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Small-Scale Question Sunday for May 19, 2024

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.

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Hard to say of course, but my default is to assume that claims along the lines of 'ancient person/place/thing was totally gay/trans, acktualy' are bullshit promoted not so much by grand conspiracies to discredit the ancient things as a weird form of validation for the specific gay/trans people promoting the claim.

Like, it's fine to be gay -- the need to justify it by claiming that Apollo was also gay (or the odd plains Indian was 'two-spirited' in the case of trans stuff is really strange.

In the case of that specific article, the user who added the stuff about Apollo being super-gay (around 2020; before that the article talks about Dionysus as the patron of gayness) is Adiga77 -- who based on the edit history seems hyperfocussed on adding gay references to the Ancient Greek pantheon every time some male is said to have 'loved' another.

Dollars to doughnuts Aidga77 is also super-gay, and for some reason feels better if everyone thinks this has a vast historical pedigree -- is what it is I guess. But Wikipedia is not a good reference for anything gay.

When I looked into this, I came away with the idea that scholars had zero evidence for the view that “male love” was homoerotic rather than platonic. In cultures that rebuke homosexuality, like Arab culture, men traditionally held hands and have even written love poems to male friends. Even terrorist groups were doing that. Male handholding and lap-sitting was also common in England and America before homosexuality became a valid thing in anyone’s minds — can find lots of 19th century photos of this. The most evidence that I have found for homosexuality accepted in Greece are that there are some depictions of it on vases, like 0.01% of vases depicted it. But this may very well have been vases made as jokes or insults.

So when you read about “the sacred band of Thebes” formed by elite military pairs of lovers, it’s silly to think there were any homosexuals in it. In no culture do homosexuals comprise the top fighters.

these myths may have been subversively introduced to undermine the revival of old European religions.

Not quite- think of it more like Spiderman or James Bond. You get many reboots or episodes with different writers, who all have different artistic interpretations and motives. And "what becomes canon" often becomes hotly debated among the followers of that mythological figure. And characters change with the time, Juliet is going to be black in an upcoming movie.

If some writer gave James Bond a male lover in a new James Bond "myth" that would also become "canon", but a lot of followers of James Bond would consider that to be a subversive myth within the broader myth body. It's entirely possible that James Bond, created with the intention to be a masculine symbol of English chauvinism, gets transformed by writers in the future who do not like that original message. It happens all the time.

So if someone wanted to reboot James Bond and reset the canon, they would pick and choose what remains canon and what does not because it was not created wisely, or it was created subversively. In practice this happens all the time, for example a huge amount of Star Wars canon was ejected because it wasn't aligned with Disney's plan for the mythos. There's no contradiction there as they openly admit this is what they are doing.

It should also be noted that the Old Testament is another example of comic-book literary fiction becoming religion. Their observation of the way symbols and myths inspire us and direct our behavior is a powerful one. How can we harness it? I doubt a revival religion around Apollo is the answer but I think it's the right question.

Well, the video you linked does not claim that those myths were introduced "to undermine the revival of old European religions." Rather, it is suggested that some of those myths may have been introduced to undermine or subvert the people the god represents. We complain about Hollywood doing this all the time.

'Mythological figures change with the times, this has always been the case and is not merely a recent phenomenon caused by wokeness run amok. But it's also true that culture-creators change or undermine mythological figures with the specific intention of engaging in hostility towards the people represented by that figure. Of course this same phenomenon would have occurred in the ancient world as well, with plays and poems in the Dionysia for example presenting some extended lore that humbles the god and by extension the people he represents.

The point is they don't accept the mythos wholesale, they are going to retcon what they perceive as not belonging there according to the intentions of the mythos. This also happens all the time. Jews did not accept the extended lore portrayed in the Gospels, most christians do not accept the extended lore portrayed in the Book of Mormon. Dan Brown wrote Jesus as having had Mary Magdalene as a lover and a bloodline, which is perceived by most Christians as an example of "hostile extended-lore". The entire Talmud is nothing but a fandom of autistic wordcels arguing over Hebrew lore.

The notion that a revival European religion would retcon stuff that doesn't belong is perfectly sensible, and there's no contradiction there.

I only heard today that a state AG has sued Media Matters, and that they've laid off some of their doxxing team and antifa-organizers in response.

I don't have time to look into it right now, but if nobody else is writing a post I can try to find out whats going on over the weekend. It sounds amazingly encouraging so far, because media matters and their affiliates are the big stick of the "just build your own international banking system" attacks.

Is anyone else more plugged in to the topic, or working on it?

Eh, I'm familiar with it, but I dunno if it's as good as it sounds.

Texas and Missouri have been poking at Media Matters over the Nov 2023 report claiming Twitter was running a bunch of ads alongside actual-nazi content. Twitter claims that, to do so, Media Matters had to go through some impressive hoops -- using older accounts following only the actualfa and major brands, generating massive numbers of ad views to cherry pick the bad combinations -- none of which were presented in the initial report.

Texas started their investigation just days after, but Media Matters was able to file in DC and get a preliminary injunction. Missouri started about a month later, currently trying to use jurisdictional stuff to avoid that same DC court from slapping them with a TRO.

I'm... not really happy with pretty much any part of this.

Both state investigations are premised, to the extent that they're premised at all, under the theory that MMFA defrauded its donors with this report. I can certainly believe that MMFA's writers were cackling with glee as they completely manufactured ad combinations -- this is the same corp that promoted a holocaust denier's false claims that a Texas State Senator had given him an interview until they got called out -- and maybe there's some smoking gun of them doing so for the donor revenue rather than hating Elon Musk, but I don't think anyone donating to MMFA would have held back their quarters because they were too mean or manipulative. At best, the state AGs are just using whatever law comes to hand, and while it's funny to see turnabout as fair play after Remington v Soto, it's not great for society. I don't even think it'll be effective (cfe Paxton injunction): these laws aren't swords that cut both directions, and neither is process-as-punishment.

On the other side, it's hard to see this as even-handed application of the law against Texas or Missouri, either. We have a major case before SCOTUS right now in NRA v Vullo about whether actual enforcement of a law in a way clearly meant to retaliate against and quiet political speech 'counts', and it's not some clear and obvious matter how SCOTUS will roll! Here, instead, simple investigation of violations of a facially neutral law are clearly wrong. The DC Court even has to go out of its way to separate this case from other cases involving Twitter and Paxton to explain why suddenly the normally-difficult preliminary injunction is both necessary and obvious.

There's ways to distinguish that previous case, and it's not even a Blue-Tribe friendly decision despite the 9th Circuit being involved, but hard to come up with a distinction broader than "2021 Twitter should have found someone willing to make a more specific declaration". It's very hard to see a distinction from the more common politically-driven investigations.

More immediately, I'm also skeptical that this lawsuit is the sole thing driving the firings at MMFA. Any legal case is expensive, and juggling multiple cases is even harder, but the Texas and Missouri lawsuits are early enough that they're not driving anywhere near the billable hours of Musk's civil suit. Compared to the normal ebb and flow of financial spending (MMFA gets almost all its contributions through Bonner, but the last leak points to a small number of major donors, which tends to be mercurial), there are a lot of other explanations.

My kid's school district is hosting a Pride parade. They put out a call for counter-protestors because the local Christian group is picketing it complaining about abortion being murder or something.

For some reason I find this all so absurd. Not the Christians I don't care about that, though apparently some kids are traumatized by "the hate" (that some people think abortion = murder) being expressed is an added facet. No, more like the... unbelievable cringeness of a school district doing a Pride parade?

When I was in school I pretty much considered it

  • prison, and
  • the people operating this prison were the last people I looked to for approval or insight

The freaks aren't the lesbian bi queer gay or trans (or straight) kids. The freaks are the people who run the place. It is a category error to read anything more into it. I can't imagine anyone feeling down on their lifestyle or sexuality because school disapproves. Like worrying about what ants of you naked.

I consider this the only healthy attitude for navigating school.

I’m hoping this isn’t a required thing. I can understand compassion for individual students struggling with this stuff, I can understand telling other kids to be nice to people who are LGBT+ and even explaining how that works (age-appropriate and mostly in high school sex ed courses) what they do. But I think it’s a completely different thing to have the school district hold essentially a protest in favor of a political issue. That’s not educational. Education should be about learning and seeking truth, not politics.

My kid's school district is hosting a Pride parade.


When I was in school I pretty much considered it

prison, and

the people operating this prison were the last people I looked to for approval or insight

Can you teach the kids to march while whistling "Colonel Bogey" or something?

So that “white woman cries over random injustice in the world” archetype that is often joked about. Eg a girl cries over the rainforest being destroyed… why does it only seem to be white women? I actually can’t recall ever seeing a black woman online crying about some injustice or harm which doesn’t affect them personally. I wonder: while it may be laughed off as pure naïveté, could it actually be evidence of a greater natural disposition toward empathy?

Just to test my intuition, I looked into who is most likely to run animal shelters or participate in animal rights and it is white women. If you look at animal rights protestor photos online they are almost always white. This over representation is of course criticized online and called white supremacism. Yet what better test is there of empathy than if you are emotional about the plight of animals? One’s emotional response to the suffering of animals is a consequence of their ability to feel the shared feeling of intelligent beings. IMO the political aspirations which follow from these feelings are flawed, but that’s a somewhat distinct question from whether it effortlessly leads to empathy.

You're just talking about upper middle class college educated women.

Redneck white women don't do that. Rich Black or Asian girls do.

They’re generally the ones with the time, energy, and privilege to worry about things that don’t personally affect them. The man has to worry about his job, home upkeep, and so on. Poor people are concerned about baseline survival and meeting their material needs. Upper class women and college students are both pretty unique in that they can afford to waste time on things that don’t affect them personally and generally don’t have a lot of other obligations that keep them busy.

The other thing, which I think slots into the privilege part is that being disproportionately upset by events and situations outside of their personal lives and the life of their community shows off their privilege. There’s almost always a bit of showing off to those things. They always film it, and quite often in their late model cars with an expensive coffee in hand and a fairly fresh manicure. The whole thing stinks of “look at me, even though I’m rich, and have more money in my clothes and jewelry than you make in a day, I’m soooo compassionate that I care very deeply about world affairs. And I’m so highly educated that I know the history of this obscure thing that the plebs don’t care about.” I don’t get the sense that they really do care. I don’t see a lot of evidence that they do anything about the problems they’re filming themselves crying about. They “care” about Palestine? Do they donate to Red Crescent to give humanitarian aid? Have they sent emails to their congressmen? Have they volunteered (and protests don’t count) to do anything about it?

redneck white women

Lots of animal refuges, horse rehab places, etc are run by rural white women though

Rich Black or Asian girls do

I have not seen this. Do rich Chinese girls advocate for animal rights in China?

Yeah, my sister-in-law is as redneck as they come and she never met an animal she didn't try to save.

Yet what better test is there of empathy than if you are emotional about the plight of animals?

Sociopaths are notorious for being more fond of animals than they are of people. #NotAllWhiteWomen, of course.

But if I were to try to spin an opposing narrative, maybe as one graduates from ignoring the comatose drug addict on the street, all the way up to viewing one's political outgroup as vermin, somewhere along the line all the repressed empathy finds an outlet in animals. Animals can never truly deserve to be hated, not like people. They're sweet and innocent and aren't capable of knowing any better.[1] Whereas That Guy over there knows exactly what he did, and he deserves everything that's coming to him, and if you call me a "mind reader", you're next against the wall.

[1] Except pit bulls, of course, which should all be killed with extreme prejudice. Invasive species, too. Unless they're cute.

Animals are in a sense easy mode. Animals generally don’t want anything beyond food and water and a nonabusive environment. They don’t really have demands beyond that. They don’t judge you or your life, they don’t complain, they don’t make demands, they don’t do things to annoy you or anything like that. People are the opposite. They aren’t happy with the bare minimum. A kid will turn up his nose at the dinner you made. A kid will complain about his cloth not being to his liking. A spouse will complain about the size or upkeep of the home. People judge you all the time. And they know just how to make you made.

I understand the sentiment of “if someone abuses animals, they’re bad news. I just see the cause a bit differently. Loving a being with no needs beyond the basics, one that doesn’t judge you or do things that annoy you, that holds no strong opinions you oppose — that’s easy mode. If you can’t be kind to a creature that exists to be a living teddy bear (which most modern pets are) then you probably have even worse behavior towards the people who do disagree with you and do judge you and do make demands and are annoying.

But I tend to almost give negative credit to people who brag about being kind to animals. It’s not really that hard.

They don’t judge you or your life, they don’t complain, they don’t make demands, they don’t do things to annoy you or anything like that.

That hasn’t been my experience: they require attention at the exact times they can’t have it (and that needs to be regularly provided), they need to be trained just the same as any neural network does, they scream at you when they don’t get their way, they have regular maintenance bills, and the like. Oh, and they’ll be like that forever and you’re committing 1/8th of your life to it.

I really don’t see why people bother. If I’m going to go through all that hassle anyway why should I do it for anything less than a human being? Sure, it’s a little more hassle, but it’s far more rewarding in the long run because I can do more things with it (2 legs, opposable thumbs, language ability beyond a couple of words, smarter than the average crow), and because most of the hassle is the interruption to whatever it is I’m doing, I want it to at least be important.

It’s not like I don’t get along with pets; but I’ve honestly never found a 4-legged animal I liked simply because their presence demands too much attention relative to their benefits. Or maybe I just find constant barking uniquely unpleasant because everyone seems to tolerate it just fine.

We got a puppy at roughly the same time we got our first child. The child has been vastly more rewarding, and vastly less frustrating.

Sociopaths are notorious for being more fond of animals than they are of people. #NotAllWhiteWomen, of course

On the other hand, isn’t one of the classic sociopathic tells that as children they torture insects or other animals, drown cats, rip wings off bugs etc? Most people who like their dog like their dog more than the median stranger, almost certainly to the point of picking the former in a trolley problem scenario (if they could get away with it).

Good point. Maybe it's the same thing as with people, where the sociopaths turn the empathy on and off whenever convenient. And we happen to notice the contrasts between the pets that they love and the people that they couldn't care less about, and we don't see all the other animals that they also couldn't care less about.

It's imo very clearly about affluence and not having better things to do. here in europe there are plenty of poor white (mostly eastern german/european) women who don't give a shit, while affluent black or middle-eastern women get into the same stuff as the white.

Do you have a favorite maxim or aphorism? What is it?

"When you smile, the whole world smiles with you"

You are what you actually do, not what you say you are going to do.

It’s a paraphrase of the Last Psychiatrist. The basic idea is that the modern world encourages people to adopt an identity and ideology. You might identify as an athlete or a thinker or a writer or an artist. But a lot of times, it’s about the aesthetics or about being seen to be like that because you see it as cool or interesting or something that other people will like about you. But the quick way to see if it’s actually true of you is to look at whether or not you’re taking action. Are you actually writing or drawing? Do you actually donate to those causes? Do you actively seek out knowledge? And very especially do you do it in ways that you aren’t being seen doing those things? Protesting doesn’t really count, nor does writing or drawing in public places — that can be done to show off. But if you’re doing those things alone with the door closed, then you might be that thing.

Is there a specific essay that talks about this? Or is it a general theme of the blog? I read a handful of essays that spoke a bit about this, but nothing devoted entirely to it.

The general theme of the blog was that essentially everyone is a narcissist basically incapable of forming strong natural bonds with other people because they lack a “core self” to connect to other people.

The blog itself was titled The Last Psychiatrist and it was a stand alone website of the same name. It hasn’t been updated to my knowledge in over a decade. There might be an archive of it somewhere, and I think that some fans of the blog wanted to gather it for a pdf.

"You are looking at the world as it should be, not as it is"

"Then she told herself to stop her nonsense. If you looked for things to make you feel hurt and wretched and unnecessary, you were certain to find them, more easily each time, so easily, soon, that you did not even realize you had gone out searching." ― Dorothy Parker

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken

"Watching other people making friends, everywhere, as a dog makes friends, I mark the manner of these canine courtesies and think, "here comes, thank heaven, another enemy."
― Edmund Rostand, Cyrano De Bergerac

“Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it.” ― Joe Abercrombie, The Blade Itself

You can never have too many knives.

“You have to realistic about these things.”

Suck it up.

"You got to piss with the cock you got" doubt he came up with but first heard AVE say it.

"It doesn't really matter. Here goes nothing. It will be interesting to see what happens."

— Sloan Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit)

not mine, but "what can be destroyed by truth, should be"

About to set up a new phone. Does anyone have strong opinions on Graphene vs calyx?
I'm leaning towards calyx just because I'm familiar with MicroG for Vanced, it has a reputation for being user friendly, and the kind of people who support graphene all appear to have overwritten their reddit posts in protest of something or other.

Also accepting votes for "ur a retard, just use stock android"

I want an update on this. I would like to move off of Windows desktop and laptop and Android mobile.

Doesn't look like we'll get much traction on it, but I'll tell you how calyx goes.

I'm off windows on my laptop, but still need 10 on desktop basically just for Adobe software. Gimp is earning its name these days.

Windows 11 looks creepy. The new "we constantly record you screen and process it with AI" thing was unintentional self-parody.

Here's my response to a previous iteration of this question. In general I think people here underestimate the diversity of gender and sexual mores across cultures, perhaps because the people who make such claims are usually progressives they assume are full of shit. In Southeast Asia, the traditional culture did not disparage and in some cases even celebrated crossdressing (although these ladyboys were still considered men in other contexts), and this provided an entry point for the Western LGBT movement to infiltrate and transform it into a facsimile of itself.

Because said surrounding countries are majority Muslim, majority Catholic, far less tolerant of individual differences in general (usually called "poor and Communist"), or a combination of all 3.
I don't think it's more complicated than that- the only outlier in that case is Japan and... they pretend to have Christian values mostly because of inertia from having lost the war in '45.

there's no backlash to transgenderism

Their men and women are world-famous for looking the same and... have been for some time now. That's why their capital city is named the way that it is.

I recently spoke to a cute med student on the dating apps, same med school as my younger brother.

She tells me she knows my brother. I mean, who doesn't? He's a looker, all the girls and a good quarter of the guys want to know him, in the biblical sense, but she wasn't so crass. All good.

She she says she knows my dad. Okay.. But I've heard worse.

She goes on to say that not only are our parents colleagues, they're from the same med school. What a coincidence!

I ask my brother about her. You know, due diligence. He gives me a look, and tells me to keep my filthy paws off her if I know what's good for me. Huh. That's new. I swear he's never had that particular reaction before, and I wanted to know why, but he just shook his head, asked me to confirm her surname, and wandered off.

Then she says that hey, your dad was visiting our place just a month or so back, how's he doing? Quite well, thank you for asking. What field of medicine are your parents in? Gynecologists themselves?

I matched into psychiatry. Then I found out, after a very reasonable amount of flirting, that I had matched with my psychiatrist's daughter on a dating app. I told her that I had literally called him a month back to share the good news. The former, the latter was nothing but bad.

My dad delivered her by c-sec. He does that to a lot of people, it's not a very exclusive club, after all, how could it be, when I'm a member?

My fucking brother, he was laughing his ass off in the next room, the walls, while thick, weren't nearly enough to hide the chortles or my beet red face. Then the asshole goes on to tell my parents about her, and I limp back home from work, only to have my dad ask me if I want to marry her.

I chuckle and throw my employee ID card somewhere it won't be missed. Then I take a good look. He's not joking. This is the opposite of good, but what am I good at except brushing off commitment?

No? Then stop fucking around, SMH (he's also shaking his head, and I mine). She's a Good Girl™, studious, from a respectable family. You want to get married? I can call her dad right now. He's not kidding either. I thought I was dead inside, but apparently it's always possible to make room for desert and to make what's already dead roll over and die again.

I assure him that as someone about to move countries and stay in Scotland for 3 years and change, marrying an Indian med student only halfway through her course is the ABSOLUTE LAST THING I want to be doing.

Ah, but they're well off enough, and so are we. We could fly her out every six months or so to see you.


My mom was in the room and giggling her ass off. Thank you for the moral support mom.

I tell my dad that I don't think a healthy marriage involves the newly weds living a continent away, seeing each other every blue moon. He doesn't seem all that fussed, and I realized that roughly summed up the first few years of his marriage, given how he was on the sigma grindset. I suppose there's a reason they had their honeymoon when I was three years old. No, I tell him, given that if there's ever going to be a shotgun wedding, her dad will be the one wielding one, only to keep me at bay. He's my fucking shrink, he knows things. He'd need a shrink himself if he let me anywhere near his cute and nerdy daughter, and I'm not licensed yet.

At this point, my mom asks me if I care to examine the latest batch of single ladies lovingly handpicked out for me by my aunt in London. I've well and truly had enough, I stomp out of there with steam, tinted pink with dying brain tissue, hissing out of my ears.

My life is a farce. Joke's on me. So are the drinks, but only because I'm going to be downing a lot of them.

Maybe go on a mostly-chaste date or three, just for fun, if she's on the same page? Have fun, get some practice, go to a show, overact romantic with a twinkle in your eye, be more frank about your life and situation than you might otherwise be, try out some conversational gambits that you might hesitate to use if you thought more was on the line. Whatever mask you wear, drop it a bit.

If she's that closely connected, she might wind up being a family friend in the long run, and this would make a good story for when your own respective kids meet on a dating app.

And if you hit it off, well, you might be needing a new shrink soon, what with the move and all, right? So it won't be the ideal situation, but if she's close enough to the ideal girl for you, then don't let her get away. Don't make the modern mistake of having an image in your head of what your life should be like, and then waiting for it to fulfill itself. If she's got brains and integrity and a sense of humor, and you find yourself falling for her, seize the opportunity when it presents itself. (Finding out if someone has integrity, in the time you have available, there's the rub...)

Maybe go on a mostly-chaste date or three, just for fun, if she's on the same page? Have fun, get some practice, go to a show, overact romantic with a twinkle in your eye, be more frank about your life and situation than you might otherwise be, try out some conversational gambits that you might hesitate to use if you thought more was on the line. Whatever mask you wear, drop it a bit.

That does sound lovely, but while what I'm about to say definitely sounds like a humble brag, it really isn't meant to be one. I don't want her to get attached, or to end up attached myself. It's only a few short months till I'm gone, likely for good, and I don't want to make things more painful than they absolutely have to be.

She's a very sheltered girl, and if I'm my usual flirtatious self, that means they have a distressing tendency to fall for me. I'm not an asshole, everyone I've seen after my breakup, I made it clear that I'm going to flee India for good eventually, and when the news of my match came in, rather soon. This hasn't stopped a few people from clinging onto me more than they should. I don't blame them, the average guy they encounter is shit, I've seen men hotter, richer or more muscular than me fuck things up, their sheer negative rizz causing atrophic vaginitis from a block away. So if I do go out on a date, no matter how chaste, I'd rather not leave her missing me. I'm not so full of myself as to claim it's a guaranteed thing, far from it, but it would make things very awkward.

I already know that I can be charming when I care to be, and that I'm not rusty. She's better off not being the subject of further experimentation, especially when I really don't expect either of us to hold a candle for that long.

If she's that closely connected, she might wind up being a family friend in the long run, and this would make a good story for when your own respective kids meet on a dating app.


More seriously, she's doing just fine, and when we do talk, I make it a point to be both mildly flirty and also walk their through any stress or concerns she has about med school. I do genuinely like helping people, and unlike my own brother, she takes it seriously and is thus stressed out over how it's going, despite being more talented and harder working than the two of us put together. So at least I know I'm a mildly positive experience and someone she can talk to.

My future kids? They can fend for themselves.

And if you hit it off, well, you might be needing a new shrink soon, what with the move and all, right?

It helps that I'm going to be surrounded by them, more than I can shake a stick at. Worry not, that's one of the perks of being a psych trainee, they know how shit my salary is and might take pity and waive some of their consultation fees.

All I really need a psych for is refills of my ADHD meds, sadly the wait list in the NHS for a formal evaluation is 2 years long, though I'd hope my existing diagnosis suffices. At any rate, I want to switch off Ritalin, it works but it also happens to suck.

So it won't be the ideal situation, but if she's close enough to the ideal girl for you, then don't let her get away. Don't make the modern mistake of having an image in your head of what your life should be like, and then waiting for it to fulfill itself. If she's got brains and integrity and a sense of humor, and you find yourself falling for her, seize the opportunity when it presents itself. (Finding out if someone has integrity, in the time you have available, there's the rub...)

Who knew the Motte was filled with so many hopeless romantics? The prognosis is always terminal.

I think she's fun and very sweet. She certainly did a good job calming me down after a nurse behaved so abominably with me I blew my top and vented about it later. But I don't know her well enough to put down a definitive diagnosis of "wife material". She's young, she's got a long road ahead of her, and even I'm just halfway done. And I'm sure you see why I have my reasons for keeping a modest distance, all the good I can do for her, it's from afar, and if I get closer, chances are it'll just hurt the two of us.

(I'm a terminal romantic myself. It sucks.)

Who knew the Motte was filled with so many hopeless romantics?

But not quite the way you mean it. This is advice I wish I'd been given, and had taken. But I missed some chances, and then unpredictable bad life shit happened. So I'm projecting a bit here. Maybe this path will work out better for you than it did for me. You certainly make a reasonable case for it. Good luck, whatever you do!

This is funny, but seems pretty predictable. Even without "our parents went to the same med school" knowing her surname and profession there was probably never more than 30 minutes of phone calls for your parents being able to contact her parents. You knew her surname, she comes form a family of docs, of course your parents would be stoked. I agree with your dad, stop fucking around. Maybe you don't want to do it the traditional way but you should at least seriously pursue the relationship "western style" or cut it off if you're 0% interested. Don't waste her time.

Ay yo, I didn't force her to make an account on a dating app 💀

Depending on the definition of fucking around in play, I feel like I've certainly earned myself some leeway given:

  1. I just got out of a relationship that was, despite genuine effort put in by both of us, simply not working out, worsening my stress and depression to the point I quite literally was leaking fluid inside my retina.
  2. I'm leaving the country in a few months. Quite possible for good. Ideally so, it's more a matter of where I want to end up once my stint in Scotland is done, returning here isn't something I plan at all.
  3. She didn't ask for the whole thing to be escalated either. She assured me she didn't want her dad finding out, and I sure as hell didn't want my own family, my brother couldn't resist getting one in at my expense.

At any rate, I assure you that I have been nothing but nice to her, even if I don't consider myself in a position to get married right now, and I think she'd move to a convent if she found out that this was the consequence of trying out adventure for a little bit.

This is a massive tangent. Is "Ay yo" a Bengali word or an English slang I am unaware of? Or are you using the South Indian Aiyyo? I've never heard a Bengali use the word in this context or any other.

I immediately thought of English slang. "Hey Yo" shouted loudly across a street ends up sounding like "Ay Yo"

It's English. Or at least ebonics haha. I don't think I've ever used Bengali over here.

Why don’t you marry her? Only a couple of years of seeing each other every few months, then she’ll I’m sure have a foot in the door to live in Scotland with you. Your family thinks it’s a good idea, her dad would definitely know if it isn’t. You should just go for it.

Marriage is very much something I'd prefer to do after getting to know someone, preferably live with them in advance to test the waters, and finally, have it not be an utter ballache to manage my own life around, given that I only know for a fact where I'll be for 3 years, even 5 or 6 is stretching it.

At least consider the girl's perspective, she encounters a family friend's son on a dating app, is kinda taken by him, but for the love of god, we've got both matrimonial websites and dating apps around. I assure you we didn't meet on the former, and it wouldn't just be jumping the gun, it would be sodomizing it, for either of us to leap straight to marriage.

Neither of us want to get married! She's only halfway through med school! I'm moving abroad. How on earth is that going to work unless we were childhood sweethearts holding a candle out for each other?? The last time I was at her place, I was probably younger than 10 and she must have been barely out of toddling around, I didn't even know she existed until this happened.


Is it considered honourable to have an extended betrothal?

Uh.. I don't think anyone cares.

Maybe conservative Muslims. The girls I knew who got married off in med school had been engaged well before theys started.

How much is Biden's 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal going to hurt him during the up-coming election? Will Republicans be able to make it a salient enough issue to convince swing-voters to change their votes (or at least not to vote D)? I remember disagreeing with a friend about this at the time, arguing that no one would care by 2024, while he passionately believed that it would still haunt him. Who does it look like was closer to being right?

I feel like it's been greatly overshadowed by the drama in Ukraine and Israel. Now I don't know if those things were reasonably predictable in 2021, and it's plausible that Afghanistan would loom larger if events had proceeded differently, but they didn't. I'd also see the case that even if not salient now, Afghanistan started off Bidens reign on a poor note, and may have influenced Russia's decision to invade Ukraine.

The establishment Democrat messaging has been "we need to trust our foreign policy professionals" while Trump and Kennedy are both running more along the lines of "the State Department keeps fucking up and someone needs to yell at them". So it hurts Biden in that way.

It's more of a case of his supporters losing energy and enthusiasm instead of someone thinking of the issue and changing their vote.

On its own, it won't hurt Biden, but it might as one element in a pattern. "Here are three times Biden's incompetence...."

But on its own, it runs into the problem that a lot of people agree with withdrawing from Afghanistan. So even if it docks points for execution, he gains from making the call. "Yes, the withdrawal didn't go perfectly, but he was only one who made the hard and correct decision".

There's also the part where the execution is quite explicitly not the President's job, and that framing a withdrawal order as something that required presidential micromanagement to not completely fuck up raises some extremely serious questions about the competence and professionalism of our military brass. I'm pretty sure the withdrawal fracas petered out the way it did because actually litigating the question would burn a whole lot of people, none of whom are named "Biden".

presidential micromanagement to not completely fuck up raises some extremely serious questions about the competence and professionalism of our military brass

Have you seen the Afghanistan papers? Or even Hanania's thread on the Afghanistan papers? The whole war was a massive farce, absolutely staggering waste and corruption. Soldiers on the ground knew this, they were grinding their teeth at our Afghan 'allies' raping children in the barracks. The Soviet Union had all kinds of problems but their puppet state had 1000x the integrity of our puppet state, theirs actually outlasted the Soviet Union, ours disintegrated before we even finished leaving.

It was barely even a war, there was no goal behind it. The revolving door of commanders (16 commanders of ISAF in about 12 years) had no idea what they were supposed to do. One guy arrived and went 'well, I may as well try and raise Afghanistan a few places on child mortality indices'. We were fighting a war based on vibes like being democratic and humanitarian, on looking good in the media.

Armies are tasked with achieving political goals, not implementing vibes. It's not as though Johnny Taliban was better trained or equipped - Coalition forces won all the firefights, they had all the firepower. The political front was even more lopsided, in the opposite direction. Our people had no idea what the goal was, they pointlessly shovelled money into the hands of the worst people on earth without any kind of coherent plan. They were given a budget and told to spend it. This made war profitable for the enemy (which became everyone who wanted our money) - blow up a bridge so you're paid to provide security and get the contract to rebuild it!

I have.

I Am The Very Model Of A Culture-Warring Partisan, but the one good thing that has come from Biden's presidency is him slamming the door shut on the Afghanistan war. I credit him greatly with having the guts to do it, and I am pretty sure the disaster in the pullout was deliberate insubordination on the part of the Pentagon. For everything I've read about the incompetence of the occupation, I cannot bring myself to believe that they are actually incapable of executing an orderly pullout. To my knowledge, no one has ever been held accountable for the mess, and I'd really like to see that happen.

Yes, that's true.

I think that for the withdrawal to hurt Biden, there would need to be some proof of executive micromanaging, like overruling defence plans or imposing artificial restrictions on how the withdrawal was conducted.

Which probably didn't happen, other than maybe imposing a timeline over defence foot-dragging. (Though it might have, and both sides are keeping quiet to avoid burning each other.)

How much is Biden's 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal going to hurt him during the up-coming election?

It won't. Attacking him from this angle would require arguing that the occupation of Afghanistan should have continued, and that is not an argument anyone wants to take on.

I was never a covid warrior, but all the scuffed and faded "stand 6ft away at all times," "social distancing is mandatory" signs everywhere always bothered me.

The other day I noticed that in under a week all the local ones have vanished. All of a sudden, after four God damn years.

Is this just coincidence? Local businessmen talking about it at a meetup? Has it happened anywhere else?
The British government also just came out and said it was time to remove it all. Why now?

There was probably some official policy statement released by the Ministry Of Health or whoever's in charge of that in the UK. I'd guess that the politicians demanded that they either cancel it or provide detailed scientific information defending it.

How many votes will Robert Kennedy Jr receive in the Presidental election? For the most part, this is treated as silly or just a footnote, but he keeps polling at around 10%. This also isn't even that weird - we all know Perot got a ton of votes, but did you know that in 2016 Gary Johnson got 3.28% of the vote? Looking at state-by-state totals, there's a pretty good chance that Johnson flipped Maine, New Hampshire, and Minnesota to Clinton and almost did the same in Michigan and Wisconsin. At no point do I recall him polling anywhere near as high as RFK and he certainly didn't have the name recognition, which makes it entirely plausible to me that something like 10 million people are going to vote for RFK.

Who is his audience? Covid warriors?

I predict less success than Johnson. The libertarian bloc surely benefited from running against a populist and a Clinton. A protest vote against the current choices isn’t going to look like RFK.

Seriously, I don’t know anyone IRL who supports him. That’s not true for the libertarians, who apparently adopt streets (?!) near me.

I know one person who expressed interest in voting for RFK (a late 20s black man from Georgia). Otherwise people are mostly ignoring him as more than a footnote in their daily "man, <hated political enemy> sure sucks today, lol" ritual.

Who is his audience? Covid warriors?

Something like 20-25% of the population was never vaccinated -- it would not surprise me in the slightest if ~50% of them had become single issue voters on the topic, given all the hassles we were subjected to.

Biden is pretty well hooped with the Democratic portion of this cohort, because there's not much way to walk his actions back even if he wanted to/could without alienating the warriors on the other side -- Trump is not really in a much better place, but could maybe get some back if he makes it clear that he wouldn't have done mandates, just rapid availability for vulnerables/those who wanted it. (whether that's true or not, lol)

I've seriously considered voting for him, should he be on the ballot in my state. (Is he going to be on all the ballots or just some of them?)

His voice is bizarre. And the brain worms thing is genuinely concerning. But I feel like we're at a point where the big two options in this election are so clearly and obviously not good for the job that I'm desperate for something I can do to signal my total displeasure at the direction of my country.

I'm a pretty conservative guy, and have become more conservative over the past few years. But I've also never voted for Trump. I have seriously, seriously considered it, not because I think Trump has magically become a better candidate, but because the ways in which lawfare has been invoked in an attempt to limit his influence is totally shameful, an insult to the democratic process, an obvious refusal to follow democratic norms on behalf of a party which continually claims its opposition has abandoned democratic norms.

It's the fact that this hasn't worked, and even backfired, that has made me back off from my initial intention to vote for Trump. Even him winning 45% -- which I think he's likely to do -- would be a solid and profound rebuke of the attempts to use weird lawsuits and criminal trials to bring down a major political candidate. But I am still much more incensed by the Democratic party's use of overblown criminal trials, especially the "hush money" one that seems like nonsense upon stilts, than I am by anything Trump has ever done. The Democratic party is the real threat to democracy in this country, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm also angry about the OSHA vaccine mandate, and Biden's general inability -- especially before the election year -- to actually assert control over the executive branch. He promised he wouldn't mandate the vaccine and he did it. People I know were forced to receive a medical procedure of limited benefit to them, on the basis of shoddy (or outright nonexistent) evidence, pursued by an authority that had no true right to make such a sweeping regulation, and required to continually present evidence of receiving this procedure, which has had utterly no value for at least the past couple of years, in order to maintain employment.

It's clear to me that Biden doesn't control his party, his party controls him. And I'm certain that has always been the case, even before he became senile. And however moderate Biden may have presented himself, his party is anything but moderate or restrained.

And what's worse is they're not even radical in the areas where the country desperately needs radical change. I agree with the tankies: the Democratic party is a party of woke capitalists. They'll talk every single day about "equity" and "diversity" and "racial justice" and "sexism," but when it comes to making real change in the real country, and doing things that help real people on the ground instead of boosting the status of various NGO officials -- they're a fucking joke. When's the last time you heard mainstream Democrats actually taking about real healthcare reform? Or making changes to employee benefits? Or consumer protection? Probably just a few times in the past few months, as the Biden administration has rushed to do a few things at the administrative level in an election year. But it's too little, too late. They burned their political capital on woke signalling and not actual policy, and the country has suffered for it.

Say whatever you will about him. But RFK seems to actually care about the direction of the country. I watched a speech he gave about our lack of direction, how medical debt and economic disparity has damaged our country. I heard him talk about how our young people lack direction and our society gives them no reason to have any. His message resonated with me. He's probably farther left than me, but I don't care -- he's passionate, he seems to my eyes to care about ordinary Americans regardless of their spot in the oppression olympics. He looks like the adult in the room to me, the guy who looks at the state of the country and cries out in the wilderness: something needs to change. I look at all the candidates, and the one who actually seems to care about Making America Great Again is RFK.

I think some of the extremes of his vaccine skepticism are kooky. But I admire the fact that he still seems to care about the crazy stuff we did during the pandemic. He hasn't allowed the mainstream to let him forget about all of our grave moral errors during COVID. I myself was infuriated that the red wave never materialized in 2022, after two years of injustice based on false facts. And I'm infuriated that our politics has devolved into culture warring, or whining on both sides about foreign wars, or paranoia about China, when it's clear to me that this country is facing a demographic implosion, a massive and unprecedented loss of meaning, and a rapid, unstoppable loss of national identity and values. We're re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic and pointing to explosions on far-off iceburgs, when the ship is sinking, taking on the water of anomie, while our young men and young women are sharpening their knives ready to maime each other. We need transformational leadership, and a positive identity.

And I'm not sure RFK will give us that. But I'm damn sure Trump or Biden won't.

Even him winning 45% -- which I think he's likely to do -- would be a solid and profound rebuke of the attempts to use weird lawsuits and criminal trials to bring down a major political candidate.

Can you explain this logic to me? Surely the point of underhanded maneuvers is no more than winning the election, which only necessitates winning the marginal voter without losing your base. Successfully accomplishing your goal by a comfortable margin does not seem like a rebuke at all, it seems like a strong validation of the strategy.

I think he means that Trump winning is a rebuke of the Democrat's lawfare against him, because then they didn't accomplish their goal.

Or consumer protection?

Consumer protection is one of the few things Biden has at least tried to deliver.

I don't know who the hell the supporters are, to be honest. On the flip side, at my local farmer's market, there are about a dozen or so RFK supporters holding up big RFK 2024 signs every Saturday morning. They seem to be adding materials too - they had a Nicole Shanahan sign this week too! I actually ought to stop and talk to them to try to figure out what exactly they're excited for.

On the flip-flip side, our farmer's market also includes Veterans for Peace, a Libertarian booth, some young Earth creationists, guys handing out Qu'rans, PFLAG, and god knows what other oddball interest groups, so drawing big lessons from the handful of people showing up to celebrate health freedom or something might be a mistake.

Hippie organic farmers are squarely in the target RFK demo. Against big agriculture companies. Against onerous and arbitrary federal agriculture regulations.

One of the big shifts in politics during the Obama and Trump terms is that Democrats went from being suspicious of the CIA and FBI to seeing them as "Our Guys". Republican support has cratered.

RFK is targeting people who never got on board with trusting the intelligence community.

It's very interesting to look back at 90s entertainment. The three letter agencies are often portrayed as shady. Now they are generally only portrayed in an extremely positive light.

Are we sure these guys aren’t old school moonbats? The cranks in my neighborhood don’t seem into RFK.

Gamblers allegedly think that the chance of a third-party victory is a whopping 2.5 percent. Note, however, that this single number is an aggregation of multiple betting services, whose underlying numbers (available by tapping on or hovering over the Dem. and Rep. party symbols) seem to be all over the place.

Probably that's entirely driven by irrational gamblers and the fact the bet maximums and fees make betting against 3rd parties, even if it's a sure thing, not worth it when the odds are already that low.

I don't think even RFK supporters think he's going to win? He's interesting to discuss because of votes he'll take away from either of the other two candidates.

Is there some way to disable the goddamn annoying and completely useless bar that sticks to the top bottom of the screen when scrolling threads here?

On desktop I can use uBlock Origin to just hide it, but that doesn't work on mobile.

Add this custom CSS to your account settings: .d-lg-none{display:none!important;}

That solved the problem. Thanks!

To confirm you aren't crazy: I get the bar too, although I don't mind it all that much.

And this bar, is it on the page with us right now?

That should only exist when you're scrolling upwards.

Horrible design decision

You can add a custom css rule to set it to display: none;

I don’t have the bar either. Just the usual iPhone clock/signal/batter indicators.

Tell us a bit more about your phone and browser?

iPad mini, Safari. It's been there since this site was started so at least two iOS versions ago.

It looks like this.

I don't have any bar on mobile, even with just chrome and nothing else.

...what bar?

Always scroll down, never scroll up. Up is evil down is good

--Zardoz probably

I have it on mobile (chrome) but only when I scroll up. No idea how to remove it, sorry.

Are Teslas any good? I need a new car soon and I’m thinking about getting a Tesla. What is autopilot like? Is listed range legit? Is maintenance a nightmare? How do they hold up to wear and tear? Will Elon throttle me if he finds out I’m short Tesla stock?

Tesla model 3 supply is piling up, so discounts should start coming through anytime now. If you're in a state/county with credits, then a Tesla model 3/Y ends up being pretty cheap for the car you're getting.

Is maintenance a nightmare

There is no maintenence unless you get into a lot of accidents. (I don't mean this passive aggressively, just a numbers thing. You know your stats). If you get into accdeints, then fixes are admittedly expensive.

How do they hold up to wear and tear?

Well enough. Teslas are known to have wierd manufacturing defects, but they're more often cosmetic than something that degrades over time.

If you are set on buying an EV, then I would recommend a Tesla purely for the charging network and the ease of availing credits. Every other EV is a pain in the ass to charge.

The model Y seems to strike the best balane of space, price, credits and convienence - . I am personally a small car guy and would buy a Mazda 3 turbo hatchback, but that's just me.

Will Elon throttle me if he finds out I’m short Tesla stock?

You probably meant this as a joke, but I'd be wary of buying a car from a tech company. What happens in X years when they shut the servers down that it wants to connect to? Or what happens if your account gets banned?

Tesla employees have been caught sharing videos from the cameras on the cars. That tells me that a) they can access whatever you can, and b) there isn't much stopping even individual employees screwing around with people's cars, neither in terms of IT security or company culture.

What happens in X years when they shut the servers down that it wants to connect to?

Or when they decide that actually, heated seats should be a subscription, and force-disables that feature remotely.

Or you get a software update to Autopilot, and then the weird intersection you've been driving through just fine for years all of a sudden stops being recognized, and now it tries to drive you into the barriers at 70 mph.

Tesla is not a [tech] company that prides itself on actually serving the customer.

The reason I decided I'm not going to get a Tesla was basically like this. They updated the UI in a software update so that the defrost function was no longer on the screen, but in a menu. I already thought that having a touchscreen instead of physical controls was a horrible idea, but I was barely willing to tolerate it if the UI didn't change. But since they are willing to just push out UI changes like that, I'm never going to buy a Tesla. It is flat out dangerous to have to stare at a screen (because they moved shit on you) while operating essential features of the car.

Oh yeah, and that's ignoring the fact that those software updates render the car undriveable while they install.

Just test drive one.

Important things to consider is how widespread the charger network is in your area, your ability to charge at home and/or at work and what you use the car for. The value of an electric car depends as much on those things as the car itself. It's probably a good idea to ask people around you who have electric cars how much or little of an issue this is.

I'm personally not a fan of Tesla due to design choices and lackluster build quality but it's much better for you to test it yourself than relying on online people to tell you what to think.

  • Autopilot is nice. You can't rely on it completely, but the latest versions are pretty excellent and would make long trips far, far more pleasant.
  • The range is "legit" in the summer. A new Tesla will frequently get very close to the advertised range. Temperature, elevation changes, and how heavy your foot is literally mean YMMV.
  • Maintenance is non-existent/easy, though getting parts is still annoying unless you're in one of four US metros. The one thing people forget and talk too little about, though, is that if you get a performance model with low-profile tires, you will rip through them. If you hit a pothole, the tire is done, and each tire is more than $250. They also wear insanely fast if you drive the car the way you should, IMO.

I assume someone else will be able to answer your specific questions better than me. My general impression is that with the federal tax credit they are fine. Especially as a second car for the household. Also, especially if you have garage parking where installing a charger will be easy. The tires are expensive, but it's more than offset by the cheaper fueling cost. People report mixed experiences with Autopilot, it's pretty good in easy conditions, but does get confused sometimes, with some notable crashes by drivers who overestimated its abilities. I guess Elon throttling you is fine, as long as he doesn't decide to have your car drive you into a jersey barrier.

If you travel a bunch of on business and are signed up for your companies preferred vendor rewards program, it should be doable to arrange for one as a rental on your next trip. I know people who regularly get offered a Tesla "upgrade", both on Hertz and Avis. You can also rent them at somewhat reasonable rates if you are flexible with the date and a little lucky, if you want an extended test drive.

I know people who regularly get offered a Tesla "upgrade", both on Hertz and Avis.

I noticed this while renting a car for a group trip recently, that it was cheaper to get the electric vehicles in comparable price ranges than the internal combustion engine vehicles. I can only imagine what unholy set of federal subsidies are encouraging this behavior from rental companies.

Maintenance is also much cheaper.

Maybe it’s down to maintenance?

How long does the conventional rental serve before getting sold off as a used car? I know when I was car shopping, you could pretty low-mileage examples which had that history.

The insurance for rentals has already got to be crazy, so I could see fuel/maint costs making the difference.

Rental companies don’t pay for fuel(that’s on the customer), but if electric cars really do take no maintenance, as is indicated upthread, that’s a pretty big cost saving- mechanics are paid by the job and fleet managers are almost never people who know anything about auto work, so rental companies get fleeced on maintenance costs. Same as how the conventional wisdom is not to have a woman go to the auto shop alone, but applied to an absentee landlord.

What would you do with three hundred acres of desert?

I'm thinking about buying a lot of land because:

  1. It seems like a good investment. Extremely cheap ($100k) and in an area which might plausibly see good growth.
  2. I eventually want a "homeland" for my family, a place where we don't have to worry so much about land costs or neighbors, and can live close to each other. Ideally there would eventually be a business or two in the area (even if just farms) to support people who don't have remote jobs, but the point is to have a place to retreat to when life gets tough, and maybe a place to move to once you have kids.

I'm not all that wealthy though, so it doesn't make sense to get started with it right away unless I can make the land productive in the meantime.

A few ideas:

  • Rehab center
  • Farm
  • Fish/shrimp farm
  • Solar farm

None exciting enough to pull the trigger, though I'm researching solar farm subsidies and shrimp farm economics just in case.

EDIT: It's this parcel for those who are curious. I'm pretty much for sure not buying land for another few years but it's fun to think about in the meantime (and possibly prepare/plan).

I'll probably do a larger writeup on this at some point, but the dream would be to buy an enormous, fairly productive piece of land such as this one and then pretty much turn it into a colony for my friends and family. Alaska has its own major problems of course, but in the long run I'm trying to make enough money to get myself and those I care about out of the culture war entirely.

I would probably try some harebrained geoengineering scheme to enhance rainfall by renting a plane to seed clouds over the area or create permanent bodies of water by digging canals or planting trees. In some regions near the coast or major rivers this might even have some chance of success. Building some ancient Persian ice houses might be another interesting project, and I could probably come up with a few more if I re-read Dune.

Ideal geoengineeting is willing a mountain into existence to impede clouds, combined with digging vast canals to form inland seas. This is however just idle thought on my part following inane discussions on 'what can we use shitloads of nukes for if not war ', a proper geophysicist may have other ideas to contribute after they cease hyperventilating.

I had a similar reaction to learning about Project Plowshare. Doesn’t seem like they tried creating mountains, sadly.

Is it even remotely feasible to target cloud seeding to a 300-acre plot of land, or economically feasible to seed a large enough area to ensure rainfall on that plot?

I think you'd be a lot better off building a big plastic dome to keep moisture in and trucking in water tanks every so often.

Like, a big 'house' for your 'greens' or something? What could we call this?

You need ambient water vapor for cloud seeding to work to begin with. without that you're just shooting silver in the air. Cloud seeding works in coastal deserts where the lack of mountains lets humid air freely pass without condensing, I don't think inland deserts enjoy similar humidity

Wow, those ice houses are awesome. I think you could genuinely have some good success building one and turning it into an airBnB. Regardless it would be a ton of fun to build.

Building ice is easy, why it's not used already? What about building codes? Small ice houses would require large per unit costs, and large would be potentially illegal. ... I happen to live in a place where avergage yearly temp is +2C and nobody is doing that

Everyone I know who's bought cheap desert property to develop as an off grid compound has ended up abandoning it. If you can find Ian from Forgotten Weapons' old channel you can see how much money and effort he put into building his Arizona desert bunker-house before selling it at (presumably) a heavy loss. The wife might have had some say in that, I'm not sure about the full story.

I was talking to a farmer the other week, saying how jealous I was of people with much better land off in the sticks. She said "yeah, the land's better elsewhere, but we need to live near rich customers who'll pay ridiculous prices for Organic Small Farm produce to be profitable at our scale."
(She's actually profiting by buying things like garlic and potatoes from farmers with better land and no markets, and reselling them at local prices)

In a desert you have neither good land nor good customers.

I went to college in Montana. One of the professors noted that a local baker owned their own farms for quality reasons. At first the farms were operating at a loss, but they preferred the consistency of the wheat that came from vertical integration. As the bread brand grew so did the farm. The farm turned profitable at about 10,000 acres (4000 ha). I would guess most of their competitors were at least 1 order of magnitutde smaller. The college town and climate probably wouldn't support very high-priced organic produce farms (it'd be cheaper to fly in produce from those farms in a warmer state).

Good points. I'm not interested in being off the grid per se, except inasmuch as parcels that are totally off the grid are way more affordable, and the grid will probably come to them eventually. It's more of an economic question than anything--what does it take to make bad land productive without too much up-front capital?

The answer is, I think, that it's not really doable--you need either lots of capital, or to squander valuable human capital developing the site that would be better off elsewhere. But I was hoping for a cool idea I hadn't thought of.

Ranching, farming, and aquaculture are a lot of full time work requiring serious expertise. The key to making money off of wind and solar is to have the company lease use rights to the land from you, not to actually do the job yourself. It’s unclear and not terribly likely that you can make the land pay for itself that way, even if it’s only $100k. I’m skeptical that there’s any economic use for land priced at ~$333/acre. Are you looking at someplace ridiculously deep in the Mojave?

Unless this is prime hunting territory for some reason, you can’t make your money back. And living off grid is very expensive over and above the cost of land.

Ha, it is on the edge of the Mojave. Still cheap enough that I wonder if there's some other thing wrong with the land--maybe a lack of water rights.