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joined 2022 September 04 17:54:26 UTC
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User ID: 42



1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 04 17:54:26 UTC


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User ID: 42

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To fill in some more details, I'm working in tech too, at a medium-large company. Not super hip and not one of the tech majors, but in the business, maybe like 1-1.5k developers total. The department I'm in has maybe like 10 or so female engineers, i.e. whose job is primarily writing code, and another few dozen in testing, product, and project management roles. Near as I can tell, all of them are ordinary straight biological women. I mean, I haven't like had sex with any of them or done medical exams or whatever, but all the ones I've seen certainly look like ordinary women, and most of them have normal-looking husbands or boyfriends and quite a few have been pregnant at some point. If any are secretly trans, I would be quite surprised. We have had a few gay men, but not any gay women that I know of.

There is exactly one person total at the company I am aware of who I suspect might be a trans woman. This person works in a completely different department and lives in another state, and I have never seen her in person or had any professional contact with her. I'm only guessing due to her face looking kind of masculine in a Slack profile pic and being oddly interested in pronoun declarations and other such woke things.

I've been interested in much more radical forms of education than shuffling classes around.

The current American school system seems to have basically no idea what to do with kids who seriously don't want to bother at all and don't have parents who care. They're required to do something with them though. It seems most of them send them through to the next grade anyways, even if they barely did anything and fought them every step of the way, either so they aren't that school/teacher's problem anymore or so they don't look so bad for failing so many students. Perhaps they should be able to just kick some kids out completely, though it's harder to figure out a system to make that possible but not also let them kick out every kid who's only slightly difficult. I dunno the right solution but there's gotta be something better than just sticking our fingers in our ears and humming loudly to pretend the problem doesn't exist.

I've always thought that there's way too much structure in current schooling. Too much, we'll stick you in a class where you must do X, Y, and Z, and get a grade based on how well they do it. Little kids I've been around always seem super curious, something perverse must be going on if they usually hate and get nothing from the system that's supposed to teach them. What happens if we designed a system around letting them do much more self-directed things? Ask why something happened, or something is a certain way, well here's a library and the internet, you tell me! Wanna build like a go-cart or a video game or something? Here's all the tools and guides, get to it, we'll give you a few pointers.

Seems to me that a lot of problems come from trying to come up with a generalized solution to everyone all the time. How can we do less of that, have a bunch of options all over the map for how you can learn. Maybe something like the voucher systems that have been talked about. Maybe flexible enough that you can go to something like today's regular conventional school, or the one in my previous paragraph if you do well in that environment, or just skip it and do real work as some kind of apprentice instead if you hate school but your family really needs the money, like my first paragraph. Of course then it's hard to judge success, which huge bureaucratic systems tend to do poorly without, but maybe that's the problem in the first place, we need less huge nationwide bureaucracy in this mess.

I'd echo "touch grass" for this, though it sounds a bit snarky. I live in a big blue city, NYC, and I work for a large tech company that spouts all the usual platitudes about equality etc. Even so, the presence of trans people is wildly exaggerated by both pro and anti trans media. Presuming you aren't going out of your way to go to LGBT+ events, it's pretty rare to even see a trans person. I don't think I've ever actually worked with any.

On top of the numerical rareness, the vast majority of trans people act like ordinary people most of the time. If you interact with them, you'll be talking about whatever work you're doing or some pedestrian hobby or something, their gender situation doesn't really come up unless you go out of your way to ask about it, and most would rather avoid or minimize any discussion of it anyways. If they look a little strange or unpleasant, well most people are able to talk to men and women who are just ugly but not trans without spontaneously yelling out about how ugly they are, so you can probably handle treating actual trans people the same.

No need to let the admittedly poor behavior of a tiny minority of a tiny minority (and the disturbing excusing of it by activists...) cloud your mind about people around you who behave reasonably.

Some aspects of it may seem a little weird or gross, but I could name like 10 categories of people I find much more annoying going about my life in this city. I'm far more grossed out by the dude shooting up on the sidewalk or sleeping on a subway grate in filthy rags than the guy walking around and buying a sandwich with a 5-o'clock shadow and beer gut, but also a dress and high heels (yes, all things I've personally seen multiple times).

Maybe not so much a mistake, rather an idea being limited due to it being new and there not being any way to try to put it into practice yet.

I tend to think the biggest issue is the huge variance in human intelligence. There are already mental hospitals and insane asylums full of people who just can't handle the real world at all. Millions of humans can't write down their thoughts coherently. A ChatGPT-4 level model programmed to pretend to be human could probably already seem smarter and more human than some fraction of the present human population. Especially if whoever is judging has not been primed to think that the thing they're communicating with might not be an actual human being.

Now I wonder. I don't think the actual suggestion is something I'd get behind. But if we step it back a little...

Say I, or any of us, were to have some current-generation LLM trained on everything we'd ever written and tweaked as appropriate. Then, we never post on TheMotte again but instead give that LLM our account and set it up to try its best to post as we do. I wonder how long it would take for anybody to notice. How long before somebody says, man, user X's posts seem a little less interesting than usual, I wonder if something happened to them.

I think it's worth keeping in mind that all English-language media from Al Quada, Bin Laden, etc after around the mid-90s is propaganda aimed not at middle eastern Arabs and Muslims, but at Western leftists who can be persuaded to sympathize with aspects of their cause. There's no reason to believe that it has any relation to what actually drives middle eastern Muslims to join the cause. Any messaging aimed at them would be in Arabic and published in news sources and media channels that they actually read.

I believe their actual motivations, which drives their actual planners and recruits, are along the lines of what is described here. That's from 2002, the Iraq war advocacy has not aged terribly well, but I think the second section on the actual motivations of Islamic fundamentalists is still right on the nose. Short version is that they're mad that western secular values have permeated the world and their own societies and have proven to be far more successful than Islamic fundamentalist societies. As such, they're likely to continue opposing us no matter what we do regarding Israel.

Also, as screye describes below, it seems that letter was in fact written by a radicalized American. As such, the real story is less that maybe Osama had a point than that the class of people who make this type of video are so utterly ignorant that they are trivially manipulated into apologism for an ideology that would have their women locked in the home, only allowed out in Burqas, and their men murdered if they fail to convert to Islam and practice it their way.

All I've been able to find on it in the history, for as much as I care to dig, is this small picture. No idea if it's some quest he made up or an actual thing. I can't find any reference to it anywhere else. Assuming Rov_Scam's description of Sagwon, the supposed destination, is correct (a quick glance at Google maps satellite view suggests that it is), it sounds more like something made up, and I don't have high hopes for it.

I'd side with Southkraut that it's not necessarily a terrible idea. I don't expect it will do anything at all for your social skills or success with women, but it could still be a cool accomplishment. It's at least as cool as climbing Mount Everest in my book, and less over-hyped. The big asterisk is your preparation, which I have no idea about and as far as I can tell you haven't posted much about.

If you're otherwise a generic suburbanite physically who occasionally runs a few blocks when the whether is nice, then you will definitely die doing this and you should abandon the idea if you have any brains at all. I hope you're not that unprepared, but that's one extreme.

If you're spending the 2 years leading up to it training hard at extreme cold weather wilderness survival, long-term hiking and survival, wilderness navigation, solo mountain climbing, and other related skills, then you might be able to do it. Have you at least accomplished something 5% as hard as that already? Hell, 5% as hard should feel so routine as to be boring before you think about trying this.

In 2017, I think Trump was under the impression that the bureaucracy would behave as though he was the CEO of the country, but it seems to me that he has learned that it doesn't work this way and could plausibly replace large amounts of that bureaucracy.

What bothers me about this point is - why didn't he figure this out 3 months after he took office, if not sooner? If he didn't figure it out and take effective counter-action against it then, why should we believe he is properly prepared to do it now?

A really effective conservative President at this point should come into office like Elon Musk went into the CEO position at Twitter. Everyone who might be opposed to him is out on their asses in 5 seconds. Cut every office that is obviously useless and like 50% of the company too, just so everyone knows you're dead serious. Adopt policies that are a little wacky at lightning speed just to be really sure everybody is going along with it whether they like it or not. Etcetra.

Hell, maybe we should do Musk for President. I may not love every bit of his politics, but he has demonstrated the ability to rapidly and decisively break a large bureaucratic machine to his will.

I can't see the AGI connection part, mostly because it doesn't seem to relate much to executive reshuffling. If anything along those lines happened serious enough to justify moving executives around, surely they would need to do something far more significant than that. Probably they would be best positioned to deal with any such thing with the current team in place. So I doubt it has anything to do with that.

Then possibly most people considered it too obviously dumb to bother trying to refute. But it's hard to be sure without evidence. Which doesn't exist, at least partly because you keep deleting your comments.

I've mostly responded to you at face value, but I'm honestly at least 50% odds you're actually an anti-semitic troll. Mostly because you keep deleting any evidence that might prove you aren't. I see you've now been officially asked by a mod to stop and have agreed. If you're legitimate and you do, you may work your way back into being trusted by most of the forum. If you don't stop, that'll make it nearly 100% that you're at the very least engaging here in bad faith, and quite possibly actively trying to promote anti-semitism too.

Man, I definitely remember reading about this at the time, but I can't seem to find anything solid on it now easily. I'm pretty sure that the severe real estate price swings were limited to a few counties in IIRC South Florida, Southern California, and around Vegas. Everyone else was mostly okay, at least as far as real estate investments, provided they didn't take out a crazy mortgage for something that they couldn't actually afford. Most of the nationwide and worldwide pain was from the knock-on effects of the banks' investment instruments collapsing.

In my experience, they mostly get a fairly negative response, if not necessarily right away, assuming they actually are bad. As do most comments advocating for other types of general bias against any type of identity group. Can you link any that you don't think got enough pushback?

Arguing about things you really care about can be challenging here, as you need to maintain high standards even against whatever viewpoint you hate the most. I tend to recommend that if you feel a certain category of generalized negativity against a group personally offends you due to your identity, you refrain from responding to those posts, as you are likely to make poor arguments that attract downvotes and bans. Find some other things to discuss instead. If you see something like that, just note it and come back to it a few days later, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the responses it has gotten.

In my opinion, if there's any identity group that this board is a little too hard against, it's women. I feel a bit weird about how highly upvoted comments I've made critical of feminism get. I know at least one woman has left the board because of it. It's a shame, but we have plenty of other great female posters here who can take that in stride.

I'm not sure it's possible to make general housing market predictions at all. Even at the height of the 2008 mortgage crisis in the US, the housing market was actually pretty okay in the great majority of the country, the real issue with housing prices only actually happened in 5 specific counties. Someone would have to be familiar with the local market where you are to take a guess at whether your local housing market is actually in a bubble.

Have you been prescribed facial corticosteroids by a dermatologist?

Yes I was, and I have kept using it and getting fresh prescriptions for I think like 15 years. They kept talking about "skin thinning", but nothing noticeable happened to me. They kept making me try other things, but nothing else worked (I don't remember most of the things they got me to try unfortunately). Personally, I'd rather take my chances with "skin thinning" than live with terrible itchy flaky skin on my face. I actually found that chart I linked when I was thinking about trying to order some prescription stuff from one of those sketchy overseas places that doesn't need prescriptions because I was getting seriously tired of them trying to push other things that didn't work on me. I didn't go through with that because all I could find was the ridiculously strong class 1 ones that might actually do something bad, but it did give me the idea to try the weaker OTC class 7 stuff since it's basically the same thing, just less potent. That seems to work, so I figure I both solved my problem of keeping my skin decent without dealing with annoying dermatologists and also somewhat went along with their fears by going with a weaker non-prescription version.

Obvious disclaimer, I'm not a doctor at all and haven't examined you, if you follow my example you're doing it at your own risk. I'd say try it for a week though with the OTC stuff. If it doesn't work, you're no worse off. If it works a little, consider trying to get some of the stronger versions by prescription. If it works great, then you get to decide if having something that actually works is worth possible long term risks of skin thinning. It sounds like mainstream medical advice hasn't exactly served you that well anyways.

Have you tried any corticosteroids class skin creams? I didn't see any on your list. I use them daily to keep my skin in decent shape. I found a nice strength chart here for all of the specific types. The weakest - hydrocortisone - is available OTC at pretty much any drug store. I was prescribed a class 6 on that chart for a while, but I eventually discovered that the OTC hydrocortisone worked just as well for me.

Dermatologists really don't like prescribing the stronger variants long-term, but it might be worth a try to see if it helps if the OTC stuff doesn't help much. It helps if you find a friendly one who is willing to experiment with unconventional things.

In my opinion, the first "good" / exciting part is the stolen credit card deal, which on my Kindle shows as page 67. It's a bit of a slowish start, with the exciting bits gradually getting more common as the story goes on. I wouldn't be surprised if some people would rather skim his long-winded explanations of things. But I think there's plenty of crazy and exciting stuff going on by the final third or so of the book.

I might be in the minority, but I actually liked the third part of Seveneves. The characters aren't exactly impressive, and several aspects seemed rather dubious, but the tech was cool and I enjoyed the positive tone compared to how dark the depressing the first two parts are.

Haven't read Anathem, but I did really like Reamde, Seveneves, and Cryptonomicon.

Started reading Neal Stephenson's Termination Shock. It's considered the Global Warming/Climate Change themed one. I'm about 20% of the way through so far.

I generally enjoy his books and writing style, though this one feels a bit more, I guess, vague and hand-wavey than most so far. It has a few interesting concepts so far that I haven't heard of anywhere else, like the idea of "earthsuits" to allow marginal people to survive easily in extra-hot conditions. It has a some vague shadows of being woke-adjacent, though not in a preachy sense - a character is gay, but it's treated in a pretty matter of fact way and not really mentioned any more than any other characters' sexuality, rather than with paens to how awesome and brave they are.

So far, I'm enjoying it reasonably well, maybe like 6 out of 10, though I could see that swinging either way as I get further into the book.

I haven't seen anything I regard as solid for Telegram corporate providing significant special access to any authorities. There are a few articles with vague implications, but no actual results that would require such access. Most actual results I've seen seem to be from the authorities confiscating somebody's device and getting into Telegram etc on it, which is a problem, but not a Telegram problem.

A bit conspiratorial, but I have a feeling that the legacy media enjoys writing articles implying such things for Telegram specifically because they don't give any special access to anybody. They want people to believe they do and distrust them, so they use competitors such as Meta, Alphabet, etc which actually do give authorities the keys to the castle, who they don't write scary articles about.

It does do the unique username. I suppose if you already talk to a lot of IRL friends that expect it to be close to your real name it might be weird to need to join a bunch of super-anonymous groups. I guess you could create a new account, but I think it's tricky without a new phone number. I have written a few basic apps against it, as far as I can tell, the phone number truly isn't accessible if it's locked, but there is a unique integer user ID. But I'd stick with my point that's about the same anonymity level as any other platform.

In the US, unlike almost every other developed country, taxes aren’t (edit: universally) deducted by employers.

Every W2 employee has tax withholding which is usually pretty close to their actual owed taxes. The only way to avoid this is to be a contractor, in which case you will need to file payments of your estimated taxes as the year goes by.

You do engage with the income tax system annually, but that is to calculate your final actual taxes owed for the year. If that is less than you paid in via withholding, then you get a refund (this is the normal case), and if it is more, then you have to write a check for the remainder. If it is ever or routinely substantially more, perhaps due to side business activities or investments, then you may be required to make periodic payments of your estimated annual taxes before the end of the year. The IRS very much wants to be giving people a small but positive refund every year, and many people even consider it to be a "bonus" and plan around it.

Withholding is most definitely mandatory, and the IRS will be very unhappy with you if you try to dodge it or intentionally have less withheld than your expected taxes. I'm not sure where you got the idea that it isn't, but it's not true.

Universal Federal withholding was established in the US back in WWII, as a "temporary" measure to get the Feds money needed for the war effort sooner, and never removed. Some fiscal conservatives have advocated for removing it to actually force most Americans to write large checks every year, and thus save for them and make it more painfully obvious exactly how much they are paying. This is most likely a non-starter given how bad most people are at saving for such a high-magnitude future expense and how much effort would be needed to chase down everybody who accidentally or intentionally failed to save enough or otherwise dragged their feet. It's a pretty extreme position that nobody anywhere near actual power is prepared to touch. Pretty much everyone has since gotten in on the act of getting other entities than individuals to actually write the checks for tax payments, as it's much easier to coerce businesses than individuals.

What's non-anonymous about it? One setting change to hide your phone number, then you're exactly as anonymous as any other platform, including this one.

I have not owned a manual timepiece in quite a long time, so no

2 is easy, just plain no.

For 1, I've actually tried "street" Adderall, and it doesn't do that for me. (they are actual pills with the normal drug manufacturer markings, so fairly certain they're legit and not some weird random shit). It makes me feel a stimulant buzz and tends to make my head a little spinny; I feel like I have a harder time concentrating on things. I presume this means I do not actually have ADHD. I actually do like it sometimes, but for when I've drunk a lot and am starting to feel sleepy but want to stay up for a few more hours. In that case, it has less of the head-spinny effect and just makes me feel not tired anymore, also it wears off cleanly at a predictable time. I only use it like that once in a while, so I don't mind the higher prices of "street" pills. If I actually wanted to use it all the time, or at least semi-regularly for concentration etc, I'd probably try and get a diagnosis to get it cheaper and more conveniently.