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coo coo

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joined 2022 September 04 22:48:43 UTC


User ID: 237


coo coo

1 follower   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 04 22:48:43 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 237

If we are to reach for institutions that are lost to history (at least continuity-wise), surely we can reach farther back for the Sumerian city-states? We even have written history from this.

They had this weird, subordinate relationship with China, changing their allegiance as new dynasties and invaders took control.

Probably worthwhile to note that this is true mostly of the Joseon period, and less true as you go back from that point, fromTang intervention on behalf of Silla in the Korean Three Kingdoms period + the Silla-Tang war; all the way to Han conquests of parts of the Korean peninsula.

At home, Korea was run by actual civilian governors, to the point where they could actually have military coups in the 11th or 12th century when everyone else was feudal.

China certainly wasn't more feudal than Korea at this point in time (especially 11-12th century), I don't think. There's a good argument that feudalism proper ended in China with the Qin dynasty (221 BC).

And of course China flooded the peninsula with so many troops that the Japanese army was ground down.

IIRC ~150k soldiers were sent during each invasion wave from Japan. Ming China sent something like 50k soldiers each time. The Ming-Joseon side were quite outnumbered when it came down to soldiers (numbers may even out more if you count Korean militia).

There were actual Ming advantages, such as much superior cannon and field artillery. I don't think "flooding the peninsula with so many troops the Japanese were ground down" really is accurate.

I'm not aware of any major religion that's more cool with atheism, barring perhaps Buddhism, but that's just a distant cousin.

Does Taoism or Confucianism work, if either count as religions?

I haven't played piano in 15 years or more, and the piece I would go for would be Rach prelude op. 3 no. 2. Sometimes familiarity beats everything else?

I think the left qualifies it in a sort of paradox-of-tolerance way

Not this again!

Oh, yes, no question.

Granted that Mao was not a good person, he didn't set out to kill 100 million people. He made some bad decisions that inexorably led to a famine which killed 100 million people.

Absolutely nitpicking, but I don‘t think Mao killed a hundred million people in the Great Leap Forward. The commonly quoted numbers are anywhere from 18 million (CCP official estimates) to 60 million (some of the more loony estimates), with most reputable estimates going from 30 to 45 million. (The commonly quoted one I grew up with was 36 million.)

100 million sounds like something right out of the Black Book of Communism, which has very artistic ways of arriving at casuality figures.

Where’s that graphic from? I’m pretty sure Newport is the name of many suburbs around the world, and Propecia and Sinutab are actual brand names for real medications (for finasteride and pseudoephedrine + paracetamol respectively). This seems too stupid to be true.

Looking forward to it.


But I would defer to any expertise on this, I don’t know much of Midway.

Sure, it wasn‘t literally pure fortune, but is there not another definition of luck were decisions made have unforeseen effects?

If thievery is only caught 5% of the time, then a first-time thief getting caught would be quite unlucky. Much in the same way, the French were astonishingly incompetent in the Battle of Agincourt, but they were also unlucky with the weather.

Bored DMV-esque Employee: Name?

Puyi: Yaozhi

Employee: Former occupation?

Puyi: Uhhh Emperor of the Celestial Kingdom of China

Employee: Haha no seriously though

I mean, this is close enough to real life. In his first day as a street sweeper he got lost:

I'm Puyi, the last Emperor of the Qing dynasty. I'm staying with relatives and can't find my way home.

But I agree Puyi's story is funny, has its own charm. It shows how total a regime change is when you can have someone like that around, safe in the knowledge that they are now, truly, a nobody.

Made even more poignant by that he was the figurehead of a failed Qing restoration, and in adulthood still had aspirations to restore the Qing (a good part of how he got convinced to act as a Japanese puppet).

I’ve always found his story (and Wanrong’s) to be quite sad, if not too sympathy-inducing.

One is an expensive and unpleasant medical procedure with lots of forms to be signed and cold metal tables.

Not all abortions are dilatation & curettage. Pretty sure more than half of abortions are medical.

The skill of individuals on the Japanese side was high, but they absolutely failed to fight as well as they could have. Many of the decisions made during that battle make no sense even by the standards of what the Japanese should have known at the time.

I only have a passing knowledge of this part of history (the Pacific war), but did Japan not get quite unlucky as well with scouting and with loading times of bombs/torpedoes?

I try to go to the gym to run every other day (or every third day), and try to mix in some HIIT here and there as well.

I hate it so much even when it’s less than 10% of my waking hours. If I could be perfectly fit without exercise, sign me the fuck up.

Sure (though I think you underestimate nuclear hellscape), but we can just not listen to the batshit stuff and take the useful solutions as they are. Things like nuclear plants?

Though of course that runs into environmentalists blowing an aneurysm because they don’t understand it.

My point is that this issue in particular is worth thinking about for sensible people even if the loudest group talking about it are lunatics.

Isn’t climate change being expensive and uncomfortable in the long run a good enough reason to think about it, though?

In fact I’m pretty sure refined flour has a higher glycaemic index than sucrose, owing to the fructose part of sucrose being more difficult to metabolise by humans.

That said putting extra sugar in surely doesn’t help

Does HFCS taste purely sweet or do the extra oligomers present impart a different taste? I swear US Coca Cola tastes like ass, but (most of) the rest of the world is fine; the only difference I know between the two is that the US coke definitely uses HFCS while I think it’s more common for…pure sucrose? to be used outside of the US.

Also putting sugar or HFCS in everything is a problem because everything tastes too sweet

I suppose you can register my diametrically opposite reaction to Japanese food vs faux Japanese food. California rolls are downright nauseating and an abomination, while — staying entirely away from raw fish and weird fish parts and only confining myself to seafood — eel kabayaki; stewed/grilled/steamed/pickled mackerel/amberjack/sea bream/other fish species; seafood tempura; oshizushi with cooked fish…all of those sans oshizushi are quite mainstream even in the west, and most if not all should suit a western palate.

I’d also add that vegetarian food in Japan and China has been enormously better than vegetarian food I have had in the west. A dinner I had at a Buddhist abbot’s house in Kyushu was easily the best vegetarian food I’d had in my life (adding that I’ve been to Buddhist gatherings and houses and temples exactly twice in my life, and I didn’t eat that other time).

Salmon wasn’t even used as a raw fish originally (or anything more than seafood filler; it is not traditionally popular in Japan), only appearing in Japan in the 90s. To this day I still think it is a rather inferior sashimi/sushi fish. A good tuna with a well-made nikiri would have been a better experience.

There are other reasons other than food and Japan fining the shit out of fat people (which, in fact, Japan does not do on a personal basis) for the Japanese staying thin, though. Walking from one place to another is quite normalized, for one.

Look at the windows and buttresses -- none of them are individually wrong, but it's like they are all drawn from a slightly different viewpoint.


I thought that was actually well done. To me it looks like it was drawn from a single point of view, where naturally the angles of each window and buttress etc. are different from each other relative to the beholder, most obviously when you compare the roofs.

I can’t read Dutch, but I‘m sure @Nantafiria’s recommendation is superb.

For my own…sorry, I’ve been meaning to type a response out for a couple days now, but I‘ve had long shifts recently. I can quote a previous post of mine on the same matter.

I’ve just learned that the Cambridge Illustrated History of China came out with a new edition in September so I had a scan of a preview of the book; I think that might be actually a better introduction. Or A Brief History of Chinese Civilization.

History of Imperial China is probably a more interesting text overall, but it tends towards being a bit less narrative in focus, and it is some 2000 pages long in six books…

(Also note that it’s the Cambridge Illustrated History of China, not the Cambridge History of China, which is a 18-volume-and-counting behemoth)

Are there any particular questions you‘d like to ask? I’m happy to answer to the best of my ability.

Onto the topics on discussion.

Regarding stagnancy — I would caution against the idea that China was a stagnant and stable society, as @Nantafiria does as well. The history of China is punctuated by periods of terrible internecine and interstate warfare as well as many, many rebellions e.g. the Taiping Rebellion that is contemporaneous with the American Civil War. China is also home to many social revolutions; the first print culture in the world started in the Tang dynasty (618-907), for example; while the Song dynasty (960-1279) embarked in an economic revolution that is often eeriely similar to early modern European growth (and produced a massive quantity of e.g. steel that wouldn’t be exceeded until centuries later in Europe), and which resulted in a large, rich mercantile class. (This would unfortunately be undone by the following Yuan (Mongol) and Ming dynasties.)

I would however not try to oversell the instability of China. Although it is undeniable that the Chinese heartland is astonishingly fertile ground, along with great natural barriers acting as physical borders (and comparatively weaker states and less numerous peoples in Southeast Asia coming by sea, especially after the colonization and consolidation of southern China under imperial control), China is probably the closest thing the world has to a civilisation-state, whatever that means, and I think this at least is partly due to an enduring social and political culture.

Regarding the status of mandarins.

Confucian bureaucrats in China, especially towards from mid-Imperial times onwards, had great power and prestige, would fill the most important and most powerful roles in the empire’s bureaucracy, and certainly were not a mid-level class in comparison to military men. In fact, towards the end of Imperial China, it would often be bureaucrats who were spearheading military operations (e.g. Li Hongzhang/Hung-Chang lead troops against the Taiping, and the Huai army and Beiyang fleet that lost the first Sino-Japanese war were under his command), and bureaucrats were often well-read and educated on military matters.

There were also military versions of the imperial examinations, but the civil service exams were unquestionably more prestigious.

Regarding the civil service examinations.

There are early traditions of evaluation-based examination systems and tests of skill in China’s predynastic and early dynastic history, including small-scale bureaucratic exams in the Han dynasty; but the first systematic establishment of a large-scale, recurring examination system that was de jure open to all (well, not quite, but significantly more than purely aristocracy) occurs during the Tang dynasty (perhaps more accurately during the Southern Zhou dynasty, in Wu Zetian’s reign).

Initially there were different examinations for different specialities (e.g. legal scholars and mathematicians would take different exams), but over time this homogenized into one route. Also, while there is something of a meme about how the imperial examinations had an overwhelming emphasis on the Confucian classics and thus did not prepare the mandarins properly, there were in fact sections of the exam requiring analysis or critical responses regarding current affairs or governmental policy.

Given that you cite the Northcote-Trevelyan report, how would your analysis of meritocracy take shape if we stretched it to China? China's had some sort of meritocracy (for a particular sort of merit) for at least a thousand years at this point, at least for official posts.

As one random example: the invention of the (practical, iron) stirrup and (more advanced) saddle doesn't seem too significant to us because we don't care about horses, but it ushered in an era of political dominance by feudal lords and their knights.

Quibbling here, but the saddle was invented before the stirrup in Central Asia at the latest sometime in the first millenium BC (with Assyrians known to use saddle-like things), while stirrups were invented later (2nd c. BC toe stirrup in India vs 2-4th c. AD foot stirrup in China). Both were invented in the classical period.

I guess that proves your point?