This is the Quality Contributions Roundup. It showcases interesting and well-written comments and posts from the period covered. If you want to get an idea of what this community is about or how we want you to participate, look no further (except the rules maybe--those might be important too).
As a reminder, you can nominate Quality Contributions by hitting the report button and selecting the "Actually A Quality Contribution!" option. Additionally, links to all of the roundups can be found in the wiki of /r/theThread which can be found here. For a list of other great community content, see here.
These are mostly chronologically ordered, but I have in some cases tried to cluster comments by topic so if there is something you are looking for (or trying to avoid), this might be helpful.
Quality Contributions in the Main Motte
- "That was the most ridiculous thing I have ever read, and that should mean a lot, because I have read many books, papers, articles, comics, and pamphlets - and some of them were ridiculous on purpose."
- "...there is one area that always rubs me the wrong way. It is smart people who don't know dumb people talking about intelligence."
- "Every few hours, when I get tired of sneaking a cheeky vape in the millions of bathrooms and liminal stairwells that litter my hospital, I'll head over to the back of the building, in a secluded, roped off area that's the de-facto smoker's haunt of the place."
- "The femcel narrator's view of herself as the putative underdog ('She wears short-skirts I wear T Shirts, she's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers') is the kind of self-view every American takes of themselves."
- "Nobody is offering me free benzos to keep me from going too far in defense of my own property."
- "Show up and take the bitch's gun away. Then I might be in a frame of mind for free heroin."
Contributions for the week of August 28, 2023
- "This is an easy case, and if we can't even refrain from thumbing the scale when our ideological enemies are so easily defeated by pointing to the truth, we have no chance on anything remotely hard."
Contributions for the week of September 4, 2023
- "The Washington Post complains that 'Southwest had a constitutional right to issue a memo expressing its disagreement with the jury verdict'."
- "Yeah, it's clear that the thumb has been on the scale to benefit the producers of fake meat-like products."
- "It's either staggering incompetence or a scapegoat for the loss, but at least in PA, The Republican party were all for mail in voting... until they weren't."
All Moderators Are Bastards
- "Sometimes you do see cops acting more aggressive and antagonistic than the situation calls for, when it's clear they are out of patience, but only rarely have I seen cops really behaving like "bastards" or taking down someone who didn't need to be taken down or using unnecessary force."
The Aliens Have Landed Gentry
- "Iomedae sounds like an idiot on the subject of immigration, because she's very clearly being an author-mouthpiece."
- "Hawaii (1966) is about a Christian missionary founding the first church on Maui in 1820, and it is an antique in so many ways."
- "To the surprise of no one, sanctuary cities don't actually want hundreds of thousands of poor foreigners wandering about in their backyards."
- "I was on one of these busses that was filled with migrants sometime around the beginning of the year."
Contributions for the week of September 11, 2023
- "The pro vax redditor repeated the simple talking points drilled into his or her head during an emotional time and identified Novak as a villain."
- "I sometimes wonder if 'sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' is an even more effective description of human psychology than it was intended to be."
- "We are bound by the laws of physics, but we don't actually know what all the laws of physics are yet."
- "If the 'philsopher-kings' existed and were actually competent I believe they would just exactly recreate money and artificial scarcity."
Will the Real America Please Stand Up?
- "Americans believe they are free and equal, but free men will not be equal, and equal men are not free."
- "My generation grew up with healthy diversity and colorblindness on TV, and then we threw it away to punish our ancestors."
Contributions for the week of September 18, 2023
- "Our sex culture needs a deeper culture change in order to work for most people again, but we have to find a way to fix this! Our whole future is riding on it."
- "On American Graffiti, Street Rod Shows, the Meaning of Teenage Rebellion, and Watching a Subculture Choose Death Over Diversity"
- "There is this meme/observation - in the 60s the car manuals included how to adjust the valves, Today the warning is to not drink from the washing fluid."
The Best Offence is a Good Defense
Who's Cheating Whom?
- "The thing is, I straight-up don't think Progressives generally care about fidelity in marriage, in any way I recognize as 'caring about marriage'."
- "Maybe, they think, you can keep the positive commitment of marriage, without the stifling confines of sexual exclusivity."
Contributions for the week of September 25, 2023
- "I started reading and thinking about Theodore Kaczynski's Industrial Society And It's Future around the time that he died and everyone was talking about it."
- "It's fun to imagine those staffers, and the circumstances that lead the Liberal Party and Parliament to have nobody in the entire chain equipped to realize that 'fought against the Russians in WWII' needs a second look. What an unbelievable unforced error."
This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.
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In this episode, an authoritarian and some anarchist(s) have an unhinged conversation about policing.
Participants: Yassine, Kulak, & Hoffmeister25 [Note: the latter's voice has been modified to protect him from the progressive nanny state's enforcement agents.]
About the Daniel Penny Situation (Hoffmeister25)
Posse comitatus (Wikipedia)
The Iron Rule (Anarchonomicon)
Eleven Magic Words (Yassine Meskhout)
Blackstone's ratio (Wikipedia)
Halfway To Prison Abolition (Yassine Meskhout)
Defunding My Mistake (Yassine Meskhout)
Recorded 2023-09-16 | Uploaded 2023-09-25
This is a weekly thread for people to discuss international news, foreign policy or IR history. I usually start off with coverage of some current events from a mix of countries I follow personally and countries I think the forum might be interested in. Feel free to drop in with coverage of countries you’re interested in, talk about ongoing dynamics like the Ukraine War, the Canada-India beef, or even just whatever you’re reading.
The Dominican Republic has closed its border with Haiti (tbh surprised this took so long) over the construction of a Haitian canal that:
Officials in the Dominican Republic say the project will divert water from the Massacre River, which runs in both countries, and violate the 1929 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Arbitration.
Presumably the spillover of lawlessness was also a concern.
The details of a Kenyan led multinational intervention force for Haiti are finally being hammered out. Kenya will pledge 1000 troops; America will pledge $100 million to the operation, and has also now signed a defense agreement with Kenya to help them combat the Jihadi group Al Shabaab. This has taken a remarkably long time (it still hasn’t been finally approved by the UN) given that President Moïse was assassinated two years ago and the country has been in semi-anarchy since. It is definitely less than ideal to use a country whose soldiers don’t speak French and is currently dealing with charges of police brutality in the ICC, but it’s something I guess.
Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt held the second round of talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which would double Ethiopia’s electricity generation but Sudan and Egypt are both worried would imperil their water supply. Unfortunately the talks seemingly brought the countries no closer to an agreement. According to Ethiopian President Abiy, the dam is now fully ready to be brought into operation - hopefully they work something out soon! There is supposed to be one more round of talks, which so far all the parties are still willing to attend.
Fighting seems to have flared up again in the Amhara region, where the ethnic militia Fano has been in rebellion over Abiy’s attempt to integrate it into the national armed forces.
Poland will be holding elections on the 15th, along with a general referendum on migration on the same day. Don’t know much about it and would be interested to hear from others:
While in 2019 PiS won 43.6% of the vote, the party is now several percentage points below that level of success at 38% as of 9 September, according to the latest POLITICO poll. Trailing behind Pis is Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition party - Koalicja Obywatelska - with 30% of the vote and the far-right Confederation Freedom and Independence - Konfederacja Wolsność i Niepodległość - with 11% of the vote. The current polls suggest that PiS, which has been ruling Poland since 2015, might look for a coalition partner to form the next government as it fails to reach an overall majority, though it’s still unclear where it will find one.
Azerbaijan has fully reasserted control over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia has warned against harming Armenians, but the 2000 Russian peacekeepers who were put in place to end the 2020 conflict do not seem to have the capacity or interest in helping them (The Azeri President Aliyev apologized to Putin for killing some of them and it’s apparently chill). This is likely the culmination of the past three years - Russia didn’t do much to help Armenia in the 2020 conflict either, and since then Armenia withdrew from CSTO and have sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Recently the Armenian President said publicly that they cannot rely on Russia to defend them anymore and had begun conducting joint military drills with the US.
Iran has warned against “border changes,” which is interesting. Iran doesn’t want to derail the overland routes they've invested in to be built across Armenia, and has also historically been a weapons supplier for the country (in part because Azerbaijan receives weapons from Israel). But they have something of a delicate game to play when challenging Azerbaijan, due to their own ~16% Azeri minority on the border. Previous President Rouhani made it a major initiative to improve relations with Iranian Azeris (some of whom are very integrated and others of whom occasionally protest) by allowing Azeri to be taught in schools, recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijan territory, and staying out of the 2020 conflict. Still, however, Azerbaijan regularly accuses Iran of favoring Armenia and tensions have never really disappeared.
Meanwhile, a pretty big chunk of the population in Nagorno Karabakh seems to be reading the room and heading for Armenia now that the Lachlin corridor is open.
Some 28,000 people — about 23% of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh — have fled to Armenia since Azerbaijan’s swift military operation to reclaim the region after three decades of separatist rule. The mass exodus caused huge traffic jams. The 100-kilometer (60-mile) drive took as long as 20 hours.
Edit: Reports are saying it's up to almost 75% of the population that have now fled.
Speaking of breakaway republics and peacekeeping operations, a group of Serbians opened fire on Albanian policemen, who then returned the favor. The shootout left at least four dead and has further inflamed an increasingly tense situation:
Kurti accused the Serbian government on Sunday of logistically supporting “the terrorist, criminal, professional unit” that fired on Kosovo Police officers. Vucic denied the allegations, saying the gunmen were local Kosovo Serbs “who no longer want to withstand Kurti’s terror.”
President Vučić has demanded the UN deploy a peacekeeping force to take over the nation’s security. There is already a pretty large UN contingent in Kosovo, so I guess mainly he’s asking for a change in their scope of operations. The two countries are supposedly in the process of normalizing relations but it sure doesn’t look too likely at the moment.
Do you remember the coup in Bolivia? Long time socialist President Evo Morales was forced out of office after big protests against voting irregularities. A wacky lady named Jeanine Áñez took power in the wake and started promptly committing massacres. Áñez held off elections as long as possible until they ultimately resulted in Morales’ Movement for Socialism party re-winning the Presidency under his protege Luis Arce.
A lot of people at the time claimed it was a coup; further analysis of the voting records seems to indicate maybe they weren’t actually irregular, and there were suspicions that the west wasn’t wild about Bolivia closely guarding its nationalized lithium ion deposits - suspicions notable lithium-ion fan Elon Musk didn’t help by responding, for some reason, “We will coup whoever we want. Deal with it!” Ironically, Acre has just announced that he will open up Bolivia for lithium extraction from foreign companies.
Either way, things may be coming full circle with Morales returning to the palace after all - he just announced that he will be running in the 2025 election. Acre hasn’t actually formally announced that he himself will be running again, but it’s unlikely that he’ll step aside just because Morales wants him to - the two have experienced a rift over the past few years, with Morales accusing Acre of hounding him with bonus corruption charges. Acre’s justice department will certainly be challenging Morales’ candidacy, but probably deservedly so - he’s already exceeded the constitutional limits on the number of terms you can serve.
And speaking of leaders exceeding term limits, Egypt has announced new elections this December. Current President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi will be running again following amending the constitution to abolish term limits and increase terms to six years up from four. He won his last two elections with nearly 100% of the vote and jailed the last guy who was a serious challenge to him, so most likely he will win this one as well and govern till at least 2030.
The economy overall has been trending downwards. To make up for a lack of financing Egypt has been trying to coax a deal out of the IMF, who wants them to devalue their currency. They’ve now devalued three times in the past year but really the IMF wants them to switch to a floating rate regime that would accurately reflect their currency’s value.
Adding to economic bad news, to many Egyptians’ surprise they have now become embroiled in America’s latest political scandal around Senator Robert Menendez taking Egyptian bribes. This has led to increasing calls to withhold more aid from Egypt, which couldn’t really come at a worse time.
Uganda has been resuming its own role of staying real active in its neighbors’ affairs. Recently they conducted a series of airstrikes against the Islamic State in the DRC (killing approximately “a lot” of fighters). This is part of a multiple decades old conflict - the Allied Democratic Forces is a 90s era Islamist rebel group from Uganda that was eventually driven out into North Kivu and has been attacking Uganda from a distance ever since, allegedly with the support of previous president Joseph Kabila. Recently the AFD joined the broader ISIS umbrella of jihadis and the DRC and Uganda agreed in 2021 to jointly crack down upon them. Since the conflict resumed Uganda has claimed to have killed over 600 jihadis already and has asserted the movement is on its last legs.
President Mosevini also recently offered to help mediate unification talks with Somalia and Somaliland; Somaliland promptly told them to kick rocks.
The vote to see whether conservative leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo could become Prime Minister was held Wednesday, and he failed to cross the threshold of 176 votes. This means socialist PM Pedro Sanchez most likely now gets his chance to form a government, but with the Catalan independence party making strict demands of amnesty Sanchez doesn’t honestly seem much closer to winning either. The most likely result right now seems like another election getting held.
The goal of this thread is to coordinate development on our project codenamed HighSpace - a mod for Freespace 2 that will be a mashup between it and High Fleet. A description of how the mechanics of the two games could be combined is available in the first thread.
Who we have
@FCfromSSC - 2D/3D artist
Me - developer
I hope you don't mind I moved you to Consultants for now, @netstack. I'm always torn between keeping people in their originally declared roles as encouragement, and not wanting to harass them into contributing, when writing the contributor list. I'll be more than happy to re-add you as a dev if you're still on board.
Who we need
The more the merrier, you are free to join in any capacity you wish! I can already identify a few distinct tasks for each position that we could split the work into
developers: “mission” code, “strategic” system map code
artists: 2D (user interface), 3D (space ships, weapons explosions)
writers: worldbuilding/lore, quests, characters
A small note if you want to contribute:
Don't be afraid to ask questions however small, or silly you might find them. This is literally one of the primary functions this thread has. The Hard Light documentation is... there... but it's not great, and between that, the peculiarities of LUA, the FS2 scripting API, RocketLib, and other parts of FS2 modding, it really might not be obvious how to resolve issues you run into. I might not be able to answer all questions, but I've dabbled in all these things, so there's good chances I might be able to help.
What we have
An official Highspace Github Org and Repository
An official Highspace Wiki
Even more concept art for ships, curtesy of @FCfromSSC:
A proof of concenpt for “strategic” system map we jump into on start of the campaign. It contains a friendly ship and 2 enemy ships, you can chose where to move / which enemy ship to attack.
A “tactical” RTS-like in-mission view where you can give commands to your ships.
A somewhat actual-game-like workflow. Attacking a ship launches a mission where the two ships are pitted against each other. If you win, the current health of your ship is saved, and you can launch the second attack. If you clean up the map you are greeted with a “You Win” message, or “You Lose” if you lose your ship.
It was another slow month, but things are finally starting to move. Literally. I added a current time display (set to the very beginning of the universe for now), and time can be paused / started / fast-forwarded. I also added a side bar with some help text (I thought the controls were relatively obvious, only to realize that what seemed obvious depended on the game I was most recently playing). The planets are the only things that move on their own for now, but I should be able to extend that feature to ships pretty soon. I'm not sure if this idea will go anywhere, but I'm thinking of having ships be able to move through conventional and subspace drives, the former obviously only being useful for planet-moon type distances.
Other than that I spent a lot of time optimizing. Brute-forcing my way through "find me the ship under the mouse cursor" was fine for a proof-of-concept, but I was finding myself making more and more "get me the nearest X" queries, so it was time to shove everything into a spatial index. I'm quite happy with the result, but it's not really something you can show off visually (well, unless you really want to).
Getting the ships to move along an orbit.
Real-time ship movement (sub-space, and conventional)
Obstacle mechanics for the planets
This gap between the average male and female life expectancy of given population group is alternately labeled as Life Expectancy Gender Gap (LEGG) or Gender Gap in Life Expectancy (GGLE). Going forward I will be using the LEGG acronym.
There are basically two types of life expectancy. In historical context, we usually refer to the Cohort Life Expectancy. We track a group of people born in a particular year, many decades ago, and observe the exact date in which each one of them died. Then we can calculate this cohort’s life expectancy by simply calculating the average of the ages of all members when they died.
It is of course not possible to know this metric before all members of the cohort have died. That is why when talking about the present and the future we use Period Life Expectancy. This is an estimate of the average length of life for a hypothetical cohort assumed to be exposed, from birth through death, to the mortality rates observed at one particular period – commonly the previous year. Estimates of life expectancy of the current generation, which are also used in the calculations of indexes like the Human Development Index or Gender Development Index, are of this Period Life Expectancy type.
There is a corollary: because we are judging the existing generation based on mortality rates of the previous year only, whatever happened to that generation before that year is not taken into account. So let's say. if there was a recent deadly pandemic that affected one gender disproportionally, and this pandemic ended and is not affecting the mortality rates of the previous year, there will be little evidence of said gender disproportionally in the current life expectancy estimates.
The lost years
The first important thing to know about the LEGG is that its impact is, without an exaggeration, enormous. Let's take for example the US, with a LEGG of 5.8 years at the average predicted age for men and women 73.5 and 79.3 years respectively. Do you see the enormity? You don't, do you.
Ok, let's put things into perspective - how do you measure an impact of early death? With Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL). This is an estimate of the average years a person would have lived if they had not died "prematurely". It is usually reported in years per 100,000 people and the reference, "mature" age should correspond roughly to the life expectancy of the population and is now usually given as 75 years.
Now, men and women in the US lose some 8,265 and 4,862 potential years per of life per 100,000. Given the population as 332 millions, men lose some 5,648,980 more years of potential life than women. Do you see the enormity now? Not yet?
During the roughly 3.5 years of WW2 the US lost 407,300 military and 12,100 civilian lives. With an average life expectancy back then 68 years, and a guestimated age at the time of death 21 years, every killed American lost some 47 years and the US as a whole lost some 5,640,000 potential years of life every year of the war. Do you see the enormity of the LEGG now? I think you do.
The second important think to know about the LEGG is that nobody seem to care. Biologists, statisticians, politicians, Wikipedians - not even men's rights activists - nobody seems to be franticly looking for the causes or proposing policies to stop this haemorrhage of men's lives. Let me paraphrase what Wikipedia has to says about it:
It is the life style, men drink more and smoke more and eat crap. And it is also the biology, men lack the double X chromosome, we see this across all mammalian species, plus male babies and boys dies of diseases much more than girls.
Speaking of Wikipedia, it has dedicated pages for many things, including the Orgasm gender gap, but it does not have a dedicated page for the LEGG.
To my surprise I have not been able to find any further information, neither on biology forums, nor on Google Scholar. Studies usually focus on one cause or divide the mechanisms into social and biological but there our knowledge seem to end.
At this point I was so intrigued that I decided to do some "research" myself. My first observation was that there is a great variance between developed countries with similar GDP and life expectancy, suggesting that a large part of the gap is not biological. Example:
- 2021 Norway - LE: 83.16 years, LEGG: 3,0 years
- 2021 France - LE: 82.32 years, LEGG: 6,2 years
Next, I knew where to find Eurostat data on causes of death - unfortunately only from 2010 - and I filtered out everything mechanical: suicides, assaults, accidents and drug and alcohol overdoses. The LEGG shrunk significantly:
- 2010 Norway - all LEGG: 4.54 | non-mechanical LEGG: 3,51, decrease by 29.5%
- 2010 France - all LEGG: 7.14 | non-mechanical LEGG: 6.19, decrease by 15.3%
Then I was curious how much of the LEGG is caused by mortality differences of infants and children so I calculated non-mechanical LEGG at 20 years, as opposed to LEGG at birth. The difference is negligible:
- 2010 Norway - non-mechanical LEGG at birth: 3,51, non-mechanical LEGG at 20: 3.37, difference: 3.8%
- 2010 France - non-mechanical LEGG at birth: 6.19, non-mechanical LEGG at 20: 6.07, difference: 1.7%
Next, I did one more napkin calculation. Assuming that smoking reduces the life expectancy on average by 10 yers and smoking rate among French men and women are 0.349 and 0.319 and smoking rate among Norwegian men and women are 0.17 and 0.154, I reduced the LEGG further:
- 2010 Norway - all LEGG: 4.54 | non-mechanical, non-smoking LEGG: 3,35, decrease by 35.7%
- 2010 France - all LEGG: 7.14 | non-mechanical, non-smoking LEGG: 5.89, decrease by 21.2%
Of course this does not mean the reminder is caused by biological factors. There are drugs and alcohol, there is a meat consumption and overall life style. Man also do more paid work so there is work related stress and exposure. It should not be a rocket science to isolate these factors, actually, it would amount to a very cool paper with plenty of citations. So where is this paper?
Actually, I found one piece of information: Causes of Male Excess Mortality: Insights from Cloistered Populations, the abstract talks about 11,000 Bavarian monks and nuns living in "very nearly identical behavioral and environmental conditions" with nuns having only a "slight advantage" in life expectancy - whatever that means, I can't access the paper itself. This of course only applies to men and women who already survived into their teens or twenties, but as we saw above the contribution of different child mortality to LEGG is negligible.
The bad and the ugly
FYI, about 80% of suicide victims are men and suicide is the second leading cause of death in middle aged men only after car accidents. Also, 90% of workplace accidents are men - constructions, mining, trucking, heavy industry, you know - and even though the total numbers are too small to meaningfully influence the LEGG it does not cover exposure to chemicals, hard labour or health impact of night shifts.
Some social and biological mechanisms out there are causing men to lose life equivalent to WW2 every year. We should be creating policies to reduce this loss but we don't. Why? We know that men are far less likely than women to visit a doctor. Where are the public health campaigns and safe driving campaign targeted at men specifically?
Could it be the case of "you grow what you measure"? UN's Gender Development Index that measures gender disparity in achievements between men and women very quietly removes 5 years from the LEGG in it's calculations, arguing that men living 5 years shorter is necessary biology. The Global Gender Gap Report published annually by the World Economic Forum does something similar, arguing that if women live at least 6% longer than men, parity is assumed - but if it is less than 6% it counts as a gender gap.
As a corollary, women is Norway living only 3 years longer than men is interpreted as oppression.
Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?
This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.
Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.
Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.
The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:
Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.
Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.
Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.
Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).