Forewarning of conditions for TERRORIST VIOLENCE (actually just the wilful use of technology for anti human, anti essentialist and wireheading purposes (unless you subsequently get violent about this)))


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I’m loving the clueing on today’s XWord

Clue: Pictures where people are headscarfed?


They are cracking me up this morning.

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I don't find this particularly convincing compared to the arguments and data from the original debate. In particular I disagree that all of the other evidence supports lab leak. There were quite a few other points in the debate, many of which favored zoonosis. Rootclaims insistence to the contrary feels like bad faith lying

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Apr 6·edited Apr 6

Before the debate, I was maybe 60% lab leak. After the debate, that went down to 30-40%. Their response made me discount lab leak a little more still.

It shouldn’t be so difficult to estimate the probability that a post like this damages your reputation and, by extension, the credibility of your platform and method altogether.

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As long as they still pay the winner I don't mind too much, but for a group supposedly using math they like using words like "impossible" and "obviously" without backing them up..

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Oh wow, now that was quite persuasive

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OC ACXLW Sat April 6 Consciousness, Race, and Lived Experience

Hello Folks!

We are excited to announce the 60th Orange County ACX/LW meetup, happening this Saturday and most Saturdays after that.

Host: Michael Michalchik

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

Location: 1970 Port Laurent Place, 92660

(949) 375-2045

Date: Saturday, April 6 2024

Time 2 pm

Conversation Starters:

Your Book Review: Consciousness And The Brain: A review of Stanislas Dehaene's book "Consciousness and the Brain", which explores the cognitive neuroscience of consciousness. The book discusses the differences between conscious and unconscious processing, the neural signatures of consciousness, and theories of consciousness such as the Global Neuronal Workspace.

Text link: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/your-book-review-consciousness-and

Audio link: https://podcastaddict.com/astral-codex-ten-podcast/episode/139738702

Questions for discussion:

a) According to Dehaene, what are the key differences between conscious and unconscious processing? What can the brain do without consciousness, and what requires consciousness?

b) How does Dehaene's approach to studying consciousness, which relies on subjective reports, differ from traditional methods in cognitive psychology? What are the strengths and limitations of this approach?

c) The book discusses several theories of consciousness, including the Global Neuronal Workspace, Integrated Information Theory, and the Multiple Drafts Model. How do these theories differ in their explanations of consciousness, and what evidence supports or challenges each theory?

How Should We Think About Race And "Lived Experience"?: An article discussing the complex relationship between race, genetics, and lived experience, using the case of Elizabeth Hoover, a professor who identified as Native American but was later found to have no Native American ancestry.

Text link: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/how-should-we-think-about-race-and

Audio link: https://podcastaddict.com/astral-codex-ten-podcast/episode/172964727

Questions for discussion:

a) How does the case of Elizabeth Hoover challenge the idea that race is primarily a matter of "lived experience" rather than genetics? What are the implications of this case for how we define and think about racial identity?

b) The article discusses the potential problems with using genetics as the sole basis for determining racial identity, such as the risk of retroactively invalidating someone's life experiences and cultural contributions. What are the pros and cons of using genetics, lived experience, or a combination of factors to define race?

c) How might concerns about cultural appropriation, affirmative action, and the preservation of minority cultures influence how communities define and police racial boundaries? What are the potential unintended consequences of these practices, as illustrated by the Elizabeth Hoover case?

Walk & Talk: We usually have an hour-long walk and talk after the meeting starts. Two mini-malls with hot takeout food are readily 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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Does anybody here have experience with Acton Academy? One just opened up in our town (they're enrolling for next year) and I'm interested, but also a little wary. My son is in second grade and is not getting challenged at all in his public school (there are no gifted and talented programs). This is the only private option in town and I really want to believe that it might work for him.

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Some questions you can ask the school that might help your due diligence, though I guess most of these will have to be directed to some "reference" Acton Academy instead of the one in your town:

(1) What fraction of students return for the next year?

(2) For students who don't return, what are the reasons?

(3) What are examples of discipline issues/punishment at the school? Are there examples of

students expelled?

(4) What are examples of students who wouldn't be well served by AA?

(5) What is the average number of years a teacher stays at AA?

(6) What processes are there in place for teachers to work with each other (adult-adult interaction is shockingly rare at a lot of schools)?

(7) How are teachers given feedback? How do teachers improve over time?

I'm sorry that I can't help with direct experience of this school franchise, but would also be interested to hear from current students/parents.

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No experience, just saying my impressions.

First, I looked at their website https://www.actonacademy.org/

> I am confident that any randomly-selected ten-year-old from Acton would have succeeded instantly where at least some MIT graduates failed.

...well, this really rubbed me the wrong way. I was like: these people seem to utterly lack any critical thinking, and seem to expect the same from their customers.

But then I watched the Peterson podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEUjcRWfu3c and the founder of the school seems quite smart and nice, and many of the things he said made sense to me, so I guess I am going to forgive them this.

I think the dark secret of many successful schools is that the success of the kids depends a lot on their character traits such as IQ, so the easiest way to have successful students is simply to only admit the successful kids as your students. Admit only the ones with high IQ (and if you can't measure their IQ directly, use some proxy, such as their existing academic success, or the success of their parents), and kick out the troublemakers, and maybe also the ones who are lazy or otherwise demotivating (the fact that Joe is lazy is not a big problem per se; the problem is rather that his classmates see him and it impacts their own expectations of "normal"). This alone will probably make you one of the best schools in the neighborhood.

But you shouldn't say this openly, because (1) it will invite the controversy you don't need, and (2) it will invite people who have high IQ but are otherwise problematic. Instead, you should probably behave as if IQ does not matter. That way, you can also attribute all their success to your unique teaching methods, even if you did literally nothing.

That doesn't mean that the school has no impact on students at all. The school can definitely encourage or discourage the smart kids. If you let the smart kids follow their interests, they will mostly turn out okay even in the classical subjects. (Sadly, this is probably not true for the average kids.) From the emotional perspective, the school environment can range from very friendly to deeply toxic. Friendly is better, because stress hurts kids, but mutual cooperation can help them a lot.

So, the vision of the school is nice, the question is whether the reality matches it. Could you perhaps find the parents of the students, and ask them about their experience? Maybe try contacting them via social networks, or ask whether your local friends know someone.

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Their first class at this school won't be until the Fall, although I suppose I could find a way to talk to parents at other schools (maybe there are Facebook groups?). But yeah, my big unknown is whether the reality matches the vision.

My ideal situation would be one where my son is with other smart kids, but there are really no skill-based programs around here. It's hard to predict what the population of this school would be. The local founder is marketing it largely as a way for parents to exercise more choice in their schooling.

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Sometimes a completely "normal" school happens to be surprisingly good, probably as a combination of "has sane administration" and "people in this neighborhood happen to be unusually smart".

People talk a lot about whether IQ is related to race or sex, but I think that much greater controversy would be if someone published a map comparing average IQ on various *streets*, or parts of town. In practice, it would be difficult to obtain the data, but I suspect the effect is real and strong. (Before anyone says "this would simply reflect the ethnic differences", my point is that it would actually be much *stronger*, because even people from nominally the same ethnic group sort themselves out geographically. Also because in smaller groups, the variation is statistically greater.)

I mention this because my daughter is currently in a "normal" school, and we are quite happy about it. But before we made this choice, we have asked many parents we met on playgrounds in our neighborhood, how happy are they about the schools their kids attend. Then we did some optimization to get our daughter sorted by the system to the right school. (We used some lucky coincidence, but a general solution would be to rent a place near the school, bring the paperwork saying that your child lives there, let the system assign to your child to that school, and then say "well, we moved somewhere else, but we are happy with keeping our child here". The feasibility and complexity of this plan would depend on your local laws.) I am mentioning this so that you can have a Plan B in case you would try the Acton school and something goes wrong.

> The local founder is marketing it largely as a way for parents to exercise more choice in their schooling.

This is mostly a good thing, because it will filter out the parents who don't care. It will select for opinionated people, so likely for intelligence (which is good), but also maybe for various forms of craziness (which is bad, but probably inevitable). Overall, seems like a good thing.

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Don’t have personal experience, but the Jordan Peterson Podcast episode 336 was an interview with the founder and made me wish very badly that there was one in my area. I’d recommend checking that out if you haven’t already.

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What is the current state of research on risks and effectiveness of psylocibin for depression-therapy? Does anyone know of a good discussion of this?

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I took a class in it a couple years ago taught by a very smart and honest researcher, psychologist Alan Davis, and was impressed by the results. Here are links to a few of the studies we read:

Psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralized older long-term AIDS survivor men: An open-label safety and feasibility pilot study


Long-term follow-up of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation

Matthew W. Johnson , PhD, Albert Garcia-Romeu , PhD & Roland R. Griffiths , PhD

Pages 55-60 | Received 21 Jan 2016, Accepted 21 Mar 2016, Published online: 21 Jul 2016

Cite this article https://doi.org/10.3109/00952990.2016.1170135 CrossMark Logo CrossMark


JAMAPsychiatry | OriginalInvestigation

Effects of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy on Major Depressive Disorder A Randomized Clinical Trial

Alan K. Davis, PhD; Frederick S. Barrett, PhD; Darrick G. May, MD; Mary P. Cosimano, MSW; Nathan D. Sepeda, BS; Matthew W. Johnson, PhD; Patrick H. Finan, PhD; Roland R. Griffiths, PhD

Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases

Peter Gasser, MD,* Dominique Holstein, PhD,Þ Yvonne Michel, PhD,þ Rick Doblin, PhD,§ Berra Yazar-Klosinski, PhD,§ Torsten Passie, MD, MA,|| and Rudolf Brenneisen, PhD¶

Predicting Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: A Systematic Review of States and Traits Related to Acute Drug Effects

Jacob S. Aday,* Alan K. Davis, Cayla M. Mitzkovitz, Emily K. Bloesch, and Christopher C. Davoli

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This one is pretty interesting too.

Must Psilocybin Always “Assist Psychotherapy”?

Guy M. Goodwin, F.Med.Sci., Ekaterina Malievskaia, M.D., Gregory A. Fonzo, Ph.D., Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D.


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Didn't have time to read it, just read abstract. But none of the studies I gave links to used psilocybin to assist a long-term, insight-oriented therapy. Most involved about 10 sessions of therapist contact, with 2 psychedelic sessions somewhere in the middle -- generally first was low-dose, then a session to process trip, the next one, which could be higher dose or, if subject preferred, a repeat of the original low dose. And the actual sessions were focused on the patient's problem. Prior to the first trip subjects and therapist discussed patient's problem, including things like what they had tried so far, aiming to develop some sort of formulation of what was wrong or what needed to change. For instance, in the study where a couple psilocybin trips were used to help people quit smoking, a subject might formulate the problem as "I've quit before, but I've come to associate smoking with feeling good -- it relaxes me when I need it, gives me energy when I need it. And the pack in my pocket is like my little friend. So even though I know smoking is bad for me, that just doesn't *feel* true, so I always go back to it." So this person might be told that psilocybin helps people see things from a different point of view, and that look for ways during the trip to try to see smoking -- or quitting smoking -- from a different point of view. And of course therapist tells the person some stuff about what to expect when the effects kick in, and answers any questions. After the trips therapist and subject talk about what it was like, and what if anything can be harvested from the to help with quitting smoking.

So I described the smoking cessation study in detail, but the other studies -- of anxiety, despair, depression, etc -- were all on the same model. Actually I think they would be better termed therapist -assisted trips, rather than trip-assisted therapy.

Also, there's something odd about the article's complaint that lots of therapist are doing psychedelic-assisted therapy. How can that be true? Unless a shrink is doing a research study that gets approved by all the various powers that be, there is no legal way to give patients psychedelics. The shit's illegal in almost all states, and in face is a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and meth.

What there is, though, is a lot of "ketamine-assisted" therapy. The great advantage of ketamine is that doctors can legally prescribe it. The great disadvantage is that it's not really a psychedelic -- at least IMO. I got a psychiatrist I know to let me try it, both a low doses and at high ones, and to me it seemed like the low doses were sort of like mild marijuana high. The high doses fucked me up so much that at their peak I could not even remember why I felt so weird. But they were not rich experiences, the way even marijuana can be -- more just a temporary scrambling of my mind.

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I've been following this topic for a while now, there is a Meetup group that bills itself as the Minnesota Psychedelic Society and I ran into some interesting and serious people, not therapists, but what I would call goal driven users of psychedelics. There was a group of young fathers that were trying to become better at being dads that I liked to listen to. But COVID came, and George Floyd died a few miles from my house and a lot of things were knocked off track and haven't really gotten back into the same form as before.

There are a lot of ketamine therapy outfits in my area and I watched a Zoom presentation for one of them. The setup rang some 'grift' alarm bells though. I talked to one of the business owners on the phone and that impression was reenforced. For example they required a physical from their doctor and when I told them I just had a thorough physical they wouldn't use those results. I went to check on their office and there was only an empty office front so I shied away from that operation.

I did talk to another group and spoke to the medical doctor in charge and the operation seemed more on the up and up, but as you mentioned ketamine is not a psychedelic and efficacy for anxiety and OCD has not even been explored.

I thought the AJP article that I linked was interesting because it seems to suggest that the neuroplasticity effects by themselves are at the heart of therapeutic use. Obviously I'm not a professional but a curious amateur poking around in an interesting field.

The NYT article about the research at Johns Hopkins didn't surprise me a lot. We are in the honeymoon phase of this renewed research that was aborted with the 'War on Drugs' for a while now and while the research seems to have a lot of potential there are bound to be setbacks along the way.

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I like the sound of that young father's group. If you do decide to try ketamine I can tell you about my experience with different ways of getting it into your system.

I agree that the neuroplasticity psilocybin makes possible is the crucial thing. And there are plenty of people who took solo trips and felt better forever after. (But also a few who felt haunted forever after.). I think a few meetings with a therapist can be helpful in sort of planting a flag in the area of the mind the. person hopes will change -- also in reinforcing the idea that change is possible. Most people who have suffered for a long time from a head disorder believe in their hearts that it is their fate and it is impossible to affect the problem.

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It's a shame I lost track of the "let's get better at being dads" group during the COVID plus rioting plus 12 year old boys hijacking cars for kicks period.

Their sincerity was readily apparent. Two things stick with me from those guys, one of the more experienced guys said it comes down to "trying to lead with love", a newer guy said "I'm just trying to become less of an asshole." Even if I only achieve the lesser objective I think it would be time well spent. :)

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Maps [dot] org has a bunch of stuff. It's from a true believer point of view though.

A couple weeks ago the NYT did a piece about research at Johns Hopkins maybe leaning into desired results with psychedelic therapy there, as in bad science, prompting responses from study participants.

This link is supposed to be unpaywalled:


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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

So today I learned that the Obamas have a film and TV production company, which surprised me. I don't know why, except that "film production" is not something I would have imagined as post- presidency careers for them.

Looking it up, they've had it since 2018 and it seems to be mostly producing stuff for Netflix, so a more successful version of what Harry and Meghan tried doing with their production company? Anyway, I learned about all this due to the fact that their company produced a series set in Ireland that will be screening on Netflix in May:


It sounds a little bit like an Irish version of all those Scandinavian thrillers/police shows that were wildly popular in the UK a while back, and I suppose I'm fearful that it may indulge in Paddywhackery. Even the modern form of Paddywhackery, which is more "the dark dire drear doings of the bog dwellers, isn't it great that we're so modern and urban nowadays?" unless it's the "we're so modern and urban nowadays, we have gangs and crime and drugs and guns all that good stuff where people wallow in poverty and misery and can't get out" variant.

EDIT: Okay, going by the trailer, yep, Paddywhackery. And swiping the Scandinoir style with the Midsommar version of Hallowe'en (no, even in darkest West Cork they don't walk around with skinned rabbits in a procession, ask Scott if you don't believe me) and the de-saturated colours. I never thought I'd complain about asking them to turn up the brightness, because usually it's the *opposite* problem in movies/TV set in Ireland, but even while it can be grey and dreer here, it's a tiny bit brighter and greener than this shows. If it's Hallowe'en, that's the end of October, and in a West Cork coastal village you'll have the golden autumnal evening light and the long Atlantic dusk where the western sky is amethyst and sapphire.


EDIT EDIT: Although feck it, there's a scene at around 1:32 in the trailer where one of the intrepid podcasters breaks into what looks like an abandoned chapel full of beehives with a statue at the end surrounded by candles as in a shrine, and if the writers did *any* kind of homework, that *could* be Saint Gobnait because it's West Cork, she's a prominent local saint there, she's associated with bees and bee-keeping, and she's also the patron saint of a mountain parish in my own place, which is how I know about her.


But it'll probably just be a statue of the Blessed Virgin, so a missed opportunity!

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I saw one of the Obamas' movies, "Rustin" a few months ago. It was about a gay black civil rights organizer who helped with the March on Washington. It was OK. Interesting behind-the-scenes history, and a lot of good scenery-chewing by the actors, including some great Oscar-bait lines. But it wasn't terribly coherent - it gave the impression of a bunch of scenes stuck together in the pattern of a story, neither fully embracing the complexities of reality like a good documentary, or putting the chosen narrative above all else like a cheesy docudrama. Instead, it sort of muddled between the two, and IMO failed at both. But perhaps I've been spoiled by David Simon's work ("Generation Kill", "Show Me A Hero", and above all "We Own This City" come to mind).

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Yeesh. American Factory was pretty good, but looking at this and the other stuff on their website, not much else in their portfolio looks to be to that standard.

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Everything I know of Ireland I've learned from @Deiseach, and what I've learned is that it's wall-to-wall Fae incursions barely held in check by a combination of Catholic rites, good old-fashioned Celtic moxie, and political shenanigans. :-)

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Like everywhere, there are charms and rituals to keep the Fairies out, but you can't do the same for politicians (drat).

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I wonder if politicians count as snakes?

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There is something deeply amusing to me of the idea of a successful politician retiring to make movies, and then filling their movies with the most racist stereotypes they can think of.

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They're not exactly racist, just cliché. I think the Scandis are entitled to be miffed at swiping their trademark "There's something nasty in the woodshed, Olaf" mayhem-in-the-smiling-countryside productions and setting it in Ireland by an American outfit.

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Is that what scandi-noir is about? I haven't read or seen any of it.

I'm used to that sort of thing being set in the American south. Like, either the deep south, or West Virginia. "Deliverance" would probably be the most (in)famous example. So on the one hand, maybe there's less ripping-off going on, but on the other hand, there might be even more looking-down. :-/

The Duelling Banjos scene is absolutely worth a listen:


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Apr 4·edited Apr 4

This is what I've picked up over the years (and I don't have any links and I may be wrong about some of this) — but with the popularization of inexpensive paperbacks in the 1950s, Swedish publishers started translating British and American mysteries and crime fiction to meet the new readership demands of Sweden. Initially, the British tea cozy mysteries (a la Agatha Christie) were quite popular, and Swedish authors began to write their own versions of these in Swedish settings. My understanding is that they were all very tame and derivative, but I can't say if this is true, but this was the opinion of a Swedish-American friend. Then in the 1960s translations of American crime fiction (a la Raymond Chandler) hit the market. Something about that noir sensibility struck a chord with Swedes (with their long dark winter nights and their sleep-deprived summers) and they started writing their own noir fiction. They took the genre and ran with it! Wikipedia doesn't have an article on it, but search for Swedish Crime Fiction and you'll get dozens of authors (link below).

Jo Nesbø is probably the author you want to start with. Although it was Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that introduced me to this genre. Icelandic crime fiction is pretty damn good, too. I don't know if the Danes and Norwegians have the same fascination with fictional criminal psychopaths, though.


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I think the European version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would count. Did you see that?

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Nope. I kind of fell out of pop culture around when that became popular. Was it any good? It seemed to fall into that broad genre where flaws in the rest of the work get covered up by slathering on sex appeal.

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Apr 4·edited Apr 4

I enjoyed the novels more than the Swedish movie adaptations and the Swedish movie adaptations more than the American movie adaptations of the Swedish movies. It's important to note that Stieg Larsson dropped dead of a massive coronary after finishing the trilogy. My understanding is that his unmarried longtime partner didn't get any of his quite valuable literary estate, but his family did, and they hired some hacks to churn out more in the series.

The main character is quite Aspergery, and I thought Larsson did a great job portraying her. The writing seems a little uneven in places, but that may be because of a poor translation.

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Yeah, not this one, but I'm imagining, like, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton making a drama set in China, and then everyone spends the whole movie speaking Pidgin.

The closer their job was to international relations, the funnier.

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Seems like paddywhackery is somewhere at the intersectionality of colonialism and oppression. Does being heavily freckled qualify one to be a person of color?

Did I really just say that?! <sound of me whacking my face>

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I'm calling my race the Colorless People. I tried using Everybody But the White People instead of People of Color. It's much more direct. But all the racialists in the room either shouted Shush or ran for the door.

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I don't classify race by color. I classify race by skin color but by tastebuds. And there are two races, those that like spicy food and those that don't. If you're not into spicy food, then we can have absolutely nothing in common and I don't want to associate with you. But if you're of the spicy race, let's party!

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I'm lame as hell by your standards. I like tasty spices like cumin a lot, but you're talking about hot spices, right? I just cannot comprehend how people can like them. Pain is not a flavor! Why would anyone take pleasure in having their mouth hurt while they experience the actual flavor and texture of the dish? And for those who enjoy a burning sensation while chewing, couldn't we come at it using a different model, one that doesn't wreck most things on the menu for people like me? For instance the cooks can leave the capsaicin out of the food, and instead supply the table with some sandpaper and a lemon. Those who like a burning sensation can sandpaper their lips while ordering -- then, while eating, they can rub them with lemon juice before each bite.

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See what I mean? Two different races. Melanin is just skin deep. Tastebuds are what separate humans into two very different races. ;-)

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People of Colorlessness, please. Then acronymize it, and sit back to enjoy the ensuing brouhaha.

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Maybe whites could call themselves Consolidated Spectrum People? (White light is made up of all colors). Integrated Spectrum People would be good except the first word demands a trigger warning. Um . . . Rainbows in Disguise Entities?

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The Political Coalition of Many Colours?

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I have been informed by previous discussions on social media that persons of colour can indeed be freckled, so you need not whack yourself in the face for that.

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Deiseach, who is the saint people pray to when they can't find something? I once lost my car keys after stopping to clean up my car interior at a gas station that offered a big trash barrel and use of a vacuum cleaner. When I was ready to leave I just could not find my keys. After half an hour of crawling around the car floor, digging in my backpack, checking the ground etc. I was blinking back tears of frustration. A guy nearby helped me briefly but had no more luck than me, and returned to cleaning his own car. And about a minute after he left, I found them. They were in the trash barrel, right on top. I told him and he said matter-of-factly, "yeah, I said a little prayer to St. _______ for you."

Also, what did you think of Peaky Blinders?

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I think the best evidence that we are living in a simulation is the consistency with which my mother can find a parking space using the St Anthony hack.

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St Anthony of Padua, the go-to guy in my family for "Hey St Anthony I lost my keys/paperwork/sanity, go find it for me, please?" and he never lets us down.

Don't forget to at least light a candle if you don't put money in the donation box! 😁 Yeah, we're not above trying to bribe a saint: "Hey Anthony, find this for me and I'll put some money in the box, we gotta deal?"

It's even funnier in that he got his reputation as a theologian and preacher, but popular piety decided "yeah, we're gonna make this scholarly friar find our lost crap, that seems the best way to approach this".


Haven't been watching Peaky Blinders, it's not really my thing. Seems very dramatic, and I've seen some discussion that later seasons are not as good. Cillian Murphy of course became a star out of it, so good luck to him.

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I've been following Murphy since Breakfast on Pluto, 28 Days Later, Redeye and Sunshine. I always enjoy his acting. Everything he does or says, he puts a little bit of spin on, a little wobble, that gives a sense of interiority and of the character's areas of eccentricity. Also am fascinated by his profoundly androgynous good looks. And his blue eyes are sort of a superpower. Saw him in a movie where the director had him wear brown contact lenses and I did not realize it was Murphy til near the end, even though his appearance was not changed at all except for the eye color.

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Back when I was a child in Poland, I often heard my grandma pray to St. Anthony of Padua to help her find her glasses/keys/other stuff. Thanks for the trip down memory lane 😊

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Old news?

The psychological risks of meditation


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The DSM-IV. had qi-gong Psychotic Reaction as a diagnosis.

Meditation induced psychosis seems to be a real thing (and not specific to qi gong)

Possibly, prior history of psychotic symptoms may be a risk factor.

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There is a pretty well known 'Dark Night of the Soul' phenomenon.


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Assuming there's any credence to all of that, it still seems like St John had it completely backwards. It's faith that's the source of denial and attatchment to false idols. Actually abandoning attatchment would involve stripping away the lies that make up your view of the world, even down to your own identity... but then you would be left with nothing. And apparently the human mind can't handle that.

Anyways, I don't think anything in there is related to meditation-induced psychosis. The whole "dark night of the soul" just seems to be temporary disillusionment with their faith. Or it's just seasonal depression.

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Alternately, it's stripping away the veil of illusion that prevents you from directly perceiving reality. You are not your identity. What was your true face before you were born?

Not that it's much easier for the human mind to handle that. And I suppose one could debate whether "reality" is different from "nothing", but well, I think that view generates enough despair under introspection, as is.

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Depersonalization and derealization are hellish disorders. I've seen both in post-meditation syndromes. But they do seem to be a pretty rare consequence, even among people who do meditation marathons.

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Culadasa - John Yates - touches on it in "The Mind Illuminated" in the section on insight meditation. I was looking into attending one of his ten day training sessions in Arizona just before he was caught up in some sort of scandal and was kicked out his practice.

A Google search on the phrase + meditation will turn up a lot of links to Reddit discussion, etc. So I suspect it's a thing that happens to some people with regular long sessions.

I've had a daily practice for several years and will often do one hour sessions but I haven't had it happen. No Jhanas for me either.

Personally, I've been lucky and never really experienced anything I would call depression. It was always just a lot of anxiety and some pretty bad OCD for me. I'm a good responder to SSRI's for the OCD so I've been lucky that way.

If something bad happens, like losing a friend or a relative or even a pet I'll go through a period of sadness but I think that happens to pretty much everyone and it would be cause for concern if I wasn't low for a while after that sort of loss.

One of my brothers does have issues with seasonal depression though. He relocated to Phoenix because Minnesota winters were just too dark and dreary for him.

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This is interesting - I also have OCD that responds very well to SSRIs, but I won't try meditation because of my fears about the negative effects (particularly that some switch might flip in my brain that would send me into psychological hell). I love that you are getting a lot out of it!

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Apr 4·edited Apr 4

If you haven't had jhanas, and find SSRIs good enough to deal with anxiety and OCD, how do you get the motivation to do daily practice for years, even to the point of planning a ten day training session?

For me personally, I seem to lose meditational steam outside my extreme lows where I come close to thinking of taking my life. Even then, Michael Sealey's youtube videos seem to give me more immediate response to stress/sleeplessness, though for longer term transformation possibly (I don't know) a TMI-style framework might suit better.

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The daily motivation comes from the self exploration of insight meditation. I’ve worked some important things out regarding my own motivations for my own actions and I have developed a good degree self understanding and non reactivity to events outside my control.

It made working with engineering teams with big egos much more harmonious. I’ve retired in the last couple years and the patience I’ve learned with myself and others makes life for me and the people around me more open and loving. I’ve been married for a long time - 41 years and counting - and my relationship with my wife has never been so conflict free.

This is a pretty brief summary of how meditation has helped. It probably has the ring of too good to be true. The process involved a lot of self work and wasn’t always easy and I’m glossing over many details here but I’ve been up since 5:00 this morning and I’m a bit tired right now. If you like I can go into more detail tomorrow.

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This is already great -- thank you very much -- but more details will of course be even better.

My impression was, for instance, that "open and loving", "calm" etc. were more in the shamata (especially metta) territory, and that people embrace insight-driven-misery once they graduate from shamata only for progress towards supposedly more serious goals like stream entry. Here you seem to suggest that at least some could understand their own motivations better from insight meditation rather than shamata + targeted contemplation on one's own motivations?

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I know ppl who go to the 10 day Vipassana camp annually. It did seem pretty extreme to me, based on their description..

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I remember having read this a while ago (I think Gwern Branwen had linked to it somewhere).

That said (epistemic status: not an expert) I think these issues tend to kick in with a rather large dose of meditation? (If I understand the article correctly, Megan Vogt, the main focus of the article, had to meditate for *sixty hours* before she finally went insane.) Usually normies who are into meditation tend to meditate for maybe like an hour a week(?), which should be below the threshold of craziness.

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A few years ago, I used to practice meditation very casually for maybe 15-20 minutes daily. I believe (but have no way to prove) that this meditation regimen led to the onset of a weird bodily sensory issue which I still struggle with to some extent. The sensation itself and the discomfort that it causes are difficult to describe in words. Essentially, my attention will occasionally gravitate, spontaneously and uncontrollably, toward my heartbeat (which is a sensation that I became consciously aware of for the first time during these meditation sessions). This causes me significant discomfort, due to my squeamishness regarding internal bodily sensations.

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Is it possible that you might have some condition like a heart arrhythmia which by a coincidence developed at the time you were meditating? Perhaps you should check with a doctor.

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It's definitely possible. I got an ECG a few weeks after these episodes started, which came in normal. But I also have relatives on both sides of my family with various heart conditions. If it is a physical arrhythmia, then I sort of suspect that vagus nerve stimulation could be what triggers it.

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In the article it mentions a threshold of thirty minutes per day, beyond which meditation stops being a benefit and has the potential to be harmful. They didn't follow that up, so I'm not sure if they've done any more research into that threshold. It does match with my experiences though - I've done meditation for about 15 minutes a day for a long time and never had any bad experiences, but at one point I went up to two hours per day. The experience was very different, I had some profound realisations, but I also saw frightening things. After a few weeks I realised my mood was getting lower and lower, and I backed off from the long meditation then. The realisations I had were not negative, but I could imagine some people do experience very negative and frightening realisations like the ones described in the article.

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Do we know which percentage of subscribers are paying subscribers here on ACX and in general on substack.

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For ACX it's about 5.5% (source: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/subscrive-drive-2024-free-unlocked)

Pretty close to the claimed overall Substack percentage of 5.71% in April 2023 (source: https://backlinko.com/substack-users)

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The rationalist tradition in Hinduism that began in ancient India. (Btw, This is a great channel of you're interested in Indian history. Came recommended by an expert I know.)


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There are a lot of Indian philosophical traditions. I never had the time to learn about them--I don't know Western philosophy that well so I wouldn't know what to compare it to. Just a reminder there are thousands of things you will never know.

But a school with a focus on this world seems credible--this is the home of the Kama Sutra after all. ;)

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Ancient Indians were into theorizing everything. Panini created (2000 years ago) a set of 4000 algorithms to define what a well formed sentence was in Sanskrit. Basically, he codified a language. This is widely seen as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of humanity. There was an intellectual environment for at least a 1000 years before that, that led to that.

Some of the other subjects theorized, such as the Kamasutra, were pretty wacky. Ultimate nerdiness.

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I mean, only in a society where smart theoretical people are unattractive and therefore theorizing about sex is creepy.

I read through it ages ago as a kid, and it seemed eminently practical to me, though at the time I was too young to do anything with it, and thought, "Hm, guess some cultures are less puritanical about sex. I guess this might be useful for an adult." The thing I remember was the three categories of genital sizes with animal names.

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True, that they were not puritanical about sex. However, 1000 years of colonization by Islamic and then Victorian Christian cultures affected that though.

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I don’t usually watch videos. Much prefer reading text but thanks for this.

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I feel exactly the same. Drives me crazy when I'm looking up how to do something tricky in Photoshop. I'm willing to scroll and scroll through google hits looking for the information in prose. But usually it does not exist, and I end up with a 20 min video with somebody perky, one unskippable and one skippable ad at the beginning and 2 or 3 unskippables in the middle. And the first long part of the video is stuff I already know, and the last part is stuff I don't need to know, and I have to hunt for the middle part that tells me how the hell to do X, and when I find it the instructions involve panels and options I'm not familiar with, so I have to go look up how to get Photoshop to extrude them into view, then go back and find again the part about X, and the crucial part has an unskippable ad in the middle. Fuck that.

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Do you have a few minutes to talk about our lord and savior, YouTube Premium?

While I agree with @Anonymous that ad-blocking browser plug-ins are terrific, YouTube frequently finds ways to thwart them, and of course thwarting ads in YouTube phone and TV apps is no longer trivially easy (or maybe no longer even possible).

But $25 a month gets you no ad interruptions, ever, plus YouTube Music (I have no idea how it compares to paid Spotify but it seems good enough to me) and other crap I don't use like downloading videos to watch offline, and that's for up to **FIVE** YouTube accounts.

I signed up for Premium and my four family members pay me $60 a year for their accounts, so I'm only actually paying $5 a month for ad-free YouTube. There are no requirements that everyone be in the same household and your Premium account follows you everywhere you are logged in. You can be logged in in more than one place (like your phone and a Roku, or whatever).

This is heaven.



I went to a friend's house and tried to share a funny 2 hour video essay on a Marvel movie with them on their TV and the ad interruptions were *torture.* It was so bad that I persuaded them to log out and let me log in, and our collective blood pressure immediately dropped.

They signed up for YouTube Premium at the end of the night.

It's a bargain for one person at $25; it's a steal for five people at $5 each. Just do it.

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I just downloaded the subtitles of the video shared above (as .txt) using some google-thrown-up subtitle download website, which I don't recommend or link because that site is full of ads with gifs. I hope there is a better site that can do the same.

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If you can install on your computer, try https://github.com/yt-dlp/yt-dlp

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Thanks. I did download it and invoke the command wrongly, but then now I am starting to get paranoid if the developers could have slipped in something nasty in the code. Let me be stupid and ask: how do I know that wouldn't be the case, when I download software by a bunch of private individuals I don't know at all?

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Sorry, no idea. My heuristic is something like "if too many people use it, I would probably have heard if it did something fishy".

I wish there was a better (and sufficiently simple) way to use untrusted programs. Something like when you install an app on smartphone, and it keeps asking for permissions, maybe something like that could also exist in Windows, like you would run the program in a paranoid mode and keep getting notifications like "now it tries to download from this URL", "now it tries to write into this file on disk" and could agree or disagree on any action (and remember your previous decisions, or create rules for the future). But I do not know anything like this.

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Do you have a few minutes to talk about our lord and savior, Ublock Origin?

I haven't seen a Youtube ad for *years*, besides those sponsorship spots recorded by the video maker and which are easy to manually skip.

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Yeah, I'm lazy and sloppy when I'm in the throes of a photoshop project. It's hard to break out of that state and proactively do the sensible thing. Does Ublock work on Mac?

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Yes; it's not based on operating system but on browser. It will not work in Safari, due to Apple once again ruining its bundled apps for no good reason, but it will work in Firefox as well as in Chrome-based browsers.

Apologies for the slow answer, by the way.

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See, this is part of why I avoid taking some of these proactive steps. They sound easy -- 20 mins getting and installing it, and the rest of your life will be bliss. But I have been using Safari for years, and whatever is wrong with it I am so used to dealing with that it doesn't bother me. It's like being married! I'm sure there are ways to port your bookmarks and history and passwords over to another browser, but doing all that will take me. a long time, I will probably get stuck on something and need help, etc. And then once it's done I'll have to get fluent with the new browser. I think I'm stuck with the YouTube ads, unless there's an equivalent ad blocker for Mac.

But thanks for trying.

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Maybe you can read the wiki on "Charvaka".

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Reading it right now. Thanks again.

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What do wombles do with the litter they collect?

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From the Wombles song:

"We're so incredibly utterly devious

Making the most of everything

Even bottles and tins

Pick up the pieces and make them into something new

Is what we do"


An episode of the series:


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Ah. Upcycling. Should have guessed. For some reason I was imagining the little fuzzy bastards eating my KitKat wrapper.

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Um -- my guess is that they give it to the Alphas in the group, and the Alphas impale it on their great big peckers and feed it to women who have developed crow's feet and are now willing to do anything at all to get an Alpha or even a bit of food.

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Hey no sexualising the wombles. They are but humble creatures performing a vital service. Plus modern London wombles aren't afraid to stab a bitch.

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Yes, once you get the first wrinkle, it's all over. You are reduced to fighting the rats in the alley ways for scraps.

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Yeah, that first wrinkle is each woman's Crack of Doom. You fall into it screaming AAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEE! and that's it for you. Though if you're lucky you might find a lonesome, though somewhat crispy, Gollum at the bottom. And the worst of it is, Gollum was no Alpha even prior to crisping.

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So Frodo stuck his finger into Sauron's Crack of Doom, huh? After putting a ring on it.

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Just for context for y'all, here's a definition of The Wall from a page of definition of Redpill acronyms: "The Wall- The point in a woman's life where her ego and self-assessed view of her sexual market value exceed her actual sexual market value; the beginning of the decline. Usually occurs as a wake-up shock to women when they realize that their power over men was temporary and that their looks are fading. This usually results with first denial and then a sudden change in priority towards looking for a husband. Even after hitting the wall, many women will squander a few more precious years testing her SMV with alphas to double-check, hoping her perceived decline was a fluke, this will make her even more bitter when she finally has to settle for a worse-beta than she could've gotten before because of squandering her youth."

And, um, crass as I am, my Gollum comment had nothing to do with sex -- well, except for good times women who've hit the wall might have with Crispy Gollum down in the Crack of Doom. The Crack of Doom is the canyon in or near Mt. Doom with a river of molten metal flowing through it, right?

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You know, when I first encountered the redpill stuff it really seemed to me like the sort of things feminists used to say about men, except of course with the places reversed. They had some good points but exaggerated everything--SMV does exist but varies depending on the beholder, and yes it does decline with age but a lot of women are aware of this, get married successfully and exit the market. Or else decide they don't want to and manage their money accordingly. You also have to see the irony in wanting 'traditional values' and then screwing around--sure the consequences were worse for women pre-1960s but 'good time Charlies' weren't respected either.

Still, after hearing endlessly a bunch of second-wave stuff growing up about how awful I was for even looking at a woman the wrong way and how terrible my natural inclinations were and if I screwed up I'd be unhireable and starve to death on the street...well, it starts to look refreshing. There are these people I've been terrified of my whole life and nobody ever criticizes them and we had to pretend we loved them--AND SOMEONE IS FIGHTING BACK!

Then they turned into Nazis. Oh well. Nothing good ever lasts.

The one thing I got out of reading both Dworkin and Mackinnon (or more accurately their epigones in the popular press) *and* Roissy and Roosh over the years is that the sexes are basically enemies--while there *are* indeed negative-sum outcomes like nuclear war or climate change that hurt everyone, in general what benefits women hurts men because they don't need men anymore, and vice versa. Fundamentally, male and female interests are in conflict, because (a) unlike say LGBT where straights don't lose anything by allowing gay marriage, men and women are both half of humanity and resources are limited, and (b) at least for the heterosexual majority, both sexes are engaged in trying to get the 'best possible' partner of the opposite sex, which usually means limiting the agency of that sex (either by taking away money from women or creating consequences for approach by unattractive men) so they have to settle for you.

Forget any dream of romance and companionship, for in the grim darkness of the near future there is only war, and the laughter of thirsting lawyers.

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I'm gonna guess that "good times with crispy Gollum, yes?" would not be a good pickup line. :-/

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Curses, that our power over men is merely temporary!

I do have to laugh at some of the discourse, as they say.

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The gay interpretations of Frodo and Sam are pretty common now I think.

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But this is a gay interpretation of **Sauron**... ;-)

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I'm deciding between upcoming travel opportunities in Hong Kong and Taiwan - any recommendations for either (or both)?

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I visited Taiwan many times, most recently 4 years ago. Even though a white guy with minimal Mandarin, I was always treated well. I was often disoriented, since I was unable to read, speak, or understand. Someone always helped. Also, IMHO, best food in the world

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like collapse, like AGI, time will most certainly tell

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Is this meant to be a reply to something?

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Yes sry, my mistake

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I feel like this might be getting tedious now, but something has gone wrong with the scores. The highest blind score on the spreadsheet is 0.275 (as stated in the post) and the highest full score is 0.34. But the winning score was 0.38.

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Those are the corrected scores. Corrected scores were lower average absolute value.

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"Google has launched an "antiracism" initiative claiming that America is a "system of white supremacy" and that all Americans are "raised to be racist"—including Ben Shapiro, who is depicted as a layer of the "white supremacy pyramid," culminating in "genocide.""

Something to keep in mind next time somebody talks about 'wokeness is in decline' or something

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This is a three year old tweet.

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But I'm angry NOW!

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If you are Jewish, Black or an immigrant to the US you should be seething with anger at yourself because you are destroying White America with your vile genes, character and habits. If you are Asian or something else I'm not clear whether and how much you should hate yourself -- but I'm sure Hammond will be happy to provide guidelines.

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2

LoL. Don't forget all the Shröndinger Immigrants who steal our jobs but laze around all day collecting welfare bennies while eating bonbons!

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Only if they're knife-ears, though, as the Rings of Power reminded us:

"Elf ships on our shore; Elf workers taking your trades. Workers who don't sleep, don't tire, don't age. I say, the Queen's either blind or an Elf lover, just like her father."

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I hear there's this guy named Sauron who has a plan to protect pure-blooded Numorians. Check out his Truth Social page!

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Google pulled out of a conference in Europe because the organiser criticised Israel. As did Intel and Siemens. American capital is pretty much pro Israel.

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I don't know the specifics (since there's not enough data to identify the conference and the organizer) but from my experience, I strongly suspect "criticised Israel" means something like "denied the right of Israel to exist as a state, propagandized boycotting and ultimately destroying Israel and unquestionably supported genocidal organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah in their quest for massacring Jews and ethnically cleaning the territory of Israel". That's how it usually turns out - it's one thing saying "Israel did this and that wrong" - and I don't believe thoroughly woke and leftist Google would pull out of anything because of that - and quite the other thing saying "make Palestine Judenfrei!" especially right after over a thousand Israelis had been brutally murdered by an organization with an official goal of making Palestine Judenfrei. *That* could make even the very woke and leftist Google to stop and think maybe they don't want a part in this particular thing.

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You might want to update your priors, because you're wrong on just about all counts. Also, it took me a grand total of two minutes of googling the first sentence there before I had the tweet from the organizer in question.

"I’m shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments, with the exception in particular of Ireland’s government, who for once are doing the right thing. War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are."


Followed immediate by an apology, which starts, "First, what Hamas did is outrageous and disgusting. It is by every measure an act of monstrous evil. Israel has a right to defend itself, but it does not, as I have already stated, have a right to break international law." and advocates for peace using Ireland as the metaphor.

Also, Google is a highly profit-driven TRILLION dollar corporation. They are not remotely leftist lol.

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They are very, very leftist lol. Example: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/02/most-liberal-tech-companies-ranked-by-employee-donations.html If you go to the top, it'd be likely 100% to the left, the 12% likely are low level techs that decide nothing.

And if you think leftists are some kind of pennyless hippies that despise money you need to really update your world model. It's a fallacy beyond a mere lol, it's double-facepalm-worthy misconception. There are a lot of leftists billionaires, and it's probably pointless to count the millionaires, there are so many of them. Bernie Sanders is a millionaire, for Marx's sake. Trillion dollar corps do not contradict leftist principles in any way - in fact, for a trillion dollar corp it makes sense to ally with the left, since they can easily overcome or capture the economic control mechanisms, and they would be delighted by both the capacities of control that such alliance promises (who wouldn't like to be able to decide what people can and can't speak about?) and all the negatives would be much heavier on their smaller and less established competitors than on them.

As for Cosgrave, I can see that he, a week after Hamas murdered over a thousand Israelis and and kidnapped several hundreds, before all the victims were even identified and buried, while giving lip service to Israel's "right to defend", accused Israel of "war crimes" (note he had never said Hamas committed any). This was way before operation in Gaza started, that was on Oct 27. And he endorsed the call of Irish government for "cessation of all hostilities" - effectively denying Israel's right to defend itself right after giving it lip service (because there's no way Israel can actually defend itself it it ceases hostile actions toward Hamas). I think the position here is clear - Israel is the criminal here, and while Hamas is "disgusting", Israel should just shut up and take it, and not respond in any way or form. This is a little step better than outright denying the right of Israel to exist, but only barely.

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2

I grant you that some Google *employees* identify as leftists, and maybe even are. I'm well aware you don't need to be penniless for that, I'm a software engineer. That said, I'm not talking about the employees, nor was it the topic of discussion you replied to. We're talking about the *company as a political entity* - e.g., the part making decisions about pulling out of conferences, the actual management of the company (the employees are not making these decisions). They are categorically not leftists, nor are they pro-Palestine (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/08/business/israel-palestine-google-employees.html)

If the word "leftist" has any meaning other than "to the left of me, the person talking", there are no leftist billionaires. Millionaires maybe, but I don't think you really conceptualize the difference between "owning 2-3 houses" wealthy and "financially able to purchase thousands of houses and let them sit vacant" wealthy.

As far as the rest of your post, it's clear you're not actually open to new information here, using some truly motivated reasoning to avoid updating, so I'm not interested in further discussion. If you're complaining that "what Hamas did is outrageous and disgusting. by every measure an act of monstrous evil." is insufficient because it didn't literally use the words "war crime", it's clear you're not engaging in good faith here.

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Apr 5·edited Apr 5

I remember back in the day when a lot of employees were upset to discover that Google was giving donations to Republicans.

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> We're talking about the *company as a political entity*

Oh, then it is definitely very very leftist. I mean the whole company was in mourning after Trump has been elected in 2016, held special meetings to help the employees cope with that, and several top officials promised to work extra hard to never let it happen again. As a company, Google is probably even more leftist than a random worker. At least on worker level people like Damore exist(ed). On company level, they obviously can not be tolerated.

It is true that as a company Google is not pro-Palestine (or pro-Hamas) - a lot of American Left are not very sympathetic to Hamas (though a lot also are). That doesn't prevent them from being very leftist in all other political questions.

> If the word "leftist" has any meaning other than "to the left of me, the person talking", there are no leftist billionaires

George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, Tom Steyer, Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Spielberg, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Pierre Omidyar, Marc Benioff. These only ones I could quickly recall, there are probably many more.

These are people who are on record endorsing leftist policies, organizing PACs to elect Democratic candidates and promote Democratic policies, giving money to leftist causes and NGOs. Any sensible definition of "leftist" would include them.

> so I'm not interested in further discussion.

Of course, after proclaiming some easily disprovable falsities, you are "no longer interested". No surprise here.

> is insufficient because it didn't literally use the words "war crime"

No, not because he didn't use the particular words (though it certainly wouldn't hurt) but because the practical conclusion he makes is that Hamas, while he calls them "evil" and "disgusting", should keep the hostages and go unpunished, while Israel is being called "criminal" right after it has been brutally attacked. Practically, the real crimes of Hamas are ignored in anything but rhetoric, while actions of Israel are called "crimes" by default. It is a grotesquely distorted view - yet very common, especially among western woke leftist. Their formulaic "condemnation" of Hamas atrocities is nothing but a smokescreen permitting them to move on to the real goal - bashing Israel. If they really thought Hamas is evil - they would endorse practical steps of fighting evil (which the Left is very active at when they really, and not just formally, think something is evil), but when it comes to the evil of Hamas, they somehow never do. I guess it may have something to do with "engaging in good faith"?

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There is no source in the twitter message (from 2021). Where can I read more about this campaign? To be frank, I very much doubt this is accurate.

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There's a source and it's kinda accurate in the sense that there has been a slide deck with that pyramid and it drew a progression from IIRC "white supremacy" to "genocide" and had some prominent right-wing names on it, but that was in 2021 when I saw it and I don't remember the exact thing and it's not different enough from a thousand of similar woke duckspeak pieces enough to bother digging it up. On my recollection, it wasn't even made by Google per se but one of those woke consultancies that profiteer on the whole DIE fashion but it probably was spotted somewhere at Google sponsored event. Again, not something unique or special - since 2021 there has been dozens of such instances spotted.

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Apr 2·edited Apr 2

I wonder if this isn't a hoax. If this were an officially sponsored Google slide deck...

1. All the slides should say "Google Confidential" if they were really Google confidential. instead only one slide has "Google Confidential" pasted on it in the upper left hand corner.

2. Likewise, where's the Google watermark? That doesn't mean this isn't the Ladipo Group's slideware, but if this were a course sponsored by Google HR, they would have insisted on a more official form (confidential statement on every slide, and Google watermarks indicating sponsorship).

3. What's with that "Join the watch party" slide? If this course was sponsored by Google HR, they'd make sure that all their employees were taking it, rather than encouraging them to join watch parties after hours. Also, for the past decade just about all HR training is delivered through online modules that force the user to click through the content and then take a quiz. Watch parties are not a commonly used courseware delivery method.

4. Google employees have their own groups that are allowed to meet on site. Maybe this is some sort of wokeness study group?

Bottom line this whole thing doesn't look corporately official. And, BTW, did you know the word gullible isn't in the OED?

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I had thought that "Oppression Olympics" was a term used to criticise wokeness by opponents of wokeness (back when it was called "social justice", but whatever). I suppose it's possible that it might have been in the slide-deck as an example of an anti-woke argument which should be countered, but if so then I'd expect it to have some context around it? It's strange to see it there as a slide by itself.

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Theoretically, it could be a hoax. But I've seen the same ideas expressed so many times since 2021 in so many venues that creating a hoax that would look exactly like dozens of other DEI courses and decks sounds kinda pointless. Why bother? Judging by the style, those graphics likely weren't created by Google people but were copy-pasted from some other sources - probably some kind of DIE consultant content decks, or maybe activist sites/forums. And Rufo mentions several documents and videos in the thread, so the genocide pyramid is probably from another document than the confidential slides. Could be that this document is from some kind of wokeness promotion group, yes. Could be private initiative of the DIE person Rufo mentioned that created it as a guide. "Official" is kinda vague here - on one hand, you probably don't l;iterally have to read and follow literally everything DIE Lead sends out. On the other hand, it's kinda clear what the company endorses here, isn't it? I mean, if a senior officer would be sending coworkers links to the stormfront site, would we say "meh, it's not officially endorsed and mandatory" or would we be a bit more worried?

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

We had DEI training modules every year at my former company (15K employees worldwide), and they looked nothing like those slides. Basically, they were all about not saying things that racially or sexually insulted our coworkers. You'd get conversational scripts (which you could read or listen to the audio) and then you had to identify when someone was being a jerk (comments on par with "You mean you didn't grow up in a ghetto?" or asking "Is it your time of the month?"). It was pretty easy to score a 100 on these tests — even if you were a clueless jerk. There was nothing about identifying our privileged identities. And the Wheel of Power wasn't part of the training. BTW, that slide is credited to ccrweb.ca. I checked out the website and CCR is the Canadian Council of Refugees, an immigrant rights organization. Their mission statement: "The Canadian Council for Refugees is a leading voice for the rights, protection, sponsorship, settlement, and well-being of refugees and migrants, in Canada and globally. CCR is driven by member organizations working with and for these communities from coast to coast to coast." After the opening statement, there's some boilerplate about the intersectionality of colonialism and oppression. But it doesn't sound like they're trying to wokify Canadians.

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You have linked to a tweet dated 8 September 2021. Setting aside any possible concerns with accuracy, this clearly does not falsify the hypothesis that wokeness has declined since that date.

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key points from the article

<quote>The cuts come as the tech industry doubles down on artificial intelligence. With fewer diverse voices represented in AI development, the resulting products could be less accurate or more harmful to users.</quote>

I assume they mean 'exclusive or'.

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Whenever someone uses the term "diverse voices" I automatically think of choirs singing off-key. But I'm thoroughly enjoying the shitshow as AI companies try to placate the competing racialist obsessions of the Right and Left.

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I'm not, it doesn't amuse me to think that a decade of hundreds of AI researchers (roughly millennia of human thought) working together and centuries of computing time by GPUs result in a model that we then proceed to shackle and shittify because its users are not responsible adults and can't conceive of it as a neutral search engine whose answers are not opinions.

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Please, Brer Fox, don't shackle and shittify what the best minds of my generation are erecting to replace Advertising.

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When o when will you people figure out that you're not supposed to click the link? You're just supposed to get mad! It's the rationalist way.

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LoL! And as proper rationalists we should treat any factoid, meme, or hearsay as Bayesian priors for our pre-conceived conclusions.

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Oh dear. Apparently now saying "I'm not racist" means that you are racist, according to Ibram X Kendi. I have decided, therefore, that I am racist, but only against Ibram X Kendi. I trust the woke mob will find my position acceptable.

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A lot has happened to Ibram X Kendi since September 8, 2021 (the date of that tweet).

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What do you all think of Orchid genetics? Has anyone used them yet?

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Have not used them, and am generally supportive of the concept, but have two concerns.

I suspect that with some conditions, the predictive power is limited. As I've seen it, predictive power is often quantified as the difference in the odds of having a disease when comparing the highest to lowest risk decile of poly-genic risk scores. I've seen recently with Schizophenia a ~3X greater risk (maybe Orchid has a better algorithm). But most parents won't be selecting between the highest and lowest risk deciles, since they are giving limited genetic material, I imagine they'll be selecting between 4th and 6th decile or 1st and 3rd (but these are intuitive calculations, I don't know how much variance exists in risk-genes in a typical couples embryos). That being said, if there is a sharp increase in risk between any deciles, and you have reason to believe that your embryos may straddle those deciles, the prediction could be useful.

Another concern I've heard is whether the predictions will remain true when the child grows up. Maybe Schizophrenia or Alzheimer's or whatever-disease emerges as an interaction between genes and culture, such that today's risk genes are not tomorrow's risk genes. I wonder if there is any way to evaluate this possibility.

All that being said, granted the limited risks of in-vitro fertilization, and knowing nothing else, if it wasn't for the $ & inconvenience I'd do it for some conditions at least.

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Are there any risks to using them? Such as privacy concerns involving genetic information?

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They have a calculator here expressing it as relative and absolute risk: https://portal.orchidhealth.com/risk-calculator#scz. You can see the expected benefit based on family history.

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Really interesting, thanks for the link.

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Are there any risks to using them? Such as privacy concerns involving genetic information?

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Or consult the movie GATTACA. It's theoretically possible (albeit I'm pretty sure illegal) that health insurance companies could decline to cover you if you're susceptible to some of these diseases, or an employer could screen you based on mental health risks. This seems speculative, it would involve espionage or collusion with Orchid, and a very compotent (and... bad-acting) CEO who is capable of understanding and acting on this information without too many people finding out.

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If you're already undergoing IVF, then there is no additional risk from using IVF. However, if you were not planning on any sort of aneuploidy screening, then there is the risk of some type of harm from trophectoderm biopsy. However, it appears this isn't really an issue: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2023.08.010. So, if you find it worth the cost, then I believe it is "riskier" to not use their PGT-WGS, as in P(disease|no PGT-WGS) > P(disease|PGT-WGS).

As for privacy concerns, that is probably a better question for them -- I don't know

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More and more evidence that the purported financial benefits of a firm's "diversity" are based on bad/misleading science that doesn't replicate: https://twitter.com/cremieuxrecueil/status/1774891359268147684

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I stumbled into a (relatively) old interview [1] with Yehuda Shaul, a Co-founder of Breaking the Silence [2], an Israeli organization that specializes in debunking the myth of the "Most Moral Army" by soliciting personal accounts from some of the people who fought for said army about what they did during their service. For example, the current top link on Breaking the Silence's website is a post-October-7th NYT op-ed [3] from an IDF soldier who fought in the 2014 war, where he recounts how - based on false briefing from his superiors - he accidentally killed an elderly woman with a grenade.

Breaking the Silence, along with B'Tselem, are the main 2 characters in a change of heart I had recently (mostly after October 7th, but in some sense it started before, not by too long), where I transitioned from an older model of Israel, the mainstream default in most Arab circles, of Israel and Israelis having no intention to ever see the word "Peace" except as a cynical delay tactic and as a tool for aborting actual peace initiatives and negotiations, to an updated model where **most** (by number) of Israel and Israelis are like this, but where a significant and influential minority of as-yet undetermined size truly wanting peace and bearing massive social and personal costs as it swims against the immense currents of cynicism and warmongering in a desperate Hail Mary for peace. I'm highlighting this org because - in some sense - this change of heart it induced in me is the 3rd most massive POV switch in my belief network, right after Atheism and Vegetarianism. And just like for those 2, I have a certain fondness and feeling of gratefulness for the people who pointed me to (what I now see as) the right direction and away from the unexamined inertial one.

The highlight of the interview for me:

-- Yehuda recounts how his former unit in the West Bank city of Hebron was tasked with what he described as "making our presence felt". Meaning: Breaking into a Palestinian home, waking up the resident family in terror and inspecting the whole house, going to the roof, jumping into the neighboring house's roof, and coming out the other house's gate. 8 hours a day per individual patrol, each day a year, every year from 2000 till now. For what reason? What military objective? What galaxy-brained endgame that defenders of the IDF's behavior always seem to hallucinate in their ever-more-futile quest to justify the unjustifiable? Yehuda, former IDF personnel, says "literally nothing". Nay, that's actually not what he said, he said something far worse: the objective is to create the "Feeling of being Persecuted" in the occupied Palestinians, translating from a slang Hebrew term widespread in the army. That is, the whole reason is for Palestinians to know that "Big Brother is Watching", the entirety of the IDF mission in occupied Palestine being essentially little more than a gesture of "That's a Nice Family you have over there, would be a shame if... you know".

I recommend watching the full interview and checking out the Breaking the Silence website to see the thinking and handiwork of a man that I'm sure changed the mind of many Israelis and (more importantly, and so I hope) many Palestinians and those who root for them. The interview was posted nearly an exact 10 years before October 7th, on October 10th 2013. Itself a statement about the sheer uniformity of oppression and dispossession meted out by the Israeli war machine, an anti-dote to the artificial short Context Window that many on the Pro-Israel side loves to impose on the debate, where you're supposed to tunnel-vision on the exact 100 hours stretch between the night of October 6th and the night of October 10th of 2023 and not a single sensory input else.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXiMyQkCPfI

[2] https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

[3] https://archive.ph/z63RM, paywalled original: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/28/opinion/international-world/gaza-idf-israel-veterans.html?unlocked_article_code=1.6Ew.X_0W.8hhb88AHkBKB&smid=url-share

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I don’t really want to get involved in discussion on this topic, but anyone who is interested in how these things are “seen” in different countries might like to have a look at the headlines of British newspapers on Wednesday 3rd April, after the lawyers and factcheckers felt they had confirmed what happened to a group of charity workers. https://www.tomorrowspapers.co.uk

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Yes, over the 75 years of continuous warfare, I am sure you can find examples of IDF soldiers - and regiments, and commanders - behaving all sort of ways, including committing some quite heinous acts. It's an army at war, and it is not composed of angels - it will have the same percentage of assholes, jerks and even violent psychos sometimes as any other large group of people. So yeah, there's a difference between the ideal mythologized image and the grim reality on the ground. If you are beyond your teen-age years, you should already know that. If you are not, hold in there, there's a lot of surprises on the way.

IDF and the political establishment governing it pay a lot of attention to not harm civilian population unnecessarily and to make the army behave in a way that doesn't harm Israel's image unnecessarily. It is based on both moral and practical considerations. Israel's political goals - beyond the initial decades of it's existence, where it has been much more complicated - are purely defensive. Israel does not want to conquer any of their Arab neighbors, does not want to "genocide" or destroy or harm in any way at all any of these countries. Israel mostly wants to be left alone. However, that is not going to happen, at least for now. The war has been waged, in various forms, for about a century now, and it's not going to stop anytime soon, as it looks. And yes, when you have an army composed of real people waging a real war, there would be all kinds of stories, including stories not looking very good. If you make your life's purpose to cherry-pick and collect those stories, you will always succeed. Some would probably be much, much worse than accidentally killing a civilian based on a bad intel.

With all that being said, anybody who uses these examples as a basis to claim that Israel's army and Israel's political government's goal is something other than being left alone and ultimately achieve peace are just wrong - at best, mistaken, usually - cynically lying. Moreover, those organizations that are using this to give boost to movements like BDS and give passive - and sometimes active - support to movements like Hamas and hamstring the ability of IDF to fight Hamas - are actively harming the cause they nominally support, i.e. achieving peace, and actively contribute to the harm done to civilians at both sides. These people may be subjectively idealist and strive for peace, as they understand it, but objectively they are the ones that ensure movements like Hamas see that their cause is alive, their victory - which, have no doubts, they see as destruction of Israel and murdering or expelling most of Jewish and other non-Muslim population of Israel - be possible and within reach. Until it becomes clear to these movements that this dream is not going to happen, there could be no hope for peaceful co-existance. And the position like "we support the right of Israel to defense in theory, but we will scream like hell and demand boycotts and sanctions each time Israel tries to do something to defend itself in practice, because they are not inhumanly perfect while doing it" is just a moral coward's way of saying "to hell with Israel". Obviously, Israel would never accept that, and no "peace effort" based on that would never achieve anything.

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> Israel does not want to conquer any of their Arab neighbors

For the purposes of this comment, are Palestinians considered "neighbors"?

Any comment on e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_Yassin_massacre ?

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Apr 2·edited Apr 3

Israel wanted to give Gaza back to Egypt but Egypt wouldn't take it. I can say with some confidence that, for Gaza specifically, they have no interest in "conquering" it.

EDIT: After a half hours Googling I haven't been able to find a source for the idea that Israel offered Egypt control of Gaza back during peace negotiations. Until I do, I can no longer stand behind this statement as being true.

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My first reaction was "why Egypt? why not simply have Palestine governed by the people who live there?", but that of course opens another large debate and I do not want to spend the time necessary to study all the relevant history and whatever.

Just wanted to say that I find "Israel offered Gaza to Egypt, and Egypt refused" plausible but irrelevant.

(As an analogy -- and a bad one, because of course the situations are different in many aspects -- it sounds to me like Putin proposing a peace deal where he keeps the eastern part of Ukraine, and Hungary gets the western part. Hungary refuses, and Putin says "well, I tried; everyone can clearly see that conquering territory was never my priority, but what other options do I have?")

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Funny how Israel supporters keep saying this and never post a single credible reference.

A perpetual game of telephone.

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That's a pretty good example of what's a hopelessly demagogic/brainwashed Pro-Israel supporter would say: zero self-reflection, 100% catechisms and parroting propaganda verbatim. Zero engagement with the actual post you're replying to, 100% whiny fretting about Anti-Semitism while in complete denial about the dehumanization and war crimes that the war machine you're cheerleading for is engaging in.

That's a pretty good example of what I consider to be not worth the keyboard wear-and-tear on my laptop to even attempt to respond to. Thanks for setting it and have a good day.

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"100% catechisms and parroting propaganda verbatim. Zero engagement with the actual post you're replying to, 100% whiny fretting about Anti-Semitism while in complete denial about the dehumanization and war crimes that the war machine you're cheerleading for is engaging in."

Couldn't have put it better myself. Utterly disgraceful behavior on their part.

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Yeah, that's how the dialogue with "proponents of peace" usually looks like. "We are all for peace, but you don't want peace!" - "Let's look at these facts and arguments?" - "You are a brainwashed zombie not worth discussing with!". Yeah, that's a great way to achieve peace, keep going. Don the keffiyeh and go scream "free Palestine! from the river to the sea!" at a random Jewish-looking person in the street, that will help a lot, I am sure.

> 100% whiny fretting about Anti-Semitism

There was literally 0% fretting about Anti-Semitism in my response.

> while in complete denial about the dehumanization and war crimes

I literally spent most of the response talking about how the things that the orgs you mentioned talk about happened, and probably worse things too, and why, which is the literal opposite of denying it. You didn't even bother reading it, did you? Not that I hoped for much better. If you, in the future, will be interested in the question why there's no peace, the mirror would provide a good answer.

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If it makes you feel any better, I did read your entire response. It's not very long, I was just impressed with how formulaic and devoid of any originality it was.

Perhaps if you behave, I can even point you to the exact parts in your first and your second reply where you quite obviously appear as whiny and how you might do better in the future. As of now, I don't think you deserve it enough.

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If that's true, that makes it even worse. You read it, and then you claimed I wrote the exact opposite of what I did. Right there, in plain sight of everybody. Now you resorted to personal insults and trolling, so I guess we reached the natural conclusion of it. Keep the "struggle for peace" or whatever the voices in your head tell you to do.

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> an older model of Israel, the mainstream default in most Arab circles, of Israel and Israelis having no intention to ever see the word "Peace" except as a cynical delay tactic and as a tool for aborting actual peace initiatives and negotiations

Funny, because most Israelis and Israel supporters believe that Israel wants peace but the Palestinians don't want peace and will only use peace negotiations as a tactic to extract concessions, without any intention of maintaining peace. This belief makes them discouraged about the peace process, because there's no point in negotiating if you believe the Palestinians will never accept peace anyway.

I didn't know until now that the opposite view was common in Arab circles. I assumed it was something more like, "we can't accept peace without Jerusalem and the right of return".

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Which is not very surprising, of course when one side perceives the other side to use peace as a cynical tool, it will (consciously or unconsciously) converge to using peace as a cynical tool.

The only question is who started it, there is a very good argument to be made that it's Israel. Beginning with starting the war in 1967 then using its conquests to strong-arm the Arab neighbors into having a favorable peace settlement. But since I'm firmly on the "Pro-Palestinian" side of the issue, I will understand that people farther away don't necessarily see it the way I do.

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Not sure what the other viewpoint is, but Israelis and certainly a lot of historians would say that Egypt and its allies caused the 1967 war.

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I'm aware of the Israeli narrative, I'm also aware that the case it makes is unconvincing, and that all sources say the war started with Israel's air force attacking Egypt without Egypt doing a comparable escalation.

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Just to show that this is a widely (though not universally) held view and it's not just Israelis, here's a quote from the Wikipedia page on preemptive war (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preemptive_war):

> Israel incorporates preemptive war in its strategic doctrine to maintain a credible deterrent posture, based on its lack of strategic depth. [26][27][28] The Six-Day War, which began when Israel launched a successful attack on Egypt on June 5, 1967, has been widely described as a preemptive war[29][30][31][32] and is, according to the United States State Department, "perhaps the most cited example [of preemption]."[33] Others have alternatively referred to it as a preventive war.[34]

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I suppose we will never know, would we? You can always shoot first and justify later, and in a Prisoner's Dilemma type of situation you will always find enough wrinkles in the data to fit however many epicycles in your narrative.

What I mean to say is that the cold hard truth is that Israel attacked first in 1967, and attacked first in Lebanon the 1980s, and attacked first in Lebanon 2006, and attacked first in Gaza 2008/2009. All else is commentary.

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Or, in other words. "we will never accept peace that doesn't include your destruction". Which, of course, is a kind of peace - just not a kind that you can expect other side to voluntarily agree to.

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I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m an Israeli myself and I strongly disagree with some of your assessments. However, it is a rare opportunity to talk with someone from the “Arab side”, with the exception of Arab Israelis, which are a different situation, I believe.

I am not going to try and change your mind, both because I don’t think I will be successful, and to avoid this discussion turning ugly. Instead, I’m only going to ask you some questions, and I will be very grateful if you’ll answer them. In turn, I will be happy to answer any questions you might have. These questions might seem “leading”, but this is not my intention. They simply reflect my own opinion on the conflict and army, which is naturally different from yours.

I may not agree with you, but my genuine intention is to understand your way of thought. I promise you that any rudeness is unintentional.

How do you assess your own general knowledge about the technique and morality of war? Other than the Israeli-palestinian conflict, do you read or take an interest in other wars/conflicts? If so, I’ll be happy to know which ones.

Regarding the morality of the IDF: if you discovered that other countries' armies behave worse/better in a similar situation, meaning coming in contact with foreign civilians and combatants, would it change your mind? In what way? What do you think would be a good way to measure the morality or conduct of an army? As much as you can, separate the way the army behaves from its political goal. I do not believe those things are separate, but that separating them for a moment in our thought will lead to a better understanding. For example, you can criticize the American war in Afghanistan, and its political goal and reasoning, and have a different criticism for the way the army behaves day to day.

You say that you believe that only a minority in Israel is interested in peace, what is the source of that assessment? Do you believe the “peace seeking” rate has changed with time? To what direction, and what do you think caused it?

What types of actions will demonstrate to you that a large part of Israeli citizens are interested in peace? That the government is interested in peace? Should “peace seeking” actions be taken by the Israeli government, what do you think will be the Palestinian response? If the response turns out to be negative to Israel, especially if it puts its citizens in danger, what do you think will be the morally appropriate response?

What do you think about the evacuations of settlements from Gaza? Do you think it was right/wrong? Strategically, morally? What do you think was the Israeli government's aim when it did it?

What do you think is the most moral solution to the conflict? What does peace look like for you?

Do you think peace is possible with the current Palestinas governments, meaning the PA and Hamas? If not, what do you believe will practically cause a change in leadership? What do you think Israel is morally permitted to do about it?

I’m assuming you don’t think peace is possible with the current Israeli government. What do you think about other Israeli parties/leaders? Beni Gantz, Yair Lapid, Yair Golan? Mansor Abbas?

Let's imagine that “the other side” proposed a two state solution, based on 67 lines, some kind of joint control of jerusalem, no/limited right of return for palestinians to Israel, but some kind of financial compensation for those who lost property in the 48 war - What do you think will be the response from the Israeli side? The Palestinian side?

Taking into account both moral and practicality, what do you think each side should do to promote peace? Hamas? PA? Israeli government? What happens, to each side, if everything goes wrong? What happens if it goes right? How likely do you think each outcome is?

Those are my questions for now. I will be very grateful if you'll answer them, and of course I will be happy to answer any questions you might have. I hope we can have a useful discussion, and understand each other better.

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> I’m an Israeli myself and I strongly disagree with some of your assessments.

Hello, I welcome talking and having conversations with (and - hopefully in the not too far future - peace/friendships/hospitality) with Israelis too as long as it's in good faith with a bilateral recognition of each other's (Jews/Arabs/Israelis/Palestinians/...) humanity. Disagreement is okay, it doesn't automatically mean you're right and it doesn't automatically mean I'm right either.

> to avoid this discussion turning ugly.

Discussions generally don't turn ugly with me until I detect my interlocuter is careless/flippant about the civilians dying and starving in Gaza, and even then, there are instances where I apologized after I had gone too far with someone like that.

> How do you assess your own general knowledge about the technique and morality of war?

I hate self-assessment, especially numerical ones, so I will interpret this question to mean that the answer is a verbal judgement, and the judgement is "Not much, but enough". I have never joined an army or fought a war, which presumably means I know less than you as being an Israeli Jew means you have necessarily joined an army with overwhelming probability. But I know enough about the technique and morality of war to recognize that posting TikToks in a warzone making fun of the displaced populations and their destroyed houses, or dedicating the destruction of civilian infrastructure to the soldeir's daughter on her birthday, is not normal or professional conduct.

> other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do you read or take an interest in other wars/conflicts?

Yes. In rough reverse chronological order: the many Iraq wars, the Vietnam war, the Korean war, WW2 and WW1. Those are the major ones that I read and watched multiple things about, there are many minor ones. Here's a recent selection of what I have watched a couple of days ago: The Iraq War Explained (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWICnxeVLp4), What the Red Sea ship attacks are really about (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPhTwmylZi8), which might look like it's about October 7th and Gaza but it's actually a crash course on Yemen's recent history up to this point.

> if you discovered that other countries' armies behave worse/better in a similar situation, meaning coming in contact with foreign civilians and combatants, would it change your mind? In what way?

It depends on what exactly is the part of my mind that you're talking about. My mind is *already* changed to a certain extent, after all the default Arab narrative which I now reject and try to push back against assumes implicitly that Israeli evil is beyond any evil and that it's motivated by exceptional ethno-religious hatred. Part of my change of heart was to recognize that this is the remnants of Arab propaganda from the 1940s-1960s, and that Israeli evil is not exceptionally different than any state evil, it might be motivated by some ethnic hatred but not abnormal levels of it all things considered.

However, very few armies are defended as the "Most Moral in the World". Very few armies (exactly 1) are the self-appointed guardian angels of a "Jewish State" where criticizing them or saying they're acting immorally will make people think you're antisemitic. Very few armies have the kind of incestuous relationship with the USA that this one have. And of course, very few armies are defended as fiercely as this one in the pockets of the internet where I hang out in (like this one). For those reasons, other armies behaving worse or better isn't too relevant to what I'm trying to do.

> What do you think would be a good way to measure the morality or conduct of an army?

That's a huge question. As low-hanging fruits, the army can start by recognizing its power over helpless civilians. It can instruct its soldier to not publish TikToks where they're gloating about the death of civilians and the destruction of their cities, and not film themselves destroying toy shops or playing with women's underwear belonging to the civilian population, it can assign protection to aid convoys, or at least not actively shoot them (and I'm not talking about the incident at an aid distribution line from about 2 or 3 weeks ago where the IDF investigators admitted shooting at civilians, there is a recent incident where 5 World Kitchen personnel were killed in an airstrike), not target the UN forces (recent incident in Lebanon), and not gratuitously destroy a city (this report https://www.972mag.com/mass-assassination-factory-israel-calculated-bombing-gaza/, where anonymous sources in the IDF say that every single bomb that fell on Gaza there were exact estimation of how many civilians vs. how many terrorists would be killed, and most of the time those estimates were "a single terrorist in one floor of a building and all the civilians living in the building").

> You say that you believe that only a minority in Israel is interested in peace, what is the source of that assessment?

No single source, an overall Gestalt as I perceive it. The components of this Gestalt are how many members of Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem there are relative to the total population, how are those groups treated (like traitors), the general number of polls that ask questions about a Palestinian state or the legitimacy of the current war in Gaza. The sum total of all those pieces of info leads me to conclude that, even from way before October 7th, Israel and the majority of Israelis are not interested in peace with Palestinians. They're very interested in peace with the Middle East west and south of the Levant, as a tactic to neutralize the Palestinian problem and obtain legitimacy to delay the resolution indefinitely.

(Of course, "Interested in Peace" is implicitly being defined operatively here as "Ready to make concessions for Peace". Because obviously, everyone is "interested in Peace" with no concessions, Putin is interested in Peace, Hamas is very interested in peace, and so is Netanyahu. That's why I measure "Interested in Peace" by how many Israelis are supporters of a Palestinian state, or how many are not supporters of the current war in Gaza.)

> Do you believe the “peace seeking” rate has changed with time? To what direction, and what do you think caused it?

Who knows. The traditional wisdom is that there was Oslo in the 1990s and with it a real hope for lasting peace, but then came the second Intifada and destroyed it. Many people challenge this narrative, many for example point to the Yitzhak Rabin speech where he says Palestinians will only be allowed "less than a state" entity as evidence that even the much glorified Oslo was not in fact a good peace process. I was an unborn/a baby at the time so I couldn't follow it firsthand.

What I think is the real reason that Israelis are not interested in peace is the fact that no real consequences are imposed for warmongering on part of Israel. Why would anyone do anything if they're not pressured? At the end of the day Israelis have a state and Palestinians do not, they're in a position to indefinitely keep attacking Palestinians and prolonging the conflict till the Palestinian population is fatigued and accept whatever scraps they're willing to give, if any. This is why I support BDS as a concept and think it's a key piece of puzzle in a peace process. (while not necessarily agreeing with all actions and rhetoric that BDS as a concrete movement is actually engaging in)

> What types of actions will demonstrate to you that a large part of Israeli citizens are interested in peace? That the government is interested in peace?

Government: Expulsion of all settlers outside of Israel's internationally recognized borders, which technically aren't even the Green Line (this is just the 1949 armistice), but let's say it's for the sake of this conversation. No settlers outside the Green Line means no West Bank settlement, and no Golan Heights settlement either, and none in Jerusalem.

If we're talking only citizens with no military power, then actions that demand such an expulsion. Political parties centered around it as a platform. Demonstration in support of it. Polls showing the majority (> 60%) are in support of it. And so on.

> Should “peace seeking” actions be taken by the Israeli government, what do you think will be the Palestinian response?

Who are the exact Palestinians responding? Hamas? PA? ordinary citizens of Gaza and the West Bank? It will depend. I don't think I'm confident enough in any of the models I have of them to predict a response.

> If the response turns out to be negative to Israel, especially if it puts its citizens in danger, what do you think will be the morally appropriate response?

You will notice that I carefully choose the word "Settlers" and not "Israelis", so I believe that a Palestinian response which puts Israeli civilians in Israel in danger is unrealistic while the IDF is still there.

If you mean after the eventual withdrawal of the IDF and the establishment of a full Palestinian state (or 2) which then proceeded to attack Israel despite whatever treaties and assurances that the peace process that established it have given Israel, the morally appropriate response would be to respond to aggression with exactly enough aggression to ward it off and not a single bit more.

> What do you think about the evacuations of settlements from Gaza? Do you think it was right/wrong? Strategically, morally?

Good decision executed terribly. Morally it was good, although not the only good decision (another one would have been annexing Gaza and making all Gazans full citizens, which of course most Israelis do not want for reasons that they insist are not racist but suspiciously looks like very racist). Strategically it was disastrous because it was executed unilaterally, not even waiting for a government of Gaza to be up-and-running before withdrawal.

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>If you mean after the eventual withdrawal of the IDF and the establishment of a full Palestinian state (or 2) which then proceeded to attack Israel despite whatever treaties and assurances that the peace process that established it have given Israel, the morally appropriate response would be to respond to aggression with exactly enough aggression to ward it off and not a single bit more.

Do you believe the US declaring war on Japan after Pearl Harbor and fighting them to the point where they unconditionally surrendered was immoral?

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I don't think the comparison is apt. Israel is more akin to Japan in this case and has been starting the aggression since it's founding which was based on pretty racist expulsion of natives, to free up land for jews.

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The point of the comparison is the similarity of October 7th and Pearl Harbor, in terms of both being a surprise attack with significant casualties made by an inferior military power towards a superior one. In this case I was curious whether HatesIP's theory of wartime morality would imply that the US was immoral in conquering Japan as a result of the Pearl Harbor attacks. It seems that he does believe that said conquest was immoral. I disagree, and I imagine many others would disagree with him as well, but it is a consistent view.

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I think they aren't analogous because Israel is ultimately the aggressor and Palestinians are ultimately fighting for their rights. the latter has just cause and the former does not.

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Comparison is dishonest and misleading, too much baggage from Imperial Japan to be useful.

For what it's worth, I believe that firebombing Japanese cities in particular, and the 2 nuclear bombings, to be obviously immoral and unerasable mark of shame on the USA and its political leadership.

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>Comparison is dishonest and misleading, too much baggage from Imperial Japan to be useful.

Is your position then that the moral thing to do in a war is to fight the enemy only with enough force as is necessary to prevent them from harming you: unless they have baggage?

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No, it's not, my position on war is to know the enemy well and not to fall for obvious propagandistic invocations of Godwin's law. Having known the enemy well, proceed to use exactly enough force as is necessary to protect yourself, which you can't know unless you know the enemy well.

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> What do you think was the Israeli government's aim when it did it?

Warding off human rights violations accusations in the West Bank, and delaying and distracting the peace process that will start its withdrawal from the West Bank. Here's the English Wikipedia page about the disengagement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_disengagement_from_Gaza where senior members of Sharon's government basically lay out all their thinking about the matter. A relevant quote:

>> the parameters of a unilateral solution are: To maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem... Twenty-three years ago, Moshe Dayan proposed unilateral autonomy. On the same wavelength, we may have to espouse unilateral separation... [it] would inevitably preclude a dialogue with the Palestinians for at least 25 years.

Not exactly a peace-seeking mindset.

> What do you think is the most moral solution to the conflict? What does peace look like for you?

Single state between Gaza and Galilee, secular with special recognition for Jewish holidays and other customs (e.g. Kosher). The issue of the Golan and Shebaa farms solved separately in later negotiations with future saner governments of Lebanon and Syria. Preferably Right of Return for whomever can prove descendance from Nakba survivors, but appropriate financial compensation will serve equally well. Right of Return and/or financial compensation to Jews who can prove they fled the Middle East due to persecution.

> Do you think peace is possible with the current Palestinas governments, meaning the PA and Hamas?


> If not, what do you believe will practically cause a change in leadership?

A change of leadership in Israel that reverses the decade-long sling towards Right Wing ultranationalism and religious Zionism. This new government will then hopefully advance peace plans that the current governments of Palestinians will reject or drag their feet in negotiating, which will trigger a mini-Arab-Spring against them from Palestinians. Each step in this scenario is unrealistic on its own, but it's one possible path towards peace.

> What do you think Israel is morally permitted to do about it?

Expel settlers, change the government, advance peace plans, keep defensive IDF presence in the territories, and defend itself only and precisely when attacked.

> I’m assuming you don’t think peace is possible with the current Israeli government. What do you think about other Israeli parties/leaders? Beni Gantz, Yair Lapid, Yair Golan? Mansor Abbas?

I don't know enough about any of them nor the machinery of Israeli elections or government to have an intelligent opinion. Ehud Olmert looks moderate *enough* from what I read in Haaretz, anyone like him can serve as the first step in deradicalization and de-ultra-nationalization of Israel, not the final step - far from it - just the first one.

> Let's imagine that “the other side” proposed a two-state solution, based on 67 lines, some kind of joint control of Jerusalem, no/limited right of return for Palestinians to Israel, but some kind of financial compensation for those who lost property in the 48 war - What do you think will be the response from the Israeli side? The Palestinian side?

Who is the "Other side"? A 3rd party? Arab or not Arab?

The proposal itself looks fine. I can't predict how any future Israelis or Palestinians will react, but current Israelis will almost certainly reject even admitting the Nakba, and current Palestinians will probably reject it too because decades of hardliners trained them to accept nothing less than full return to Israel.

> Taking into account both moral and practicality, what do you think each side should do to promote peace? Hamas? PA? Israeli government?

Hamas: Return Hostages and declare minimal/nominal trials and investigation for October 7th war crimes. Only target the Israeli military in future attacks, if possible by restricting operations to the West Bank. Pay compensation for all families of the non-military dead and captured. Gradually de-radicalize away from Islamic Jihadism to a more moderate doctrine of armed resistance that takes geopolitical realities into account.

PA: Collapse and be replaced by a new government.

Israeli government: Expel all settlers outside of the Green Line, keeping the infrastructure they built and handing it over to a PA successor (in the case of Golan Heights, Assad's successor) as a kind of reparations. In case no successor to the PA (and Assad) is ready and willing, keep the settler cities and infrastructure under IDF control till a successor is ready and willing. Reward each episode of Hamas' de-radicalization with a de-escalation of the siege of Gaza. Begin a process of reconciliation and compensation to civilians whose homes were destroyed in Gaza.

Those actions can be done partially as experiments. For example Hamas can return half the hostages and investigate fighters who appeared on video doing war crimes, PA is already partially collapsing and being reformed into a new government so all what remains is Abbas abdicating, Israel can start by expelling settlers who came to Israel less than a decade ago. (In actual reality, Haaretz reported a couple of weeks ago that Israel is approving more settlement construction and granting legitimacy to more previously illegal settlements).

> What happens, to each side, if everything goes wrong? What happens if it goes right? How likely do you think each outcome is?

If everything goes wrong, each action by each side goes unrewarded and destroys it eventually. Hamas return of hostages only invites further death and destruction in Gaza, PA is replaced by an even more corrupt and collaborating government that further accelerates settlement and oppresses/neglects Palestinians, and Israeli concessions result in a Third Intifada more violent than the second.

If everything goes right, each action by each side accelerates the de-escalation by the other sides, essentially running the history of the conflict since 1948 in reverse.

Most outcomes are unlikely. Israel won't deradicalize without sanctions and the rest of BDS. Hamas is an Islamist organization, it rewards more extremism and one-up-Manship, its incentive structure is designed for such. The PA is a typical Arab government and those are extremely hard to change from the roots even if you happened to change the individual faces in front of the Camera and the individual butts sitting on the seats of power.

> I will be very grateful if you'll answer them

I answered all of them as much as the depth of my consideration and thinking about them allows, some questions I haven't considered before, notably many about Israeli concessions because those are historically rare and unlikely, but I have tried to consider it as carefully as possible while I'm answering them, but many of my answers are provisional.

I can't think of well-phrased questions of my own as of now. But I might think of them later when you reply.

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Apr 3·edited Apr 3

Many Thanks for your answer! You wrote an interesting and detailed proposal.

( edit: never mind the nit, it was incorrect )

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Thank you for answering! I am finding it hard to put what I’m thinking into words, but anyway I am not sure how much value writing everything down has right now, and it is past midnight. You are right that I served in the IDF, but not in a combat position by any way. I think that I’ll start reading more about modern warfare and aid, outside of just the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and perhaps that will be the missing piece to make sense.

Of course feel free to ask any questions that may pop up later!

Here are a few things that might interest you or others:

- Some Israeli Knesset parties stated that their direct aim is a two state solution in the last election. You have Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid, the second biggest party in Israel with 24 seats, The Avoda led by Merav Michaeli with 4 seats, and also Raam and Hadash-Taal, two Arab Israeli parties, with 5 seats each. You also had Meretz led by Yair Golan, which didn’t get enough votes to get a seat at the Knesset. So out of 120 Knesset seats, 38 were held by parties that openly supported the two state solution, most of them “jewish” parties.

(And just as a little tidbit, Raam is led by Mansor Abbas and was the first Arab Israeli party to join the coalition, in the previous government.)

- Another thing that you might find interesting is the volatility in the Israeli government. A full term of the Knesset is supposed to be four years, but it is rarely achieved. Another thing is that Israel has no term limit, so the present prime minister acted as one for 16 years! I don’t know how much of what I wrote is already known by you, but if you’re interested I’ll be happy to write more about internal Israeli politics.

- There is an Israeli group called “Commanders for Israel’s Security”. They’re a bunch of ex military guys advocating for “seperating” from the Palastinans. To quote their website:

“Members of the movement are united around a common vision: Israel as a secure, democratic state with a solid Jewish majority for generations, conducting itself in accordance with the spirit and values of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

To realize this vision, Israel must advance a security-based separation from the Palestinians and pursue peaceful relations with pragmatic countries of the region, all with a view of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and contributing to regional stability.

The eventual agreement with the Palestinians should be based on the principle of two states for two peoples and account for Israel’s security needs.”

Here’s their website in english: https://en.cis.org.il/

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No problem. Feel free to respond later either in this thread or a new top-level thread in another Open Thread.

> So out of 120 Knesset seats, 38 were held by parties that openly supported the two state solution, most of them “Jewish” parties.

Interesting, about 1/3 of the people's representation then? What does it mean to put Jewish between quotes? Are they Jewish or not? Are all parties open to Arabs or not? Do parties having Arabs receive less votes than parties with comparable policies and position with no Arabs amidst their ranks?

>I don’t know how much of what I wrote is already known by you, but if you’re interested I’ll be happy to write more about internal Israeli politics.

Yes, do write more about Israeli politics. The information is all there on Wikipedia, I'm sure, but in a confusing and dry format that doesn't make it very easy to connect facts and incidents. If you're like me, you would agree that writing and opinions based on facts is - vast majority of the time - better than writing and opinions not based on facts. Facts naturally moderate and counterweight extremism, as in actual practice nobody is the devil, and nobody is the angel.

I knew about Israel having no term limits, I never thought about it explicitly, but I knew that Netanyahu was elected sometimes after Ehud Olmert in the late 2000s and kept being Prime Minister with only a brief months-long hiatus in 2021/2022. So I knew the fact one way or another.

> They’re a bunch of ex-military guys advocating for “separating” from the Palestinians.

I will have to read more about them, the only thing mentioned in their Wikipedia page is how they disagreed with Netanyahu once and he called them leftists. One thing I don't like is how they keep using the word "Security", and I have learned that this word in the Israeli parlance is euphemism for "Subjugate the Palestinians and humiliate them and dispossess them to no end and call anybody who notices an antisemite". But there is not much in the writing on their websites that suggest this till now.

What I would like to see is precise census data that shows at least 30% of Israelis are - in aggregate - enrolled or supportive of organizations like B'Tselem, Standing Together, Breaking the Silence, Land for All, Commanders for Israeli Security, etc.... I have no trouble that I can find a similar percentage enrolled or supportive of Pro-Colonization movements that (among other things) are calling for resettling Gaza right now, so to change my mind that the Pro-Peace or at least thinking-about-peace faction of Israel is not a minority I will need to see data that suggests a significant percentage like 30% or 40% of Israelis do actually support a full and non-demilitarized Palestinian state or a single state or binational confederation or whatever.

But if Polls are anything to go by, most Polls don't show Israelis are interested in Peace in the same number they're interested in settling and resettling lands not theirs.

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I think you are a smart and reasonable dude. I dearly hope Netanyahu is crushed at the next election (and Biden too for enabling him); I hope Israelis can see that his strategy of “security” and “managing the conflict” has led to more conflict, not less.

I am Israeli in the sense that I hold an israeli passport and have an aunt and cousin who live in Israel. None of us support Netanyahu or Likud. I hope you can speak to many such people and we can build bonds of understanding and recognise mutual humanity. May peace prevail

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deletedApr 2
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Israelis are an invasive force, they don't intend to benefit Palestinians but ideally make life so ruthless for them they are forced to leave and free up more land for Jews.

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Israel can't really benefit the Palestinians who elected genocidal terrorist organization Hamas to be their representative (and they still have very high level of support for Hamas, if you believe the polls made in Gaza). Those who chose different path - like Arab citizens of Israel, over 2 million of them - yes, Israel benefits them a lot.

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I do not think that Palestinian people benefited from Israel's existence, but it wasn’t really my point either. It is a point that you heard the pro Israeli side make? I’m surprised by that because the arguments I hear tend to do more with Israel’s historic claim to the land/right to defend itself/the Palestinians don’t want peace anyway. Do you remember when you heard/read about that argument? I’d love to know more because it honestly took me by surprise.

Regarding Abu Gharib and sadism: if possible, can you specify which social media posts/incidents are you referring to, and what do you think would be an appropriate response? I don’t know if you are referring to incidents of the like, but I remember a few months back a soldier sang a jewish prayer in a mosque. A lot of people in Israel wrote about it and condemned it, and the soldier was removed from active duty.

Anyway, if you think that the IDF is in the ballpark of the american army actions, that is good enough for me for the rest of the discussion. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the last war. What I am interested in understanding is “the other side” standards and aspirations. What do you think Israel should do, both morally and practically? If Israel took a positive action yet it backfired, what do you think Israel should be permitted to do? Please be as detailed as you can bear, thank you.

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Not to barge into a conversation not mine, but since AY98 probably doesn't intend to reply, I will reply to your questions myself.

> is it a point that you heard the pro Israeli side make?

Yes, they do. Very frequently. Starting from the repeated assertions that most/all Palestinians are actually economic immigrants from Egypt and the Levant who came to Palestine in the 1920s and the 1930s to work on the Jews' farms and Kibbutzim, and ending with similar assertions about how modern-day West Bank Palestinians are actually better off with the occupation of their lands by Israel because then Israeli companies and businesses can employ them and give them higher salaries than their counterparts who aren't employed in Israeli companies and businesses or other Arabs outside of Palestine. Implicit in most of those assertions are racist worldviews and racist insinuations that Jewish minds are the true money-making component of businesses and all Arabs are merely mindless "hands" to execute Jewish visions.

> can you specify which social media posts/incidents are you referring to

I can't possibly know what the original poster was referring to when they wrote this, but - in particular - here are several instances where the IDF plausibly engaged in torture and/or mistreatment of captives:

(1) Haaretz: France to Take Legal Action Against French-Israeli Soldiers Involved in War Crimes in Gaza, https://archive.ph/nbhqI, (paywalled original: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-03-28/ty-article/.premium/france-to-take-legal-action-against-french-israeli-soldiers-involved-in-war-crimes-in-gaza/0000018e-8530-d0d3-a98e-d7ff169e0000)

French-Israeli soldier allegedly shared himself while boasting in French about torturing suspects captured in Gaza, video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTOrvhRs4l8. French lawmakers then declared that all French nationals engaged in the war will be investigated and those found to have committed war crimes will be prosecuted.

(2) Amnesty International: Horrifying cases of torture and degrading treatment of Palestinian detainees amid spike in arbitrary arrests, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/11/israel-opt-horrifying-cases-of-torture-and-degrading-treatment-of-palestinian-detainees-amid-spike-in-arbitrary-arrests/

(3) Haaretz: Physicians for Human Rights called the conditions at the military medical compound in Israel – where patients are kept shackled and blindfolded the entire time – 'torture', https://archive.ph/As7fU, (paywalled original: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-03-12/ty-article/.premium/nameless-shackled-blindfolded-medical-treatment-of-detainees-from-gaza-examined/0000018e-327a-d5ad-addf-7e7bca660000)

(4) Haaretz editorial: Israel Must Stop Abusing and Humiliating Palestinian Prisoners, https://archive.ph/0weER, (paywalled original: https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/2024-01-03/ty-article-opinion/israel-must-stop-the-beating-and-humiliation-of-palestinian-prisoners/0000018c-cbf7-dc35-adee-cbf7961c0000)

> I remember a few months back a soldier sang a Jewish prayer in a mosque

That wasn't the worst thing posted by IDF personnel on TikTok.

(1) IDF soldiers destroys toy shop while laughing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuCGikC7YNM

(2) IDF soldiers posing and playing with women underwear found in abandoned Gazan homes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq5N4s1DxnE

(3) IDF soldier destroys a Gazan house while filming himself dedicating it to his daughter's birthday: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/IZ7NpSCpzSA

(4) CNN reports about many instances of IDF soldiers filming themselves destroying universities and mosques while laughing and making fun of Palestinians: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D3uQbiE8No

I can go on and on, keep in mind that I don't have a TikTok, that's just what filters down to YouTube and not just any YouTube, but official news channels on YouTube (CNN, Reuters). If I had a full day and a TikTok account, I can probably fill an Open Thread worth of links of IDF soldiers documenting and posting themselves violating the so called IDF "purity of arms" code of conduct guide, internationally agreed upon rules of warfare, and just plain humanity and decentness.

> A lot of people in Israel wrote about it and condemned it, and the soldier was removed from active duty

If someone were to do something similar to a Jewish Synagogue, would this reprimand be enough?

> What do you think Israel should do, both morally and practically?

I have answered this question in general in my other 2 comments to you, but in the particular case of the IDF behavior in Gaza, what Israel should do to punish the self-described "Most Moral Army" is real punishment, real monetary fines (> $10K) and real jail time, all aired in public. Naming and shaming soldiers who engage in this behavior. Compensation to civilians in Gaza too, as a bonus.

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Iowa women playing LSU in a minute. According to Michael Che there are bars that only show women’s sports. They’re called ‘the empty ones.’

Ah cmon Michael,this is some good basketball and the are called sports bras.

Oh, man and Caitlin drains her first three pointer.

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It's always struck me as odd that women's college basketball, at least in my experience, is WAY more widely viewed and followed than women's professional basketball. I guess it's probably at least in part because people have inbuilt loyalties to the schools, but other women's college sports don't get nearly the same attention.

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