Been too long since I’ve done this, stupid life keeps getting in the way.
The most fascinating Treasure Hunt story I’ve read in a long time. For over 210 years humans have been trying to dig 140 feet down on an island in Canada, and failing over and over. Tons of man-hours, money, and a number of lives have beenlost in the attempt. One company even built a bridge from this otherwise worthless island to the mainland to facilitate the hunt. It ends kinda like you’d expect.
Moderate voters are a myth?
“Moderates are just as likely as anyone else to hold extreme positions: it’s just that those positions don’t all line up on the left or the right.
“There’s even reason to believe “average voters” hold more extreme opinions: engaged Democrats and Republicans tend to adopt the positions held by their parties, and parties tend to adopt positions that are popular, achievable and workable.
“the idea of the moderate middle is bullshit: it’s a rhetorical device meant to marginalize some policy positions at the expense of others”
The US Sought Permission To Change The Historical Record Of A Public Court Proceeding. How many years away are we from Eurasia Has Always Been At War With Eastasia?
We’re hearing about it because the judge said WTF and “ultimately, the government said that it had *not* revealed classified information at the hearing and removed its request.”
In Moloch news - This post (Gnon and Elua) is so thick with jargon that it won’t mean much to most people, but the argument in summary is this: A world of conflict, where one can live and struggle and die with purpose, is preferable to a hedonic utopia where there are no goals or challenges, only an eternal heroin bliss. Or, put more simply, a shitty difficult life on earth is still vastly preferable to Heaven.
I find myself agreeing with this position very strongly.
But it was pointed out by others that if we humans really need struggle for our values to be fulfilled, then that is part of our Eutopia. If our benevolent god can’t make a utopia better than a perpetual heroin dream, it’s totally failed at God-ing.
Sayeth John Scalzi: “why does their Kindle Direct boilerplate have language in it that says that Amazon may unilaterally change the parameters of their agreement with authors? … between my publisher and Amazon, one of them gets to utter the immortal Darth Vader line “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it further” to authors doing business with it and one does not.”
Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. With lines like:
“If you want my advice, Cedric, you’ve made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?”
Cedric shook his head. “How do you always manage to decide?”
“How can you let others decide for you?”
They’re doing the entire series. This reminds me of why I liked Atlas Shrugged. I miss this sort of writing style. I guess I’m still a melodramatic goth kid at heart.
I think I’m starting to enjoy this particular religion. :) Satanists want to use Hobby Lobby decision to exempt women from anti-abortion laws.
Superman taught me to kill
“Today’s online first-person-shooters might make kids enjoy violence. I don’t know. But at least these kids learn that violence has risks, and that it’s easier to start a fight than to end it. Video games don’t show kids over and over that the good guys are super-powerful and could easily solve everybody’s problems without anybody innocent getting hurt if they just stopped being wimps and killed all the bad guys. Counterstrike might have lead to school shootings, but Superman led to the invasion of Iraq”
Why a fanfic?
“if Azkaban were a feature of a world of my own invention, someone might ask whether Harry’s reaction to it, or the fact that other people in magical Britain seem not to notice it as a moral horror would rest on wobbly floors. They might accuse me of having constructed an absurd parody for political purposes, where Rowling is not as easily subject to this charge.”
Lawsuit alleging the Happy Birthday song is not in copyright, and Warner owes the world hundreds of millions. I hope they win SO HARD.
This is fun! Literary Genre Translations. Original Text: “I ate a sandwich and looked out the window.” (SF version: “I placed the allotted nutrition capsules on my tongue bed and looked to the Nahin VI-8373 space podhole.”)
First – NICE! Sneaky and clever and effective. So much win.
Second – I completely relate because THAT IS MY JOB. Well, ok, that is one aspect of my job. But I would be the guy going “OK, WTF is with all these transfers on our bank account, and how do I fix it?”
(FWIW, I’m quite low on the totem pole. It’s likely the *actual* CFO of most of these corporations never saw anything. Their time is too valuable to be looking over friggin bank statements.)
Oh teh lulz!
“HeartMath’s website is impeccable. Their representatives gave a presentation to a hospital full of doctors – including cardiologists and neurologists – without any missteps that made them look anything less than reputable.
...And then you look a little deeper and you find out that their cute little relaxation exercises are actually a plot to connect to higher dimensions beyond time and space and immanentize the eschaton by messing with Earth’s magnetic field, possibly with the help of $60,000 worth of giant coils and/or Yog-Sothoth.”
How to make Twilight not suck! (good head-canon)
A great post from one of the supposed target demo of YA novels about what she actually wants.
“I’ve had my own friends go over YA parameters they disagreed with but feel the need to adhere to. They’re always something like this:
No blatant sex, drugs, violence, or cursing.
Nothing too complex.
Stick to characters and themes that are easy to understand.
Otherwise, the book “won’t sell”. Won’t sell to whom?
I’d sure as hell buy something that went against each and every one of those points.
…I grew up in Detroit—America’s capital of violent crime and murder. If you know anything about Detroit, then you know it’s closer than any city in America to becoming a modern urban dystopia. And yet the only message I’ve managed to pull from half the dystopias on shelves is that “the government” is “after me”.”
I hate “science reporters” so much….
In well-worn “the past was terrible” news - Children aren’t worth very much—that’s why we no longer make many
“before the demographic transition, children were essentially the property of their parents. Their labor could be used for the parents’ good, and they were accustomed to strict and austere treatment. Parents had claims not only to their children’s labor in childhood, but even to their wealth in adulthood. To put it crudely, marrying a wife meant buying a slave factory, and children were valuable slaves.”
I learned something new and, frankly, absolutely funktastic.
“Starchild’s nemesis is Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk … His goal is to place the minds of all humanity into a state called the Zone of Zero Funkativity. Starchild, on the other hand, uses his Bop Gun to achieve “Funkentelechy” for all humanity. With the Funky powers of the Bop Gun Starchild causes Sir Nose to reach Funkentelechy, and find his Funky soul. He then dances away the night.”
There is more.
In keeping with the government’s theme of “Let’s crack down on these uppity women and their so-called ‘rights’ ” week – The EFF on Why Everyone Should be Concerned By the Seizure of MyRedBook.Com
“Being forced to depend upon your employer for your access to healthcare is a shitty, shitty system.
The reason I’ve come to believe that healthcare is a human right is because it’s about survival, and about control. Someone else controlling your healthcare, your decisions, puts them in no small measure in control of your life.”
Literally the ghost of a song. Sounds appropriately ghosty, which makes me happy.
Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws
“a number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments”
“the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws.”
And ending with way too many words – In Defense of Facebook(‘s recent social experiment)
“First, these effects are tiny. The largest effect size reported had the monumental effect of shifting that user’s own emotional word use by two hundredths of a standard deviation
the suggestion that Facebook “manipulated users’ emotions” is quite misleading. … Facebook simply removed emotional messages for some users. … it’s certainly not credible to suggest that replacing 10% – 90% of emotional content with neutral content constitutes a potentially dangerous manipulation of people’s subjective experience
the Facebook news feed is, and has always been, a completely contrived environment … Instead, what you’re presented with is a carefully curated experience that is crafted in such a way as to create a more engaging experience. The items you get to see are determined by a complex and ever-changing algorithm
virtually every large company with a major web presence is constantly conducting large controlled experiments on user behavior with the explicit goal of helping to increase revenue. if the idea that Facebook would actively try to manipulate your behavior bothers you, you should probably also stop using Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Twitter, Amazon, and pretty much every other major website
it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s nothing intrinsically evil about the idea that large corporations might be trying to manipulate your experience and behavior. Everybody you interact with–including every one of your friends, family, and colleagues–is constantly trying to manipulate your behavior in various ways. Your mother wants you to eat more broccoli; your friends want you to come get smashed with them at a bar; your boss wants you to stay at work longer and take fewer breaks.
the present backlash will do absolutely nothing to deter Facebook from actually conducting controlled experiments on its users. What [it] will almost certainly do is decrease the scientific community’s access to, and interaction with, one of the largest and richest sources of data on human behavior in existence