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Small-Scale Question Sunday for November 13, 2022

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.

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April 2021: First dose of Moderna.

May 2021: Second dose of Moderna.

December 2021: First, and so far only, booster.

November 2022: Finally get COVID.

Should I assume that I would be in worse shape if not for the vaccine, or has it been so long that it makes no difference? And once I recover, should I get a fourth shot?

Should I assume that I would be in worse shape if not for the vaccine

If you're over 40, then yeah, probably. If you're under 40, it's a coin toss at best.

And once I recover, should I get a fourth shot?

I was happy to get the original Moderna shots. I initially planned on getting a booster when they updated it for Omicron. By the time the Omicron-specific booster was out, there no longer seemed to be any point. It seems like some people are saying once you get a bivalent booster you're done, others are saying you should get boosted every year, or six months. Does an infection count as a dose? Who even knows? If so, I'm already quadruple-dosed.

So I haven't even gotten my third shot, much less a fourth.

I seem to recall Thomas Kuhn claimed evolution was not science but "a metaphysical research program", but I can't find the quote or his thoughts on evolution for that matter. Does anyone what I'm talking about, and if so, point me to what Kuhn thought about evolution?

Where's a good place to put low-six-figures of loose cash right now?

I don't want to plunk it all into equities, because I already have enough losing value in those. Treasury ETFs? CDs? Fucking money market funds?

Bluetooth Headphones: Threat or Menace?

I love my Jabra bluetooth headphones both on the go and sitting at my desk; not having cables wrapped around your neck is incredible. But I've wasted hours with the common "paired but won't connect" error after the PC wakes from sleep (often having to pop the case and un/plug the usb header on the bluetooth module to get it working). It works pretty reliably on my android potato. Did I just buy a shitty wifi+bluetooth card, or is there some better alternative entirely?

I'm nervous of USB dongles, because I've had really awful static interference from them before, albeit on an old case with badly shielded headphone jacks next to the ports.

@FiveHourMarathon @aqouta Sorry for the ping, but this is basically a reply to both your comments about earbuds in the thread below.

Bluetooth chips are famously shitty. I specifically looked for a mobo with an Intel chip when I was assembling a new PC last year, and I still ended up with a few outages that could only be solved by unplugging the PSU from the mains and letting the charge dissipate.

I have Jabras, but I use them 99+% with my phone, rarely with my laptop or tablet. Seldom enough that immediately after using it with something else I go into settings and forget them from my laptop so I don't have to listen to that lady go "connected" over and over as I walk around. No connection issues when not confusing the phone or headphones with multiple connections.

One thing I'll note, though, I dislike about them that over a multi year timeframe they're disposable. There's no real way to repair them, when they're done they're done, and they wear out. I've had the Jabras for probably 4 years now, and they're starting to wear down on battery from hard use. I also have some old airpods I got out of lost and found sale and my wife used for a few years, they're so quiet now they're useless for anything other than listening to Ovid in bed when I'm stoned. Before the Jabras I had cheapies that went bad after a year.

So it might just be something wearing out?

Thanks! I should buy some earbuds and see if the PC has the same problem with them. That Jabra voice does get on your nerves, doesn't it! Especially the "battery low" that kicks in starting at 50% charge(!) on the Moves. Luckily there's a button combo to disable the voice entirely, or I'd have binned them by now.

I've had mine for... a good 7-8 years? Had to replace the pads once, and the battery needs daily charging now, but they've held up remarkably well considering the abuse they've gone through.

I mainly use Sennheiser brand ear buds and headsets. They can sometimes have had the problem where the connect but then don't actually take over the audio for desktop but not phone. I suspect it's frequently caused by the fight my phone and desktop get into over who gets to control the headset. I've found turning my phone bluetooth off when using my desktop bluetooth helps. as for dongle I had used a cheaper desktop one for a while but have switched to this one which gives me much better range through multiple walls allowing me to continue, with some slight quality loss, listening to my basement desktop from the second story of my house. One strange thing that tends to cause me audio problems is the spotify desktop app sometimes spins up a bunch of weird process that need to be killed and those processes seem to hold the audio hostage or something.

Thanks, that dongle's cheap enough that it's worth a try just to ditch this awful PCI card.

Shouldn't the phrase "{low/high} {risk/reward}" also include {high/low probability} ?

Else buying lottery tickets sounds like a "low risk, high reward" good idea. Or is the risk/reward an expected value?

Modern risk theory holds that Risk = Likelihood (probability) x Consequence.

Probability is already factored into risk.

"In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening." - Wikipedia.

I don't know why I found that funny.

Ironically enough, its also the chance of good happening with a subset of risk theory called positive (opportunity) risk.

I'd define low risk high reward as synonymous colloquially with using the term Lottery ticket.

Like one might call a baseball team pursuing high upside lower level minor leaguers as "stocking up on lottery tickets."

Whether something is a good idea is kind of separate from whether it is low risk high reward. If you bring probability into it such that it must have a positive expected value, it doesn't really communicate anything beyond being a good idea.

The reward is typically an expected value, as far as I know. So the lottery is low risk, low reward because the likelihood of a payout is quite low.

Yeah brainfart on my side. Winning the lottery is low risk high reward, not buying a ticket

What do you think it would take for a boycott of ADL and all affiliates? Hearing that the ADL is pressuring twitter advertisers, can’t you just boycott any and all ADL donators, backers, all related organizations, and so on?

A large national organization willing to put the boycott together, that could avoid an infestation of nasties that would cause everyone sane to back away slowly.

Call it...the Defamation League.

This is a bit of a sidebar, but should we care about Twitter advertisers?

Their speech doesn’t seem unusually valuable compared to anything else the ADL has opposed. It seems like the kind of product which should be incredibly fungible, too—can’t another ad take its place? It’s hard for me to get worked up at the price of eyeballs-on-ads dropping a bit, or at the prospect of Twitter continuing to fumble with revenue.

I suppose I’m broadly in the “Twitter delenda est” camp to begin with.

You can try, but the best organized right wing boycott of that sort to date is of planned parenthood, and it has failed pretty badly.

In general boycotts work best when they’re directed against a single target, and even then it’s dicey. Boycotts against planned parenthood, the ADL, election denying politicians, whatever won’t work because it entails boycotting 2,000 things that are indirectly connected.

Did Minotaur get banned? Too much advocating political violence?

They caught a two week ban from me here and shortly after that got permabanned for ban evasion and name-calling.

Thanks for clarifying. Seems fair to me.

It seems like lots of artists and creatives are going right wing lately. I suspect it's due to their (or our, speaking as one of them) predisposition to stand against mainstream culture, as it's impossible to miss the mainstream/capitalist adoption of left wing ideology lately. There's just no excitement or energy in trying to champion leftwing causes when every leftwing cause has been coopted by mass media and tech giants (which are also criminally censorious to creatives currently) and wall street corporations. The artists and creatives who continue to work within the spaces of leftism are increasingly boring and uninteresting and creating work that parrots the capital line more than any genuine transgressive feelings within the artists' vision.

Anyway, my point in making this post is to ask if there has ever been a situation like this in the past? I am interested in history but it's not my strongest subject. It feels like perhaps there are parallels with the French Revolution: wherein the masses were increasingly disgusted with the nobles and quickly defected. I remember reading that even Louis XVI was criticized as being out of touch by vaccinating his family against smallpox, as an aside.

Looking at figures like the Red Scare girls and their whole scene, (which has spiraled out to include Kanye and tons of other millennial thinkers from MIA to David Rudnick) it looks like the disillusionment with leftism is huge. I wonder how much of this is actually an interesting signal that 20th century leftism is dead, or if millennials are simply getting too old for the naivety of that ideology and we're seeing a generation go more conservative which happens with every generation.

I fully empathize with people who are sick of the leftist chokehold on discourse and culture over the past few decades (culminating in the Trump presidency) but I wonder what it leads to. Optimistically, it seems like a "back to basics" situation where people are seeing the contradictions of the recent past and trying to correct them for a new, more coherent ideology, but I also feel like it's a bit of a bizarre situation when a class of people who basically banked their entire social capital for decades on progressive ideology and LGBT/racial inclusivity are starting to tear it down. I applaud it but when has this happened before? In a way it reminds me of the shift in European art from being purely religious in nature, funded by the church, to suddenly having wealthy private clients in the Dutch merchants of the late 1500s.

Sorry for the rambling tone of my post, I just like to read the things posted here and I wanted to kind of post this as a prompt to have some discussion to expand on some thoughts I've been having lately. As an aside, no one in the artist or creative scenes I frequent seem to be able to articulate this shift, as most are still afraid of cancelation or being put out of work or shunned by social media or deplatformed or the many other situations one can get into when defecting from mainstream opinion. Or alternatively creative people are not as invested in the specifics of politics as much as people here are and would rather not engage with the situation from a political lens but rather from their personal/creative artistic angle.

I’m wary of social hypotheses that start with “it seems...”

Right-wing creators, black antisemitism, effective altruism. That’s just this week. A month ago it seemed like woke advertising was hitting a peak; a year ago, maybe it was Democrats, or election deniers, or lockdownists.

This isn’t a dig at your post, because I think discussing the possibility is worthwhile. I’m trying to keep in mind that “it seems” does not imply “it is.” Maybe it’s the filter/algorithm/Current Thing. Seeming is a natural hedge when we aren’t actually sure, and I’d like to skip to the part where people ask for and provide sources.

The third paragraph in my post was an attempt at pointing to some of the evidence I have seen of the rightward shift in art and culture. Others would be the podcast The Perfume Nationalist, countless tumblrs I've seen lately that glorify poor white underdog Trump's America type imagery and identity, and so on. Also the Barragan Spring 2023 fashion show, and the fashion brand called Praying. Brandy Melville. Recent Prada.

As I said in my last paragraph, most of the people in the scene are sort of doing this shift covertly and hiding behind a mirage of ambiguity as to what they are doing (for example, the Red Scare subreddits are filled with people who have no apparent awareness of the rightwing nature of most of the talking points presented on the show.) So it makes evidence difficult to point at. Indeed, much of art and fashion is based on "seeming" rather than anything overt. For example, I can look at Nicholas Ghesquiere's recent collections from Louis Vuitton and see his weird ugly belle epoque-meets-18th century panniers as a kind of rightwing trolling misogynistic hostility against modern women, while the same modern and progressive feminist women can look at the same garments and imagine them as empowering pieces to help them be single mothers with, or whatever.

I don't think that art and fashion, or the politics of people who participate in creating culture, is the sort of thing that you can study, so I don't know how I could provide sources other than by relating my personal anecdotal observations. I'm not going to dox myself but I can tell you that in the least, I'm very interested and personally invested in the creative industries and read themotte enough to be able to identify newly emerging rightwing patterns when 5 years ago you would have gotten you canceled to the ends of the earth for the same thing.

As an aside, I posted in the small scale thread because I didn't really want to attract the hostility and pedantry of the main thread but it seems I've attracted it anyway. I enjoy themotte because I think most of the posters are smart and have unique points of view but the aggression can really be a lot to take when I'm just looking for a more friendly conversation sometimes. I wish there was another thread that was more low stakes than this one, but the friday fun thread says it's not for culture war content so I don't know what to do.

Post as a standalone text post. It doesn't get nearly the engagement typically, only the interested people are clicking.

On your thesis, I think the problem with the evidence for "The Creatives are turning to the Right!" is that it's very "The Boy who cried wolf!" if you've hung around the dissident right wing internet for a minute. It's the Right wing equivalent to "Goldbugs have accurately predicted 14 out of the last 4 recessions" or (if you're familiar with fashion blogs) the way between 2010 and 2020 I read post after post calling that the skinny silhouette was over and it was all about loose pants now. The same articles that are written about the stylish RedScare girls were written in 2015-2016 about how Richard Spencer and Milo represented a new, well read, funny and good natured, nattily dressed and undercutted white nationalism. That wave didn't happen.

Now, in the year of our Lord MMXXII both the goldbugs and the loose pants posts have become right, we are seeing ruinous inflation and skinny jeans are "off trend." So maybe they're just ahead of their time, but when it comes to fashion how do you distinguish "ahead of your time" from "just plain ol' wrong?" I'm not sure. And how do you time it? I'm really not sure, or I'd be richer. Fwiw, I'm still not sure inflation is even a valid concept when so many goods are so much cheaper (or higher quality) than they once were, at the same time that other goods are vastly more expensive; I'm not sure we're seeing inflation as much as price divergence, and the internal mechanics of calculating the CPI are going to have bigger effects than ever, so even then the goldbugs aren't really right.

In this case I find the evidence of the shift to the right among creatives to be weak. The redscare girls are cute, but the "big break" their fans are panting over is a secondary character's love interest on one premium cable TV show; not even a starring role off Broadway or something. Righties are dreaming on Kanye and Kyrie as "big gets" for their team. Kanye's best years are behind him, kids conceived when their parents hooked up at a party listening to "Gold Digger" are 17 now; for us oldies it's equivalent to, when I was 17 in 2009, the right wing celebrating getting Eddie Van Halen to shift Right wing. Kyrie's politics just imploded a high priced superteam that was already selling finals tickets. Whatever your thoughts on the vaccine, Shaq had the best line on it from an NBA perspective: "I played with Kobe, I played against Michael; if Kyrie tried that shit on them they would have pinned him down in the locker room and injected him themselves."

Now maybe Dasha gets the Oscar in a big film next year, Kanye comes out with his Blood on the Tracks coming off the wreckage of his marriage like Dylan before him, and Kyrie and Ben Simmons lead some team to the finals and win co-MVP next year. But I'm not sure I see it.

It seems like lots of artists and creatives are going right wing lately

Which artists? And 'right wing' how? Ten artists on your twitter timeline going RW is different than, say, half all existing elite artists 'going RW' / a new cross-societal group of elite talented RW artists. Is there a RW riefenstahl today? Leaving a deep mark on all filmmaking? And how right-wing - is not being a brain dead liberal and reading Sowell enough?

Looking at figures like the Red Scare girls and their whole scene, (which has spiraled out to include Kanye and tons of other millennial thinkers from MIA to David Rudnick)

Red Scare and their 'scene' did not cause Kanye to be antisemtic, or anti-left. MIA is barely a "thinkier". Idk who runick is, the first google result was ... ballotpedia?

Where's the New Right Eighth Edition celine, or pound?

To answer the question directly - artists have 'moved from left to right' a lot historically, and the mainstream RW artistic presence was, for most of history, way more prominent than it is now, and the movement you see is very small.

Which artists?

Artists/creatives ranging from the people I mentioned in my post to friends of mine who are not famous but are artists.

And 'right wing' how?

I don't know, as right wing as losing a billion dollars for antisemitism and talking about race science openly on a podcast, which in the grand scheme of /r/themotte isn't probably very rightwing but in the grand scheme of like, NYU grads, is basically literally hitler compared to ten years ago

Ten artists on your twitter timeline going RW is different than, say, half all existing elite artists 'going RW' / a new cross-societal group of elite talented RW artists.

Yeah, I see the mainstream elite talented artists as still being deeply left aligned, but the people with less exposure and fame diverging from that. I don't care if Yayoi Kusama or Jeff Koons goes right wing tomorrow because I don't care about their work. I care about people who have always made interesting work to me veering away from liberal ideology because I care about interesting work and seeing where it fits in the political spectrum.

Is there a RW riefenstahl today? Leaving a deep mark on all filmmaking? And how right-wing - is not being a brain dead liberal and reading Sowell enough?

There aren't even leftwing directors leaving a deep mark on all filmmaking today so I think asking for a rightwing one is pretty out of the question for now

Red Scare and their 'scene' did not cause Kanye to be antisemtic, or anti-left.

Everyone in the NYC/LA fashion/art scene basically knows each other, Kanye is definitely getting exposed to these people and I've heard his rants where he explains that he thinks leftists/BLM are coercing the Kardashians into believing/saying whatever they want. If Patrik Sandberg/DIS Magazine people/Ryder Ripps/Azalea Banks/Red Scare girls/Walter Pearce/a handful of other people in the scene weren't all collectively looking into vaguely alt right ideology Kanye West wouldn't have any idea about it either.

MIA is barely a "thinkier".

She has a platform and a creative oeuvre and is daring to say something other than the democrat party line so I feel she's relevant to the discussion at hand

Idk who runick is, the first google result was ... ballotpedia?

He's a talented graphic designer making interesting work, you spelled his name wrong

Where's the New Right Eighth Edition celine, or pound?

I don't know, I'm not claiming there is such a person

To answer the question directly - artists have 'moved from left to right' a lot historically, and the mainstream RW artistic presence was, for most of history, way more prominent than it is now, and the movement you see is very small.

What are some examples of artists moving left to right en masse? Historical precedences for this, specifically? That's what I was curious to know about.

You may characterize the movement I see as small but I don't see the movement ending where it is today. It's gaining enough traction with enough tastemakers and cultural producers that are young enough that it could be the genesis of some broader right wing thing moving forward and that's what interests me, not really in just the small shift that's happened already.

One possible understated trigger for such developments: COVID lockdowns, and their effects on artists. At least in Finland, whenever there were COVID measures (while other measures were usually pretty light touch, the government often resorted to closing bars, or limiting the bar opening hours heavily, during COVID waves), the artists were one of the biggest constituencies to protest this, organizing several demonstrations against the bar closing hours. Of course the reasons are obvious, bars are where presenting artists perform, and the novelty of "online gigs" and such wore off at warp speed.

While this issue was not as heavily tribalized as in United States, there was still a lot of anger from the artists specifically channeled at left-wing parties for "their parties" betraying them, and I'd imagine that in more tribalized countries there might be even more similar reactions? OTOH many artists were quite happy when the COVID passports were introduced, hoping that they'd at least allow the bars to function, even if they'd lose some part of the clientele (often stereotyped as the most rowdy and problematic part anyway).

I do think the political shitshow behind COVID had a radicalizing effect on creatives but I don't know that it was the lockdowns specifically. I'm sure it screwed over a lot of performers and musicians and people who rely on art shows and in person events but lots of people also simply took a few months off or switched to their side gigs or sold online or got unemployment or did something else to make ends meet, at least in the US. Everyone is going to have a different take on this but from where I was, the thing that irritated me the most about the pandemic wasn't the governments restrictions, which were somewhat minimal where I was, but instead the peer pressure/social politicization and having to navigate the newly emerging social realities of the pandemic. Most creatives tend to be socially awkward or isolated to begin with so I can see how dealing with that would have a triggering effect on many of us. On the other hand I do have more resources than most people in the creative class so I could be isolated from the material concerns that many of my peers faced but I think the ideological implications are more galling and degrading than having to find new ways to make money imo

there was still a lot of anger from the artists specifically channeled at left-wing parties for "their parties" betraying them

I did not see much of this but I also have most of this type of person unfollowed or muted at this point, so perhaps I missed it- though anger from the left toward the left is nothing new

Crossposting about finding work in an age of public shaming, because Reddit sucks and isn't helping me.

https://old.reddit.com/r/jobs/comments/xq7bhs/do_employers_google_previous_names/

Depends on the level of scrutiny your employer is going to give, which is entirely up to them, to my knowledge no laws against it or methods to prevent it practically. Big companies with big HR departments managing liability are likely to do more, small businesses or local government agencies are likely to do less, anything that has contact with the military industrial complex is almost certainly going to lead to you getting got if it's anything spicy. The smaller the org, the less likely they are to use sophisticated tracking methods, so maybe just target your search there?

It's tough to imagine somebody going through trouble to find your old name and then doxx your online accounts if you just apply for an engineering job somewhere, but I don't actually know how hard that is having never really tried to do it.

If this is a serious issue for you, maybe the best way to cover up that needle is to get a haystack? Post a whole bunch of shit all over the internet on, idk, sports forums or car hobbyist forums, just generic shit you could probably macro or bot but will get upvoted, so the spicy shit gets watered down.

I'm technologically illiterate, but I would pay good money for someone to do a bot spam of things with my name everywhere, if that's what you're describing.

How good is good? There are a lot of programmers on here likely sympathetic to your free speech related ask here

Exactly what I'm thinking. Make so many generic comments that it drives the other stuff down in the rankings! Like, comment on restaurant reviews saying just Yum it was great, football forums saying go birds! Car forums arguing about Ford vs Chevy.

I'm not sure reddit is your problem. Your question has already been answered there: yes, if an employer gets access to your "previous name," they are likely to Google it. And yes, literally anything could be sufficient to put them off hiring you, much less something substantial. Beyond that it is impossible to give you direct advice since you have chosen (understandably) to not provide further specifics.

There are a some caveats to this, however. The first is that having your SSN does not necessarily give them access to your name. You can update your name on your SS card if you have legally changed your name. Beyond that, SS fraud is commonplace precisely because having your SSN does not necessarily give employers access to any government records about you. Illegal immigrants often use stolen SSNs to secure employment. The SS department cheerfully collects that money and most of the time asks no questions, though the original owner of the number may sometimes encounter bureaucratic headaches as a result.

The second caveat is that, even if you use a SS card with your old name on it, you usually don't provide a SS card to employers until after you've taken a job. They are less likely to Google your old name (though this depends a lot on how meddlesome HR decides to be) after they've already made an offer. The risk, of course, is that they then rescind the offer, but people are less likely to rescind an offer than they are to pass you over in the first place.

I'm talking about cringe fetish stuff and/or spicy political takes getting posted on Kiwifarms and/or Twitter. I figured that was specific enough.

Wait, my SSN doesn't give them access to my government records? I thought that was the entire point, because that was how they did criminal background checks. This gives me optimism. Quora does make it sound like it's not fool proof, but it is a hurdle I can create.

https://www.quora.com/Do-previous-legal-names-show-up-on-background-checks?top_ans=395229319

Wait, my SSN doesn't give them access to my government records? I thought that was the entire point, because that was how they did criminal background checks.

First and foremost, your SSN is how your company reports their information (how much they paid you) to the government. The government doesn't give them anything in return for that.

Background checks are a different matter. Most companies will not do a real background check; most companies will simply do a credit check. But yes, the Quora answers are basically correct. Even if a company does a more thorough background check, associating your old name with your new one is a step away from identifying that person as you. And I have never had an employer ask me about my relationship to any of the people who would doubtless appear in a background check. If you're applying for a job with, say, the federal government, then odds are pretty good (though not 100%!) that someone will notice. The smaller the company, the more likely they will either (A) never know or (B) never care.

Basically, you're not wrong to feel concerned, but also there's no reason to think your situation is hopeless.

How are women attracted to men?

I have spent far too much time trying to build a mental model that is somewhat of an ensemble model of the Blue Pill, the Black Pill and the Red Pill.

But to be honest, the more I read, especially if its from the horses mouth, the more confused I get. For reasons that I cant say in polite company, I have concluded that just about anything women say on this matter can be more or less discarded.

For example, a lot of women claim that they might not like a guy initially but familiarity grows on them. So is the level of familiarity a variable I should add to my model on top of other variables like looks, height, wealth, status ? Because I am extrmely skeptical it is a variable at all and see little evidence of it. Maybe it passes through some kind of non linear activation function..

Or when they talk about "emotional connection", yesh wtf is that? Its probably an activation function not a variable.

I dont know... My absolute lack of contact with any humam female (literally didnt talk to a human female my age since i graduated college 8 months ago) is making me turn crazy.

Also reading GenZ women talk online I get the feeling that the human race is probably going to become like pandas soon, women dont seem to be attracted to men at all.

Or when they talk about "emotional connection", yesh wtf is that? Its probably an activation function not a variable.

Is everybody turning into a robot all of a sudden? Have you never been in love? Or the other way around, have you never met an objectively attractive woman that you just couldn't vibe with?

Sure, women are confusing, but this is the least confusing part.

Women, including GenZ women, love sex, just maybe not with you? Seems like the simplest explanation.

Unless your definition of "want sex more" means something like "wants sex with more partners" in which case you would be talking past most people on the subject.

The way OP expresses bewilderment at women's behavior might tempt to fire some jabs, but if you're seriously saying women have as strong a sex drive as men, you're being equally, if not more, silly.

It's a wonderful web of motte, bailey and strawmen.

Women's anatomy on testosterone is way hornier than women's anatomy off it, so it's safe to say men are hornier. This is of course, uncontroversial. Whenever anyone says this, there is a coalition of shouting to inform him that, "women love sex too, just not with you," as if the person had claimed, "women don't like to have sex."

OP seems to say, "women are not attracted to men," which is just absolutely insane. "Women are not as horny as men" is uncontroversial true, but OP makes claims way stronger than that.

I was also uneager to repeat the essays-back-and-forth downthread, by just stating in one sentence what took them paragraphs to write.

Besides obvious stuff like be tall, handsome, fit:

  • be respected/accepted/looked up to by other high status men

  • have other women who are visibly comfortable around you and have fun

  • have balls, cojones, courage

  • have goals, ambition, opinions, take charge, know what you want, make decisions

  • but don't take everything too seriously

  • don't be desperate

  • quick wit, humor, banter, flirtation

  • be in some kind of authority position, be seen giving orders or orchestrating something, be in charge of some team work

Now, these need to be modulated somewhat depending on the woman's age and whether it's about long term relationships/marriage or just flings, one night stands etc.

Also some behavior can be annoying while still attractive and irresistible.

But overall what matters most (and is actionable) is balls and social proof.

I have concluded that just about anything women say on this matter can be more or less discarded.

This is true about just about everything. People are really really bad at revealing what truly motivates them in any aspect of their life. Most people don’t know themselves (myself included). If they did know, then why would akrasia be a thing? Why would anyone fail a diet? Why would meditation be interesting at all?

Also reading GenZ women talk online I get the feeling that the human race is probably going to become like pandas soon, women dont seem to be attracted to men at all.

Ahem, personal miniscule sample size anecdata not surveys but...GenZ women are just as horny as their foremothers were at that age. If they don't seem so, it's because you aren't finding them in the right context, but that's been the case throughout history. Whatever happy nonsense they bring up in public, they get horny when they're presented with an opportunity to feel sexy with a man they find sexy.* I've had enough experiences of girls who went from frigid to freak, or girls who one partner described as uninterested and their next partner called insatiable. Get really blasted and watch Eyes Wide Shut; the whole movie is about the Tom Cruise character realizing that women are horny too. The giant high class orgy in a castle is a psychological metaphor/hallucination of a man who previously thought of women as frigid and withholding sex suddenly seeing that women will also want to fuck, that's why the journey into the night starts with him finding out about his wife merely having the passing desire to fuck some navy officer which blows his mind; he slowly realizes that women are sexually available all around him, but only to men who also realize the secret that women are sexually available. The masks provide a thin veneer of respectability separating their quotidian identities from their sexual selves, playing a sexy character, as Dan Savage has put it BDSM is playing cops and robbers with your pants off. After journeying through the implications of this realization, the protagonist then rebuilds his relationship with his wife on the basis of this realization.

For example, a lot of women claim that they might not like a guy initially but familiarity grows on them. So is the level of familiarity a variable I should add to my model on top of other variables like looks, height, wealth, status ?

A guy grows on you because you learn more about him, it's not an independent variable it is just enhanced knowledge. This might improve your knowledge of his status, some forms of status are immediately legible while others become apparent only after exposure. A lot of valuable facts about you aren't immediately legible; your background, your hobbies, your personal care for those around you. If I met a woman at a dive bar where I was watching MMA, she wouldn't know from looking at me almost any of my personal traits beyond appearance because I don't talk a lot or make jokes anyone gets at a bar, she might even think I'm kind of slow or not particularly intelligent because my thoughts are unintelligible in a loud bar.

You also need to balance within your model likelihood of interest in/commitment to the woman involved. The FDS game is to get the highest status man you can get to commit. Women might get confused about balancing those, but that always plays into it. Familiarity tends to show that a guy is genuine and likely to stick around in a way that nothing else can.

So to give my answer to your question: what do women want?

Different things at different times. "I am large, I contain multitudes." Girls just want to have fun, offer them an adventure, a romance story. Our brains are built to run on narratives, give them space to write one, and the opportunity to feel like an archetype.

For reasons that I cant say in polite company...

Come on, this isn't polite company, at least give us a hint. Change names and dates to protect the innocent, but there's no reason to make a secret of your sex life here if you're going to trade on it.

I have spent far too much time trying to build a mental model that is somewhat of an ensemble model of the Blue Pill, the Black Pill and the Red Pill.

I'd be curious to hear what you've come up with. Genuinely.

I dont know... My absolute lack of contact with any humam female (literally didnt talk to a human female my age since i graduated college 8 months ago) is making me turn crazy.

This is a serious problem, nip it in the bud now before it hits a year and gets worse.

I'd be curious to hear what you've come up with. Genuinely.

I've come up with not much.

To summarize I would say that there is varying degrees of wheat and chaff in all 3 competing views of sexual relations. The wheat and chaff are as follows.

Red

  • Wheat - Status is important. Extremely important. Proxies of social status can be emulated and transmitted effectively if done right.

  • Chaff - Macho bullshit like "spinning plates", is of dubious value. Machismo is signal of weakness not strength.

  • Wheat ratio - 75%

Black

  • Wheat - Physical Attractiveness is probably the single most important variable.

  • Chaff - Anything to do with Penis size. Not acknowledging that its not all looks even if looks are 90%. Failure to explain the remaining 10% can throw the explanations way off base.

  • Wheat ratio - 75%

Blue

  • Wheat - Sometimes a girl likes you just because. Those reasons can be as mundane as the shape of your thumb. Being a "good person" TM doesn't hurt.

  • Chaff - That doesn't mean attraction is completely stochastic. Being a "good person" TM doesn't help either.

  • Wheat ratio - 15%

I'm not in the state of mind to write out a mathematical formula right now because the thought of syntax formatting in this comment is giving me a nightmare, but imagine a formula with 50 delta signs, many nested activation functions, and many piecewise functions. If I were given infinite time and money, I would turn this formula into a reality because I am not at all convinced that attraction is stochastic or chaotic enough that it can't be predicted at all, if anything, I think given the data, predicting it should be trivial, to the point that simple statistical/ML models would be enough had the data existed.

My gut instinct tells me a tree based model would be excellent at predicting attraction.

This is a serious problem, nip it in the bud now before it hits a year and gets worse.

Impossible. I WFH and am far far far too busy with gym, house errands, helping aging parents, side hustles, applying to grad schools, for anything that would require any significant time commitment.

Come on, this isn't polite company, at least give us a hint. Change names and dates to protect the innocent, but there's no reason to make a secret of your sex life here if you're going to trade on it.

I think there is a certain programming in the female mind that just makes it impossible for them to clearly lay out what they actually like in a partner. This is in contrast to most men where they can tell you exactly what makes a girl attractive.

The anecdotal literature on this is vast. What they say they want and what they take are often totally at odds [Henry]. It might be a case of fish being in water that what they want is so obvious that it needs not be said. For example in this book the author actually puts effort into making a list of all the things she wants from a guy. She later confesses that not only are items in the list contradictory, no such human probably exists to begin with.

In simpler words, I think we are asking women a question they are not equipped to answer because firstly the answers are not socially/cultarally acceptable. And secondly I genuinely do think the female mind is incapable of answering the question. Given that the most accurate answer is provided by just about THE MOST male-brained woman to have ever existed (she's a rationalist, you might have heard of her recently).

I think it requires a level of decoupling and DEEP DEEP introspection that most women are just not equipped with.

Emphasis added:

I think there is a certain programming in the female mind that just makes it impossible for them to clearly lay out what they actually like in a partner.

For example in this book the author actually puts effort into making a list of all the things she wants from a guy. She later confesses that not only are items in the list contradictory, no such human probably exists to begin with.

In defense of the opposite sex, this is not just a problem that women have. The Madonna-Whore Complex is something a non-negligible number of men have.

Free, endless streaming pornography I suspect has exacerbated things. Videos of two, flawed human beings cohabitating, compromising and working through the occasional petty disagreements are probably not popular.

In defense of the opposite sex, this is not just a problem that women have. The Madonna-Whore Complex is something a non-negligible number of men have.

Honestly this whole thread is redpilling me on TheMotte as a space of intelligent, self-reflective men. The 2005-Dane-Cook-Bit level of "Men are simple! Right bros?" being preached is hilarious. So many men think they know what they want, until they get it. Men all "want a virgin who is a whore", but when they get her they wonder where she learned it. I've seen so many men get overwhelmed by getting the woman who acts the way they've always said they want, I'm shocked this is still even an open debate if you have any experience in life.

This may have been a clever plot in the somewhat victorian early 20th century where this story is from, but nowadays most boys grow up being taught this “secret” as gospel, and the orgies don’t materialize. Except for gay boys obviously (spot the difference…) . If anything, women’s sexual desire is massively overestimated nowadays. As an example, FDS has a purely materialistic point of view, I don’t see any space for female desire in there.

...the orgies don’t materialize.

But they have materialized. They're all around us, if he can't see them I guess it's two movies on one screen? Arguing that sex isn't available, that women don't want to have sex, feels so strange to me, like arguing that America is impoverished.

women’s sexual desire is massively overestimated nowadays.

Tiresias the seer who lived as both man and woman, when asked by Hera and Zeus whether men or women enjoyed sex more, said that "Of ten parts a man enjoys one only." Chanakya in India tells us that women have "Four times the shyness...and eight times the sexual desire." It isn't just nowadays. Women have been thought of as coyly hiding a ravenous sexual apettite since antiquity

Buddhists teach that there are three kinds of knowledge. There's rote knowledge, memorization, the ability to repeat a fact: Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. There's understanding the causes of a fact: Brasilia is the capital of Brazil because it was founded to be a city of the future in the mid-20th century, to pull the government of Brazil away from the existing primate cities of Rio and Sao Paulo. Then there's understanding a concept at a deep level, where you look at the world differently knowing what that fact means for the world you live in: walking down a street in Brasilia and looking around and seeing the world around you in terms of the history of Brazil, the economic tensions and choices that lead to what the city looks like today.

Consider that these men may not believe what they say they believe about women. They understand it at the first level, as a fact that they parrot, or maybe even at the second level of talking about multiple orgasms or a woman's sexual prime or whatever. But they don't look at a woman and see someone who wants to fuck them, they think they have to trick them or convince them or cajole them, they view it transactionally. And that's the totally wrong framing, it's not a transaction, it's a mutual benefit, we both want to be there.

I dont know if you are taking those ancient tales seriously but FtM trans people almost unanimously confirm that the sex drive with increased levels of testosterone is orders of magnitude more than what they had.

So those ancient stories probably do contain some wisdom, that is applicable in some contexts, in the general case they are way off.

I do take ancient traditions on the human condition seriously, much more seriously than I do mad science experiments involving pumping a woman's body full of test and seeing what happens. A trans man still has female anatomy, pumping it full of exogenous hormones doesn't make it male anatomy. That's before we even get into the impact dysphoria, however framed, has on psychology and sexual desire.

So, yeah, critique citing mythology and symbolism all you want, but hard science doesn't have an answer here.

If you prefer ancient traditions to any actual modern evidence, you could go read the bit in the Book of the City of the Ladies where de Pizan discusses the idea that women are more lusty than men, and points out (in more polite terms) that there are no female-serving whorehouses. As her basic premise remains true today, cross-culturally, etc, it seems like she's in the right and Tiresias is in the wrong.

Sex for het men is of course available, but not freely so, and in a limited amount. It doesn't nearly cover the demand, like it does for gay men.

The hierarchy of human couplings by amount of sex exchanged goes: gay men (high demand, high supply) > het couples (high demand from men, low supply from women) > lesbians (low demand, low supply).

Plus the well-known experiment of taking an attractive person and propositioning members of the opposite sex gives wildly differing results.

Tiresias the seer who lived as both man and woman, when asked by Hera and Zeus whether men or women enjoyed sex more, said that "Of ten parts a man enjoys one only."

What other useful knowledge have you gathered from your study of mythology? Aside from fictional evidence, Tiresias has real-life counterparts, and trans men report vastly increased levels of sexual desire when taking male levels of testosterone.

They understand it at the first level, as a fact that they parrot, or maybe even at the second level of talking about multiple orgasms or a woman's sexual prime or whatever. But they don't look at a woman and see someone who wants to fuck them, they think they have to trick them or convince them or cajole them, they view it transactionally.

That sounds like bullshit my man, like that movie where michael caine is drunk fake Sherlock, where he explains how he solves crimes "others see, whereas I see and observe".

Plenty of gullible men spend years waiting for women to show the same kind of sexual interest they feel and express.

What other useful knowledge have you gathered from your study of mythology?

Tons. Certainly more interesting, to me, than pumping a woman full of testosterone and asking her how she feels.

It fundamentally doesn't matter that lots of men aren't getting laid, or that lots of men want to have sex but can't, that doesn't really impact my little point of mysticism, any more than the existence of people who can't shoot a basketball disproves the existence of basketball. A minority of men is getting laid all the time, it ain't because all these women are just cosmically confused that I'm going to start spending money on them any second now. The whole point of the metaphor within the movie is that it's an exclusive club of men who "get it," who know that there is no second password. When you get it, you get it, and then you can get it.

OK I'm sure you drown in pussy, that proves nothing, I don't see any argument that supports your thesis.

You've gotten a number of good answers, but one that I think is overlooked is that women prefer men who conform to their in-group. With few exceptions, religious people get married at much higher rates than the religiously unaffiliated, particularly in faiths that explicitly value marriage and children (Mormons, Hindus, Jews, and Protestants--minus Historically Black Protestants--top the list behind the link). Congregations are often quite good at pushing low-status males and low-status females into one another's company, and browbeating high status males into monogamy and responsible fatherhood. This can result in mismatches of various kinds, of course, but that's a concern mostly if you're going to refuse to make any compromises in your life. Some people can afford to be that demanding of others, but in my experience, most people can't.

My absolute lack of contact with any humam female (literally didnt talk to a human female my age since i graduated college 8 months ago) is making me turn crazy.

Join a club. Join a church, better yet. It seems like I'm always pointing out that congregations like the Universalist Unitarians do exist; you can be an atheist and still have religion, these days, though the politics might bother you. If that doesn't appeal to you, you might consider that the same attitudes that make group worship unappealing to you, make you unappealing to a large percentage of women, who tend to be much more sensitive to social standing.

Also reading GenZ women talk online I get the feeling that the human race is probably going to become like pandas soon, women dont seem to be attracted to men at all.

Check the stats on church attendance, you'll see why you're right. Society has relentless messaging on the centrality of your sexual tastes to your identity, and on never compromising anything for the sake of a romantic relationship. This is a recipe for disaster because male and female sexual preferences barely overlap at all. This is an exaggeration, of course, but... not much of an exaggeration, I suspect. (Yes, yes, not all men are sex addicts, many women desire and enjoy sex, etc. but population-level differences are readily apparent).

tl;dr if you want to find a romantic partner, worry less about what you want and more about what they are likely to want.

It seems like I'm always pointing out that congregations like the Universalist Unitarians do exist; you can be an atheist and still have religion,

The problem there is that you might think about it, and then you see a photo of the local UU group and if it were just one person with a bad physiognomy, maybe. But the whole thing looks completely nuts. I've been to sex addicts anonymous meetups and the people there are less weird.

The biggest issue IMO is mismatched attraction. For example, you might be type X and like women of type A, whereas type A women predominantly prefer men of type Y, while type X is more popular with type B women. Your options are:

  • adjust your demands and tell yourself that "type B is fine too", whatever that type B is

  • keep looking for that type A outlier that prefers type X. Might take a very long time and you must always be on the lookout, since they will be snatched off the dating market

  • turn yourself into type Y and live a life of constant deception

If all these types are confusing you, you need an experienced wingman who can tell which women are attracted to you and point them out, as well as estimate your chances with women you are attracted to.

The most important thing to remember is that not all women are the same. Much like how not all men are the same. A guy who is extremely attractive to one women could be repulsive to another.

That said, vast majority of women are attracted to physically attractive men. E.g strong jawline, muscles, height. There are exceptions but generally women are attracted to stereotypically attractive men even if they say they're not. Maybe they just don't have a good grasp of just how tall tall actually is or how bulky a muscled guy is, I don't know, but being conventionally attractive is huge.

The rest is very variable. Sense of humour, good conversation, "good vibes", an exciting sense of danger, the details all vary woman to woman.

The one very consistent thing that women are attracted to is physical appearance. If you want to have sex, or even just an easier time making both male and female friends, go to the gym.

I recommend https://putanumonit.com/ too he has some good blogs that I think will click with you.

The best answer I can give:

They want to know that you are a good target for a relationship, and that you won't rape and murder them.

It is basically impossible to know these things about someone without already being in a relationship for a while/ getting within muderin' range.

The only way to figure it out is to ask the dude "Hey, are you put together and not fucking c r a z y?", which has some obvious problems with it.

So, what they do instead is poll the target using lizard brain bullshit viz. their position on the relationship/murder compass, which amounts to looking for high confidence and high sociability.

The red pill dudes are right about Chad, but disqualify themselves from Chadhood by being very poorly socialized.

You do it subconsciously all the time, unless you are an autist like me and had to train yourself to notice that style of bullshit.

It's why scamming is the real oldest profession; if you have high confidence and high sociability while also being an asshole (but secret!), you can go far.

I think it's variable, but you can usually trust individuals to know something about themselves.

It's like asking people "why do you like your job?" (and asking them where their boss might hear). You are going to get a huge range of answers. A lot of times they might be lying to sound good, maybe they just want the money but they make up something about how solving programming problems is fun. Sometimes they might give you something super specific that is too hard to generalize, "I like working with Sally". Other times they'll throw their hands up and say "your guess is as good as mine".

If you are looking for love try to be the best version of yourself, make male in person friends first (it's both easier than finding love, and can help your chances when meeting women), and try to stop overthinking the issue. Humans have been successfully reproducing for quite a while, and without as much analysis.

Women are primarily attracted to men that other women are attracted to. Your best bet is replicating the record company paying young women screeching in excitement for the Beatles to land in America (before anyone had their records in America, or radio broadcast)***, but on social media, without obvious tells that you're paying for it.

***This account was apparently inaccurate, and exists as only a pop culture legend. Particular other instances of paid or otherwise incentivized enthusiastic 'actors' to appear as fans may be real.

I knew a guy in my frat who did this. It actually worked pretty well for a while, we all thought these super hot blondes who went to state schools in Ohio kept commenting on his posts that they "missed him" on all the posts about going to conferences and shit.

He even posted, then took down and apologized for, a photo of his penis cumming on a girl's face "#sheknowsimpostingthis." And some of the dumber brothers were briefly like, wow respect!

That was his downfall, however, as someone recognized the dick from pornography and began taking the whole fugazi mess apart. Pretty soon we knew all the posts about conferences were stock photos from Oxford or Harvard's website, all the blondes didn't exist; not long after he was expelled for living in the college club offices over the summer, and filling the rooms with jugs of urine.

Today I guess the play would be to hire onlyfans types to do it, right? Then they're "real".

Speaking as a gay man this is extremely accurate. Once you start noticing that most gay guys are competing for whoever they all think is the hottest guy around you can't stop noticing it. I've noticed if I'm with another guy who likes me, but isn't hotter than me, I get way more attention from other guys than when I'm out by myself. Alternately, when I'm out with a guy hotter than me, he gets all the attention and I get none. This is basically Rene Girard's concept of memetic desire in play.

I know your reply is a joke but I think if such a model were to be crafted, preselection would have a lot of weight as a variable.

I tried wording it as a humorous direct response more than pure joke, and apparently I bought into an unfounded rumor regarding the beatles landing, but you've put it better than I could in terms of preselection being a strong attractive factor (at least initially).

I have this theory that it's evolutionarily important that no one knows what women want—including women—because then it could be exploited and optimized for.

Why would that be a problem?

Wouldnt optimization benefit the sole point of sexual selection? Continued procreation?

Or is there some long term short term tradeoff. All in all interesting theory but I dont think evolution is that smart.

Goodheart's law. You would optomize for the cheapest way to appear to have what women want, which may have little to no overlap with what they want/need, but would confuse their ability to detect the real deal.

Yeah, it's kind of glib, but I think there's something there.

It's not like women are shy about saying what women want, but it seems clear that they're wrong about that. So we need to explain this somehow. I can think of at least a few explanations, and one of them is that they don't actually know what they want.

This could be beneficial because who really wants to know what women want? Men. We already know that women are at least willing to pretend to tell the truth about what they want (of course they could be lying, etc.), but what if they actually knew and told men the Truth? And what if that Truth made it clear that a lot of men aren't wanted by women? That might be bad for civilization.

It might be better for civilization that men and women are both in a constant state of confusion about women's desires, and instead of everything being out in the open and clear, men are forced to try a variety of things to win women's favor. There are too many variables to control for, so no one can ever make any progress on the problem, and so it goes on being a mystery.

I think they know what they want but their filters are like the proverbial fish trying to describe water, and they don't realize that their statements are only true for guys who pass. When a woman describes her ideal mate it's so obvious it goes without saying that he would be attractive to her peers, she's describing characteristics she wants in addition to that, not the exclusive list of things she wants.

That makes a terrifying amount of sense

I don't understand it any more than you do. I fell in love precisely once and it had nothing to do with money, status, or looks (he had none at the time, though he did have intelligence and wit.) I married a principled, honest man who I can be entirely myself with. Even when he's talking about something I don't care about (football mostly), I'm interested in what he's saying because it's him saying it.

Also reading GenZ women talk online I get the feeling that the human race is probably going to become like pandas soon, women dont seem to be attracted to men at all.

Well... don't underestimate how much extremely online people are different from your average, ordinary person. I wouldn't worry about this too much. Odds are that there will be plenty of zoomer women who are interested in pursuing relationships with men.

But as to your general question, it's hard. People have been asking "what do women want?" for literally hundreds (probably thousands) of years, I don't think there will ever be a definitive answer. My intuition is that the answer would be a set of different criteria, which different groups of women (based on culture, age, personality variance, etc) all value differently. But I really don't know.

None of those things are a challenge if we were to model the process naively atleast. Its not quantum mechanics.

Im of the opinion that if a sufficiently large dataset with enough variables about both partners were to be created. The question could be answered overnight in less than 100 lines of python code.

If it were actually that easy, then why hasn't it been done yet? The fact that it hasn't happened suggests that it is not in fact that easy.

Because what attracts women is not a good research question relative to all other questions that can be asked. The kind of dataset that would be required to model the target would be far too labor and time intensive to create for dubious benefit to any real research question.

It should be like Man_{n} features, Woman_{n} features, man and woman n are couples.

So then, it's not actually that easy.

Yeah, I said it would be easy had such a dataset existed. Easy in the sense that you won't need much advanced math to find the answer.

Sure, but I think that the phrasing there is kind of hand waving away the hard part. It's like saying "it would be easy to walk over there if there wasn't a wall blocking the way". Technically true, but the phrase "it would be easy" tends to connote a certain sense that the problem is easier than it actually is.

The better we became at compiling such a dataset, the more restricted we became in how honest we can be about what we actually seek for in a mate, both with a dispassionate survey taker and even with ourselves. Social desirability bias towards not appearing shallow is so great as to make this sort of survey a non-starter in my view.

was there any existing discussion of Bryan Caplan's new project "Dont be a feminist"

https://youtube.com/watch?v=d4C-Rz3Wv5c ?

It's alright but it feels like it might as well have been put out 10 years ago. Nothing said was news at all to any skeptics but perhaps it'll be a new skeptics first introduction to this information from someone who is well presented and reasonable articulate.

I watched it, it's fairly short and enjoyable, but it's almost entirely preaching to the choir, I find. There wasn't really any support for helping de-program the other side. (The factoid about prison rape was new and interesting for me though).

Most interesting was the very first slide, where he says the dictionary definition of a feminist ("wanting to men and women to be treated equally") is wrong, in that almost all men agree with this, but only 1/3 of men consider themselves feminists. He instead proposes (paraphrasing) feminists think that "men are treated unfairly better than women" and notes that essentially all feminists would agree with it, but most non-feminists (including ones who agree with the dictionary definition) would disagree.

The rest is kind of the classic stuff -- men die on the job more, are affected by violent crime more, commit suicide more, the pay gap is BS, the "women are wonderful" effect etc. He notes how no one sees anything wrong with the Ukraine not letting any men between 16-60 out, which is a powerful contemporary datapoint.

It's also nice that he notes he wrote this book for his daughter, because he sees the feminist ideology leading to self-pity, antipathy, and injustice, which he sees as bad, and also that he briefly explores why he thinks it so popular, which he sympathetically phrases as "If so many people disagree with me, why do I think I'm right?"

Is there a name for referring to a person or other living being as a noun referring to a situation that it was involved in? The two examples that come to mind are:

  • "a suicide" as opposed to "a person who committed suicide".

  • "my dog was a rescue" as opposed to "my dog was rescued".

nouning

(ironically 'nouning' is an example of verbing)

I've never heard anyone say "my dog is a rescue" and the only times I've heard suicide used as a noun would be cops saying "it was a suicide" and I think its referring to the situation, or its just an idiomatic it like "it's raining outside."

Could you give another example of what you mean?

Northeastern USA it’s common to hear people refer to their dogs as rescues in my experience

It does have a historical basis.

I think the suicide one is from Sarah Perry's old blog "the view from hell" and rescue one is something I heard an acquaintance say.

I've heard people say "my dog is a rescue" all the time. For the suicide example, best I can do is dialogue from Kingdom of Heaven. A priest at the beginning refers to a dead woman, saying "she was a suicide, cut off her head".

I feel like suicide, and other -cide identities, are more old fashioned. Like old books referring to Cromwell as a regicide, or Oedipus as a patricide.

Synecdoche?

What was actually going on with FTX political donations? SBF by his statements seemed to have plans to make himself a dem Kingmaker in congressional primaries (and he planned to donate huge amounts in 2024 dwarfing his $40MM for the midterm), but his partner Ryan Salame donated ~$27MM exclusively to republicans. FTX looks like it was playing both sides, but only got attention as a dem donor because of SBF's outsized profile. Were they attempting to divide up authority between each other and control the whole game? Salame's own Super PAC, ADFA, was initially reported as a "Crypto PAC" seeking to boost primary candidates more amiable to crypto-friendly legislation, but his twitter feed does have a right wing touch to it. Was Ryan just playing with the smaller capital he had without intention to go bigger latter like SBF? Does anyone know Salame's relation to the EA scene, or how coordinated the two CEO's actions may have been?

Someone looking to steer politics from a particular position would probably see value in influencing both party's primaries. If you just give money to any crypto friendly candidate you're going to hit both sides of the fence although it was probably more sophisticated than that. I'd imagine it's this way for more policy questions that haven't cemented themselves as being divided by party.

I don't have any piercing insight into the particular situation surrounding FTX.

But an alternative you may want to consider is this wasn't a case of scary nefarious donors trying to "play both sides," but two business partners who disagreed about politics both donating to the political causes they cared about. Perhaps Bankman-Fried was an avowed Democrat and Salame was an avowed Republican.

Given the sheer size of the donations, I get why you're skeptical. But I'm not sure these two were particularly good at managing their money and therefore may have not considered just how massive their donations really were.

Can someone steelman mass mail-in voting for me? I racked up reports and a mild mod wrist slap over the weekend for referring to Nevada system as a "fucking stupid way to run an election" without further elaboration. In retrospect, I agree with the reports and with @cjet79 for the callout on it - it's an admittedly low effort swipe and I didn't do anything meaningful to justify it. Nonetheless, I really do think that this is an incredibly stupid way to run elections and I genuinely forget that other people apparently think it's basically fine. The reasons that it seems obviously stupid to me keep popping up in this election. A few of them:

  • Not requiring the ballots to arrive on or before election day means that we don't have a reliable denominator, which will persistently fuel speculation of cheating.

  • Colorado is apparently going to have to need to deal with tons of ballot curing, a process that also strikes me as absolutely bizarre, in which documents that are missing information or filled out incorrectly are remedied after the fact.

  • Mail-in ballots pretty thoroughly demolishes the ability to vote without coercion. This could be exploited in abusive relationships or with people lacking the mental capacity to determine their own vote.

  • Mail-in eliminates the near guarantee of a one-to-one relationship between voter and vote that is ensured by in-person identification.

Maybe I'm wrong about these being big problems, but what exactly are we getting in return that makes it so valuable? I can see the case when it comes to military ballots and people who genuinely can't leave their homes, but why create these sorts of potential problems for people that can just head over to their local poll place? I have some criticisms of early voting, but it still seems substantially more secure than spamming ballots out to the last known address of every registered voter. I know I'm still being fairly snarky, but I'm also trying to actually understand why anyone thinks it's important to do elections this way.

An argument you can make against mail in voting is that voting is a proxy for a civil war without the associated costs and so requiring people to get off their asses and vote in person is good, while letting anyone with a heartbeat vote is actually bad.

This of course must be understand in the context of trans- and cis-democracy.

@QuinoaHawkDude stole a lot of my thunder, but I suspect that the attitude of "Why can't people just head to their local polling place?" comes from being in a position where doing that isn't particularly inconvenient. I can empathize with this because I, too, live in a place where voting is convenient and additionally I work from home most of the time which means I can usually waltz in mid-morning and not wait at all. That was the plan this year until I had to make an unanticipated trip into Pittsburgh and I didn't get to the polling place until after 6pm by which time there was a line. Not a long line, mind you, but it was still probably 10–15 minutes, and was rather irritating. The one time I went early it was a longer line, probably 45 minutes to an hour, for the reasons @QuinoaHawkDude says.

Unfortunately, people in other places aren't so lucky. While stories of people waiting ridiculous amounts of time to vote certainly aren't representative of a typical experience, the fact that it happens at all is cause for concern. Numbers I saw from 2020 suggest that a little under 15% of in-person voters had to wait more than a half-hour and a little over 6% had to wait over and hour. While these may not seem like terribly high percentages, keep in mind that that equates to about 12 million people, or a population the size of Pennsylvania, that had to wait more than 30 minutes. And this is in an election where nearly 50% of the electorate voted remotely. Now imagine that you know that you'll be waiting in line to vote at least a half-hour and possibly an hour, and your polling place is like mine where there's nowhere to wait inside and it's 38 degrees outside and raining a little, and you have to work all day and can't risk being late so you'd have to wait until after work, sit in traffic on the freeway, come home, pet the dog, kiss your wife, frisk the kids for marijuana, eat dinner, and get motivated enough to stand in line to cast a ballot that, on its own, it almost certain to be statistically insignificant. Maybe you'd still go, but it's understandable that a lot of people would forget about it at that point.

Not requiring the ballots to arrive on or before election day means that we don't have a reliable denominator, which will persistently fuel speculation of cheating.

So don't count them; a lot of states don't. But even in ones that do they make up an extraordinarily small proportion of the total. In PA in 2020 there were about 10,000 of these, or about 0.19%, and this was the state with by far the largest proportion of them. The ever-changing denominators that have fueled fraud speculation this go around in Arizona and Nevada all involve ballots that arrived on-time.

Colorado is apparently going to have to need to deal with tons of ballot curing, a process that also strikes me as absolutely bizarre, in which documents that are missing information or filled out incorrectly are remedied after the fact.

Again, ballot curing isn't an essential part of the process. Pennsylvania law is silent on the issue so in 2020 we had to deal with a situation where some counties offered it and others didn't. It wasn't an issue that would have affected the vote totals, but if it bothers you that much then just get rid of it.

Mail-in ballots pretty thoroughly demolishes the ability to vote without coercion. This could be exploited in abusive relationships or with people lacking the mental capacity to determine their own vote.

Is this a real issue? I'm sure it happens but the theme of all of my responses is whether these problems are big enough that it's worth making substantial numbers of people wait in long lines over them. If someone could show me that the number of coerced votes was at least somewhat in the ballpark of the number of people who waited over an hour to vote, then I could take some arguments seriously. But no one has done that yet.

Mail-in eliminates the one-to-one relationship between voter and vote that is nearly guaranteed by in-person identification.

Does it? For all the hand-wringing over people casting multiple mail ballots in 2020, all that could be uncovered was a few isolated instances. In Pennsylvania, at least, the number of phony mail ballots in 2020 was IIRC comparable to the number of phony in-person ballots in 2016, though we're talking single-digits here so make what you will of it. And this was in an election where one side was loudly proclaiming fraud and had every incentive and motivation to do the necessary legwork to uncover these fraudulent ballots that were supposed to be so easy to cast, and they came up empty-handed.

That was the plan this year until I had to make an unanticipated trip into Pittsburgh and I didn't get to the polling place until after 6pm by which time there was a line. Not a long line, mind you, but it was still probably 10–15 minutes, and was rather irritating.

I don't find this very responsive. OP was criticizing mail-in voting, not early voting. Why not simply go early vote in person a week or two ahead of time, on a day and time that is convenient for you?

Because Pennsylvania doesn't have early voting. Okay, we sort of have early voting, but it's a cumbersome process that's really just an extension of mail-in voting. I would have had to find time to go to the Board of Elections office in the county seat during business hours (I'm assuming; the BoE website doesn't have any information about the process or even post hours), apply for a mail-in ballot in person, the fill it out there and have a guy check the security envelope before he turns it in. This whole process, had I even figured out how to do it properly, would have been significantly less convenient than simply standing in line. It also ends a week before election day, at which point I was still under the assumption that I would have been free that day. In any event, it wasn't a huge deal for me personally; I was simply making the point that a lot of people don't have any choice but to vote at peak hours, and I understand how that can be inconvenient in some cases.

The recurring theme seems to be that it's a less than optimal way to counterbalance frictions in the voting process that don't exist in countries with more efficient elections. If there was much less on the ballot to vote on, and if polls could be provided with sufficient density on a weekend, the case for universal mail voting would be less likely to stack up.

Related to the point around 'dramatically increasing election funding' per @urquan below, a lot of what reduces the number of polling places on the margin, is the cost of hiring venues for each new location. Moving elections to the weekend makes it vastly easier to cheaply expand polling places, because you can use basically every public school at cost, which are already ideally distributed across the electorate.

Before I moved to a state with universal vote-by-mail, I pretty much only ever voted in Presidential and (maybe) midterm elections. Since moving, I've voted in every single election I get a ballot for. Being able to vote by mail, without having to ask for the privilege, removes a lot of friction from the voting process. You might say it's not that big of a deal to go vote in person, but where I was living, even if I did early voting it was going to mean about an hour standing in line (either because I got there way before the polling location opened to be first in line, or because I didn't do that and had to queue behind everybody else who did).

For those concerned about fraud, it's perhaps worth noting that I was kind of casual about my signature on a recent ballot, and my ballot got challenged because the signature didn't match my driver's license signature, and I had to go re-sign in person.

Thanks for the reply.

You might say it's not that big of a deal to go vote in person, but where I was living, even if I did early voting it was going to mean about an hour standing in line (either because I got there way before the polling location opened to be first in line, or because I didn't do that and had to queue behind everybody else who did).

That is, indeed, exactly what I would tend to say! But yeah, if it's actually going to an hour of standing in line, that's not great. I'm inclined to agree with @urquan below that the appropriate solution isn't to give up on in person voting, but to figure out why it's not working correctly and endeavor to fix it. I would be highly supportive of measures that make it quick, easy, and secure to vote in person. Solutions that include weekend voting and/or voting holidays seem entirely reasonable to me.

where I was living, even if I did early voting it was going to mean about an hour standing in line (either because I got there way before the polling location opened to be first in line, or because I didn't do that and had to queue behind everybody else who did).

This, to me, is the real problem to be solved. I've always lived in a very small and rural precinct, and I've never waited longer than about 2 minutes for a ballot. When I hear stories about waiting an hour to vote, or see stories on the news about hours-long queues at polling places, it flabbergasts me. It feels like the sort of thing that happens in banana republics. Given that these things take place in urban constituencies where (presumably) most people are Democratic, it becomes no great wonder to me why Democrats believe there needs to be things like mail-in voting and other lower-friction means of voting, and that opposition to those means supporting voter suppression.

But personally, I think the US needs to dramatically increase election funding so we can actually pay poll workers a competitive wage and hire many more of them. We need more polling places, and more poll workers. "Ending universal mail-in voting, and dramatically increasing the number and staff of polling places in urban precincts" seems like a great compromise that would make everyone happy.

We need more polling places, and more poll workers. "Ending universal mail-in voting, and dramatically increasing the number and staff of polling places in urban precincts" seems like a great compromise that would make everyone happy.

If nothing else, we'd find out whether Republicans really favor in person voting or just want it be difficult to vote and Democrats really just want it to be easy or have other reasons for wanting mail-in.

Like you, I haven't experienced the giant lines in person. In fact, I've now voted in:

  • Rural village with heavily red voting

  • Moderate sized city that's about half black demographically and votes blue

  • High income suburb that votes fairly (but not exclusively) blue

  • Downtown in Madison, Wisconsin, one of the bluest places known to man

In in none of them have I ever had any meaningful wait at all. The extent to which I've never had to wait makes it very hard for me to believe that the problem with in-person sites is fundamentally intractable. Maybe it gets harder in very dense urban areas, but it also seems like the available infrastructure in these areas should be excellent.

Can an American please explain to me how very long voting queues can be an issue in practice? So from what I understand this happens in very Democratic urban polities, where both voters and the politicians are Democrats. Why not make it as easy as possible for your own voters to vote? Is it just incompetence?

The only datapoint I have here is that a lot of the places that supposedly experience this are places with incompetent administration in general.

Surge planning for anything is tricky.

Couple that with limited funds, dependence on volunteers, and procedures which may be set by a hostile state government, and city or county hands may be tied.

Living in a small town, there are probably single buildings in NYC that house more people than my entire precinct. In order to have a polling station you need some common/semi-public area like libraries or whatever, and there are probably fewer of these per Capita in cities than suburbs/rural. That's what makes cities more efficient in the first place--usuay fine except the when Everyone simultaneously needs to do a thing.