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Sep 26, 2023·edited Sep 26, 2023

#1. It's hard to come up with examples where the thing is "obviously good", since nearly everything is debatable.

One example of #1 could be spelling reform. For educated people (people who have successfully learnt to write), mastering irregular spellings becomes a status symbol and not mastering them is associated with ignorant people. (Of course, the idea of spelling reform is not associated with uneducated people.)

(Other similar examples could be found throughout the world.)

Arguably the non adoption of the metric system in America/Britain.

Vaccination? -- Probably there are people who reject vaccination because they want to belong to the "anti vax" "tribe". But that maybe wouldn't be their conscious reason for rejecting vaccination. (There are probably also historical examples of this.)

Sobriety has been rejected by certain groups of men because it is associated with women and religion.

Also, some young people engage in silly or risky behavior because they want to reject older people, or the "squares".

Esperanto would be an obviously brilliant idea if more people had adopted it. Did people not adopt it because it was associated with weirdos?

2. As far as #2 is concerned, there must be so many examples of this, that it is hard to come up with "good" examples. I mean, so many ideas and tools have been transmitted from one culture to another.

The use of the metric system in so many places could be an example.

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Sep 30, 2023·edited Sep 30, 2023

I'll adopt meters and kilograms if the metric people agree to switch to the obviously superior Fahrenheit system. It's not like anyone multiplies temperatures by 1000, and having the 0-100 range encompass more of the normal variation in weather is really useful. But the fact that the metric people insist on using Celsius too suggests that it's just empty cultural posturing based on what they're personally familiar with.

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"having the 0-100 range encompass more of the normal variation in weather is really useful."

How is it useful?

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It allows more precision in reporting temperature with a convenient number of digits.

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That seems backwards. With Celsius, the outside temperature is always a two-digit number, whereas with Fahrenheit, triple-digit temperatures are common.

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Oct 23, 2023·edited Oct 23, 2023

That depends on where you live, but in any case Celsius is so wasteful with the scale that there's huge room for improvement. You could maybe make the Fahrenheit degrees say 10% larger to reduce the frequency of 3 digit temperatures. But Celsius literally doesn't use half the scale *and* it has negative temperatures (which are even more inconvenient than three digit temperatures) more frequently than Fahrenheit.

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If Celsius users needed more precision in reporting the weather, they could use decimals, but they hardly ever do, because 1 degree C is more than enough precision for weather reporting.

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We have cherry picked the metric system in the UK, car performance figures are in miles per litre! 🫣

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Sep 27, 2023·edited Sep 27, 2023

> Did people not adopt it because it was associated with weirdos?

I don't know about that, but it must have been dealt great blows by the Nazis and the USSR. Idk about the Nazi Germany ban, Stalin accused them of being spies (on account on having contacts abroad) and Zionists. I don't know if that qualifies for the original question, but it's not about "weirdness".

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It’s kind of my experience that some people react to learning Esperanto as though it meant joining a new age religious movement, even though to me it just seems like a hobby for people who like languages.

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It's funny, because the single most common argument I see for learning Esperanto is the community. It really does seem like a new age religious movement.

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I actually do attend periodic events for people who learn languages as a hobby. There are always a good number of Esperanto speakers there, never a majority, though there was at least one who had been raised as a native speaker (bilingually with English; his parents presumably weren’t *that* heartless). They don’t seem noticeably more cultish than the rest, though I guess there may be a difference between “people who study languages as a hobby, one of which might be Esperanto”, and “people whose sole language-learning focus is Esperanto”.

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I think that was the final nail in the coffin, but a greater problem is that even if people are open to the idea of the constructed language, you immediately get many trying to invent their own.

Ostensibly, because there is some defect that needs to be fixed, but mostly... I suspect that much larger motivation is that inventing your own language that other people would learn is high-status, while learning a language someone else invented is low-status. Kinda the same emotion that makes people "prove Einstein wrong" endlessly, except that in linguistics the things are way more subjective, and people can't even agree on which criteria the language should try to satisfy.

(Currently, a popular criticism of Esperanto is that it is too Euro-centric, i.e. that a *truly* neutral language would also include some Chinese characters, etc. But just a few decades ago, most people criticized Esperanto for being insufficiently similar to English or French, because it is unworthy of a civilized person to learn a language where the relation between writing and spelling is too straightforward.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegation_for_the_Adoption_of_an_International_Auxiliary_Language - here is a historical example that any person sufficiently high-status to propose the use of Esperanto and be considered seriously, will also be irresistibly tempted to create his own language with many arbitrary "improvements". That's simply how status works. You don't get high status by ignoring the obvious opportunities to assert it.

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There's a kind of perverse value in going the other direction, and making a language with rules and spellings so inconsistent that everyone will mess it up. Camaraderie through suffering.

(Did I have to look up how to spell 'camaraderie'? What do YOU think?)

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If you are not already a fan of https://badconlangingideas.tumblr.com , you’re probably about to become one.

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I think there's an argument to be made that, at this point, spelling reform in English would be a tool of cultural imperialism, and actively harmful to linguistic diversity. It would encode one particular dialect (how about... Scouse), while everyone else would have a writing system that diverged even more from they way they pronounce English. Sure, there'll be a pull toward the Scouse pronunciation just from its use in writing, but that pull is ongoing today, just in a direction we don't normally notice, like water.

Alternatively, we could each adopt individual writing systems the same way some people adopt pronouns, as an expression of identity. That'd be fun!

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Not sure that the written word would have any impact on accents.

A reading of a sentence by a Scouser vs a Scotsman would still sound completely different from how it's written...!

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By all means, do whatever it takes to harm linguistic diversity. Accents, dialects, languages, none of this has any upside.

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Losing the ability to talk with your older generations is an actual loss.

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If you emigrated, teach your children the heritage language and the local language, then do the same with grandchildren, but in all likelihood this won’t be necessary with great-grandchildren. Problem solved.

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That's softening your previous stance quite a bit.

"Do whatever it takes to harm linguistic diversity" has an implication you probably didn't intend-- what really harms linguistic diversity is to take children from their families and beat them if they speak their native language. Did you have specific policies in mind?

"

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But it's a thing that exists, so we have to preserve it! It's a HUMAN RIGHT!!! https://www.ohchr.org/en/stories/2019/10/many-indigenous-languages-are-danger-extinction

That one of 6000 frog species that's going extinct? It must be preserved!!! Doesn't matter how many more humans will have to starve or freeze to death because of it, gotta save the frogs!

Polar bears? They're more important than all of humanity, obviously!

These people are like hoarders. Absolutely vile.

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It's data. We're losing data. (Not to mention the problem of human death.)

Forget all those stupid useless "liberal arts" college degrees like "underwater basket weaving": we need to train half the human population as anthropological researchers NOW, so they can interview the other half, and record this irreplaceable data that we're losing every time someone dies or even forgets anything. I'm serious. There's stuff that's evolved for thousands of years, in conditions that will never be replicated, and it's being replaced by English and McDonalds and woke leftism. (And were I saying this more than 50 years ago, I'd include "Christianity", too.) This is data that future humans, or our AI successors, will curse us for not preserving, and we deserve whatever virtual hell they condemn us to.

But maybe Elon Musk will succeed with Neuralink and be able to record people's brains. That'd also do the job.

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You aren’t disproving the parent poster’s point that it’s just hoarding. How about this viewpoint: notable data has already been written down, and data that hasn’t passed this filter isn’t worth preserving?

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I disagree, but I'll leave it at that.

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I don't think spelling reform in English would be conceivable right now, because there are too many different countries, but the British could have done it, in the 18th-19th centuries.

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> Esperanto would be an obviously brilliant idea if more people had adopted it.

Is that true ? I don't know anything about Esperanto, but is it obviously and objectively better than Quenya or Klingon ?

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Klingon was deliberately devised to be as unlike human languages as possible while still being a language that could in principle be learned and pronounced by human actors. Its grammar is very weird - for instance the object-verb-subject word order, and the polypersonal verb agreement are things that very few natural languages do. Esperanto by contrast was deliberately devised to be easy to learn by as many people as possible (not fully successfully - it still has some unnecessary features that are complications that make it harder, like the accusative case, or its wide range of phonemes that many languages do not have, but it was a decent first attempt).

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Klingon wasn't "unlike human languages", but rather "unlike common human languages". A lot of the grammar is based on Native American languages, which are mostly dead or dying.

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Okay, fair enough; I guess “as unlike your own language as possible, for as large a number of people as possible, while still being useable as a language”. Though even then, if I remember rightly, the phonology really is like nothing on earth, with its asymmetry between unvoiced alveolar ’t’ and voiced retroflex ‘d’ and other features.

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As opposed to Esperanto, whose phonology is just based on the particular dialect of Polish that Zamenhof spoke. I guess they're two ends of a spectrum.

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I'd say yes, considering that there are millions of people who learned Esperanto voluntarily, despite the obvious lack of opportunities to use it.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Klingon is clearly based on popularity of Star Trek (as opposed to the linguistic qualities of the language itself), but despite the size of the sci-fi fandom and their famous willingness to study obscure things, I doubt that even the most hardcore fans are actually *using* Klingon to talk to each other (especially about topics unrelated to Star Trek).

So it seems that when people spend comparable effort to learn Esperanto and Klingon, they succeed at the former but fail at the latter. Which suggests that the former is an order of magnitude easier to learn. (This fact is completely obvious to anyone who actually learned Esperanto, but of course I am writing this argument for the ones who did not.)

You can learn basic Esperanto in one (hardcore) week. One year of normal education at school would give you a level comparable to people who use English as a second language on internet.

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