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Small-Scale Question Sunday for January 8, 2023

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.

What's the term for scheduling events in a program loop to avoid constant iteration?

For example: there are objects that get updated every 6000 game ticks after they first appear. Say there are currently 4000 of them. To avoid having 4000 separate timers iterating every tick, they are all on a single array with their id# and time of their next update. The game checks the first item of the array each tick to see if it needs updating. When an object is updated or a new one is created, it gets 6000 ticks added to its update time and moved to the end of the array (or removed if the object had been deleted since its last update).

Is there any way to avoid running the update clock every tick to check if tick# >= next_update_tick# ?

One way to do it would be to have a global tick counter for all similar processes, but it feels like there should be a better way than having the program ask "are we there yet?" every tick for up to 6000 ticks. (Unless you're coding Minecraft, in which case every frog scans every block within jumping range every tick because fuck you.)

Lots of sim games do their update processes on tick multiples: modulo every 5, 10, 100 ticks, etc. That way if you have 50 "every 100 ticks" updates you only need 1 check to see if it's time to run them all, instead of 50.

I guess you could have an array of scheduled updates: if updateX is scheduled for tick 20300, and updateY is scheduled for tick 32000, the global clock just makes one check each tick to see if it's 20300 yet, and if not then it's not 32000 either.

Obviously just the first step got us down from 4000 checks per tick to 1, which is probably more than good enough. But like I said it feels like I'm missing some smarter way of doing this.

If I'm understanding you correctly, which I may not - doing a single comparison-then-branch every "tick" is free and not worth worrying about, unless you're doing millions of ticks per second or something. There isn't really a smarter way because one comparison per tick is nothing compared to billions of instructions per second. As you say you could while(true) { run_100_ticks(); check_timers(); } but I don't see the benefit.

Yeah, that's basically what I'm asking.

When you're doing stuff at scale, avoiding constant checks is pretty important. Factorio saves a ton of update time by putting unused entities to sleep and not having them periodically check if it's time to wake up; they go completely inactive in updates until an active entity connected to them pings them to do something.

When you have 55,000 robot arms not checking if they need to move every tick, the performance savings are measurable.

Why are headlights getting brighter? Isn't their brightness regulated? It's getting to the point that if a pickup truck (by the way, why are cars getting bigger too?) is passing me, I will often hold up my left hand to shield my eyes.

Isn't their brightness regulated?

Yes. The regulations can be found at this link—CFR title 49 section 571.108.S10, in the FMVSS. For example, if you want to find the requirements applicable to replaceable bulbs in a two-lamp system with mechanical aiming, check out the LB2M section of table XIX-a.

  • In the range 10 ° up to 90 ° up and 90 ° left to 90 ° right, the intensity must be no more than 125 candelas.

  • At the point 4 ° up and 8 ° left, the intensity must be at least 64 cd.

  • At the point 2 ° up and 4 ° left, the intensity must be at least 135 cd.

  • In the range 1 ° up and 1.5 ° left to [90 °?] left, the intensity must be no more than 700 cd.

  • In the range 0.5 ° up and 1.5 to [90 °?] left, the intensity must be no more than 1000 cd.

You might start here.

Why are headlights getting brighter?

"The trend toward improved headlight illumination has been fueled in part by manufacturers seeking higher safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Professor Kennedy said."

Isn't their brightness regulated?

Yes, but policing of headlights is pretty unusual.

by the way, why are cars getting bigger too?

Safety ratings may also play a role here, but emissions laws that exempt larger vehicles have recently been blamed as well.

Time for a humble brag: Due to recent economic events, plowing a ton of money into i bonds, my general distaste for crypto and elon musk, and me getting a degree and a fake tech job instead of eg digging holes and shit, I will be comfortably a millionaire in terms of cash on hand and bonds in the next couple years.

I also have ownership /family stake that will devolve on to me in CA property, investment houses in a couple states, some international properties, and 0 debt of any kind.

It occurs to me that I should probably have some sort of estate planning incase I get hit by a bus walking the dog or some such, and cursory googling makes a living trust seem like the way to go for someone in my position (young-ish, lots of different amounts and types of retirement accounts, and properties.)

Does anyone have experience with living trusts that include properties from outside your state of residence, or international accounts/properties? Can you even have such a trust, or will I need to have separate trusts in each state/country, style of thing.

Given the amount of new money tech autists on the board, ya'll seem like a good place to sound out.

I'm looking for a thread that I think was on Twitter, but I'm not 100% sure. It was a 911 dispatcher that was talking about all the really dumb calls that they got, one story I remember was of an older gentleman who kept sitting on his breathing tube, and then calling to complain about being short of breath. Let me know if anyone has the link, thanks!

There’s a post in the CW thread which I suspect of bad-faith argumentation. Specifically: mixing in enough concrete questions to make it difficult to point out the unsupported (and relatively spicy) claims. What’s the appropriate response?

Obviously, I don’t want to respond in that thread without addressing the actual questions. Especially if it’s good-faith, just poorly drafted. But I also don’t want to let the generalizations go unchallenged.

Challenge the generalizations, call out what you consider to be unsupported claims. Same as any other contentious post.

People report posts as "bad faith" constantly, and nine times out of ten, what that means is "I disagree with this post and it makes me angry."

For what it’s worth, I didn’t report it.

In theory, I wanted to write a thorough response, but felt frustrated that doing so would take more time and effort than I had available. Asking this question...well, I suppose it was an inelegant way to register the prediction that the user in question wouldn’t engage with effortful criticism, thus justifying my own inaction. I can’t say I’m satisfied with my choice.

Another user ended up making just such a more thorough dissection, thankfully, and the thread was more productive for it.

Potentially a stupid question based on misunderstanding, but it's really confusing to me now.

So, as far as I know, allergies are caused by immune system reacting to some substance, usually harmless to most people. One of the ways to treat allergies is to introduce small quantities of the allergen and try to get the immune system to stop treating it as a threat.

Then, the main function of the immune system is fighting infections - e.g. viruses or bacteria or whatever. Unfortunately, sometimes viruses and bacteria do their business so quickly that they overwhelm the system and it can not fight them off. To prevent that, we have vaccinations - where we introduce the small quantities of the antigen to the system and try to get the immune system to recognize it and fight them better when they come next time.

What is confusing to me is why in these two instances the same system is behaving in two opposite ways? In the first instance, if you introduce something it then makes the immune system to ignore it eventually, but in the second instance, if you introduce something, the immune system starts to react stronger to it? What am I missing?

Also, does this mean that if somebody didn't have a certain allergy, and I were their evil nemesis and wanted to give them one, I could do it by concocting a specific "vaccine" that would stimulate their immune system to react on the specific substance - just as regular vaccines do? Or somehow it works with one class of substances and not with the others, and if so - why?

I understand the full answer might be "get PhD in immunology and it'll all be clear to you" but maybe there's a shorter answer to this?

Antibodies are proteins your body makes to fight bad stuff. These are custom-made to stick to a specific target and tell your immune system what to attack, but sometime the target is a dumb mistake, like pollen, and you get allergies, or the target is correctly chosen but it looks just like some other innocent molecule, and you get autoimmunity. There are other systems to dial back unnecessary immune activity, but these have less evolutionary weight than pathogen defense so they’re a bit wimpy.

You can increase the risk of developing an allergy by regularly exposing someone to a scary-looking molecule and have some chance of making them develop an allergy, i.e. regular exposure to latex can lead to a banana allergy. But antibodies are generated in a pseudorandom manner, so you can’t guarantee a bad reaction, just roll a few more dice.

I do not have PhD nor any degree whatsoever in immunology. But what about this: I think none of allergens (say, hay pollen) multiply in the host organism nor cause any other problems than the immunological overreaction. Infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, and other) do generally grow and multiply and eventually will cause problems to the host if the immune system stands still twiddling their thumbs. (And then you have toxins, which are not biological replicators, but disrupt biological function of the host.)

If you introduce allergens to host body in very small quantities, the immune system may do nothing, and then adapt to the "observation" that left alone, those allergens do nothing and ultimately disappear. Whereas a pathogen, unless dealt with, will keep multiplying and causing increasing amounts of problems to the host organism's main functions. If you introduce a very small dose of pathogen to the host organism, so small that the immune system (again) may do nothing, you will have more of the pathogen (a larger "attack surface" for the immune system).

Huh. That’s a really interesting question.

I don’t think the state of allergy therapy is particularly good, judging purely by the people I know who have undergone it, but there should still be a body of theory...somewhere.

There’s got to be two different parts of the system at play. Food allergies are best known for causing anaphylaxis, not fevers and fatigue. And I have no idea how vomiting gets triggered in some allergies and diseases but not others. So my wildly uneducated guess would be separate pathways for inflammation and for fever? Then vaccines could boost the system for one while allergen therapy could subvert the other.

But that doesn’t explain anything! If low-grade exposure can erode performance, then how come “reinfection” is usually via a related strain, not from a lost reponse? Do people ever develop allergies after tragic accidents in the peanut factory? How do our bodies stay functional at all??

Speaking of allergy therapy, mine has been going on for years with no discernible effect. But according to the pharmacist, they're expensive as hell. If that is actually true, then I smell a bit of a scam there.

While not being an expert, I think solid answers to immunology questions like this aren't really available - why and how do allergies happen, and how does that relate to the way the immune system normally functions - "we" know a lot, but don't know a lot.

FWIW, I think this is actually a good question. I never thought much about it, but now that you phrased it like you did I'm also left wondering.

Vaccines are intentionally designed to produce a strong immune response even in minuscule quantities. That goes as far as adding adjuvants to increase the antigenicity of a base antigen. Not to mention that they're usually given parenterally, meaning that the immune system is exposed to a higher concentration than is typical for normal allergens that are inhaled or contact spread.

So, does it mean if I injected somebody (non-allergic) with peanut butter extract mixed with an adjuvant (provided I find a safe way to do it without causing them harm) they'd get a peanut allergy?

Conversely, if somebody were vaccinated, e.g. against flu, and subjected constantly to low doses of flu virus - would they lose the immunity eventually? If not, again, why does it work with allergens and not with the flu virus?

In the first case, unless they already had a genetic predisposition to peanut allergies, it's unlikely that they'd develop an allergy at all. They might develop a local hypersensitivity reaction at the time of injection, but I don't believe that it'll go as far as making normal peanut butter eaten later an allergen.

In the second case, I'm unsure myself.

Conversely, if somebody were vaccinated, e.g. against flu, and subjected constantly to low doses of flu virus - would they lose the immunity eventually

If you have some immunity to the flu, but it's spreading around your community, you are subjected constantly to low doses of flu virus!

Let's say you're an academic researcher. You don't know how to code beyond a rudimentary level, and neither do any of your grad students/co-authors, but you need to scrape a particular dataset, or do some data analysis or munging that can't be accomplished by just pushing a button in Stata. You're willing to spend some of your grant money to pay a programmer to do this for you. Where do you turn?

I ask not because I'm in this position myself, but because I think it would be fun to take on this kind of work. I actually did this as a side gig in university many years ago, and found it really fulfilling - I just happened on one job advertised on one of the school's message boards, and from there I got lots more work via word of mouth.

I'm curious about general answers, but also if you have any specific tips, feel free to drop me a DM. To give a sense of my bona fides, I've worked as a SWE at multiple FAANG companies. I'm basically retired now, but I'm realizing I could use some structured goals in my life so that I don't end up wasting all my time endlessly scrolling.

I have a friend who did work like this and he was just enployed by the university and accessed by researchers as a resource.

You could give ChatGPT a shot. It's surprisingly good at writing code, I've seen examples of it scraping websites with ease, and applications in data science to boot.

So, what are you reading?

I'm still on Korzybski's Science and Sanity. I haven't managed to wrap my head around all the implications of his system, but Korzybski had an interesting project. In his view, the reason why people have not caught up to science is related to our conception of language. I've started adopting the term "semantic reaction" to describe people's understanding or lack of understanding of what underlying structure they are referring to when they speak. God knows I could do better in that regard.

I am reading The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus. Kurt is one of the two people to have ever done the first ascents of two 8000m peaks without oxygen. The other was his climbing partner, the legendary Herman Buhl. This is a story of his life and climbing. I love stories of adventure, of humans operating at the very limits of what is possible, in unforgiving environments. Reading these stories really stokes my own passion for adventure climbing. Hopefully my kidney transplant will happen soon and I can resume my mountaineering activities.

I found a freshly-opened used bookstore this weekend! Picked up

  • The Big Short - since my dad raves about the movie

  • The Future of Conflict in the 1980s - I expect some fascinating and/or hilarious essays, seeing as this was written in 1981

  • Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games and Rainbow Six - because Red October was so much fun

  • Audubon guide to the night sky - I’m slowly collecting more and more of the set ever since I got my grandmother’s copy of the mushroom guide

  • the first Witcher book - out of general curiosity (despite not having any experience with the franchise)

Very cheap. But their organization was terrible. Perhaps that’s just incentive to come back once things are sorted.

Regardless, I’m idly reading the Witcher first. Might be fun.

Should be noted that the first Witcher book is somewhat different from the rest of the franchise, as it is more a collection of stories with Sapkowski riffing on old folk tales. IIRC the second book features that as well, but after that the "main plot" gets going. I mean, the first books are not bad, I'd say I prefer them to the later books with the plot getting convoluted.

So I actually got Blood of Elves and not Last Wish. I have no idea if the previous short stories introduced Triss, Yennefer, Vesimir, Dandilion, Ciri or anyone else with a speaking role in the first few chapters. I just recognize names from Internet discussion. It’s basically started with a hyperbolic time chamber training arc.

The Last Wish introduces Yennifer, Dandelion, Cintra and Ciri's origins as Geralt's child of surprise. The next short story collection, Sword of Destiny, introduces Ciri proper and builds her and Yenn's relationship with Geralt, something Blood of Elves dives into already established. Some of the stories are building the groundwork to the main series like that. I recommend them first not just so you get the important world building, but because they are pretty good on their own. The ending of Sword of Destiny made me tear up, but it should be known that I am a sap. The video games take some of the characters from the stories. Villentretenmerth, for instance, is only in "The Bounds of Reason".

The Big Short

At the risk of straying into culture-war territory, I will also recommend the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report (free; includes separate Democrat, Republican, and libertarian viewpoints) and Hidden in Plain Sight (on Amazon, $10 electronic or $6 paper; an expanded version of the same libertarian viewpoint).

I've been going through 80s pop musician autobiographies. Just finished Andy Taylor's (of Duran Duran Fame) Wild Boy and started Bananarama's Really Saying Something. I'm some ten years too young to have properly appreciated the music back then, so I guess this is my way of trying to get a feel of what it was like. Not that the local Finnish scene would have been even a shadow of London in the 80s anyway (insert only half joking quips about Soviet Finland here...)

If anyone has more suggestions for the genre (80s & pop / pop rock, particularly if British), I'm all ears. I've already gone through Steve Lukather, Dave Stewart, Guy Pratt, John Illsley and Phil Collins.


Why not?

Just finished The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, a classic novel about an overly reserved* English butler and his tsundere housekeeper failing to fall in love in the 20s and 30s. Also appeasement. Well written and overall enjoyable. Since the story plays out as a kind of soft tragedy I was surprised that the very ending is cute and a bit optimistic.

*bordering on autistic in the 4chan sense of the word.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by semantic reaction. Is he describing the reflex to bullshit, or is it about the language used to qualify one's statements?

As I understand it, it refers to the response, which is conditional on personal (non-verbal?) meanings applied to an event. An example might be if someone sees a criminal and says "he believes in law and order." A verbalistic/"elementalistic" analysis wouldn't be able to understand how such a semantic reaction is formed.

Though to be honest, Korzybski is quite confusing, so I possibly misunderstood. I just think it's a neat term for the relationship between map and territory (Korzybski coined the phrase) when specifically talking about how people respond to things.

For clarity, it isn't just mismatched reactions, it's any reaction. One of his goals was to teach "extensional" semantic reactions (ie. non-elemental, multi-level) such as more use of words like "I don't know," I have run into some of this in my experiments with E-Prime. I ended up using a lot more of the phrase "I don't know at present" rather than things that let one off the hook like "I'm not sure" (which often implies that I have an idea and knowledge is just around the corner, and does so without explicitly trying to justify that claim).

When people move long distances in the US, their primary consideration seems to be "jobs". But what does that actually operationalize to for people who aren't professionals or otherwise in some extremely niche industry? Let's say you don't hope for much more than working at Costco or maybe as an administrative assistant at some small business, or as some random entry-level lab technician. What sort of metrics are you even supposed to look at when deciding on a destination?

  • Something like income per capita or unemployment rate seem too crude to be useful. Perhaps Region A has higher income per capita than Region B because of a thriving industry (e.g., diesel engine manufacturing) that has no relevance to your skills.

  • A random snapshot of job listings on seems too unrepresentative. Job openings come and go all the time, and it seems unwise to write off a whole area because the current job openings don't suit you.

  • A region's level of educational attainment seems meaningless, except perhaps for some highly skilled professions, because a less-educated region has fewer workers who might compete for the white collar job you want. And it doesn't seem obvious to me that less-education regions would have fewer white collar jobs relative to the population of qualified candidates.

  • A region's rate of growth seems irrelevant. What's the difference between a region that has grown 30% in the last decade from 100,000 to 130,000 to a region that has grown only 10% in the last decade from 118,000 to 130,000? If it's because there's something more desirable or economically healthy about the former, then look at that metric and skip the middleman. (And what is that metric, and why does it matter for the prospective mover?)

Crude unemployment rate and income per capita are relevant to all non-specialized blue collar skills. You might not be a diesel engine manufacturing specialist, but if the diesel engine factory employs men who would otherwise be carpenters or hang drywall then there will be job openings in construction.

My work takes me across my state, and my state has a huge quantity of enormous warehousing/distribution facilities due to its central location with highway access for trucking across the BosWash megalopolis. These warehousing facilities have massively driven up the price/value of semi skilled blue collar workers locally.

If I go to Home Depot in a town with multiple 1,000,000sqft Amazon warehouses; it is impossible to get help with anything. Anyone who wants to work carrying boxes and running a forklift can make more at Amazon, which can afford to pay more because they are more productive; the only people left are the feeble in mind or body, the unreliable, and a few old codgers who just want to chat about how paint was better before they took the lead out of it. Everything is disorganized, if I need something down from a higher shelf it takes ages to find someone who can run the forklift.

If I go to home Depot two towns over, where there are no Amazon warehouses, it feels like a different country! The sales clerks are bright eyed and bushy tailed, the aisles are crawling with young men who are actively eager to play with the forklift.

This goes for all unskilled and semi skilled labor. Dunkin donuts franchises aroundv warehouses are in shambles for lack of workers, even low paid government jobs like parole officer are tough to fill when Amazon pay is higher.

When I was a kid, before e commerce, those towns were effectively identical; socially they mostly still are. But today there is a huge difference in labor cost. So if you, who I presume to be bright and talented as befits a mottizen, move there to take a random job you will be head and shoulders above the dregs they are typically able to hire.

If I understand you correctly, are you basically saying that a huge source of labor in a city (like an Amazon warehouse) has cascading effects on the local economy in a way that's very favorable to a prospective worker moving in? That seems intuitive, but how far do you think that extends? Would you expect low-paying entry-level white collar work, like an administrative assistant, to benefit from an Amazon warehouse in town?

When people move long distances in the US, their primary consideration seems to be "jobs".

I can't find any clearly great data on this, but I would wager that when people move long distances in the U.S., their primary consideration is a job--like, one they have already been offered. While I have known a few people who went somewhere looking for opportunities, it seems much more common, in my experience, to have a job offer, or at least a somewhat specific lead. The main exception seems to be when people have a landing pad in the form of friends or family.

This survey is not limited to long distance moves, but the question "what brought you here" gets the answer "family" almost 1/3rd of the time--followed closely by "I grew up here" (27%) and then "job" at just 14%. Interestingly, the two biggest hypothetical reasons people imagine would get them to leave their current residence is "a new job elsewhere" followed closely by "the opportunity to move to my dream city"--which, realistically for most people, means "a new job in my dream city."

In other words, very few Americans "decid[e] on a destination" as a matter of primary consideration. Rather, people tend to make decisions based on what is familiar (geography, family) while possibly keeping an open mind should sufficiently good opportunities become available elsewhere.

The main exception to this seems to be people whose circumstances (wealth, retirement, remote work) permit them to live more or less wherever they want--in which case again, family and friends would be primary considerations, along with stuff like leisure, culture, housing prices, etc. In such cases, jobs are not generally at issue, so the relevant metrics will be highly dependent on individual preferences.

So to your question:

What sort of metrics are you even supposed to look at when deciding on a destination?

I would answer, "whichever metrics happen to matter to your personal case." If all you're doing is launching yourself somewhere else on a proverbial wing and a prayer, though... I don't know. If you're not independently wealthy, I feel like this would be a huge risk to take. Maybe find a place that seems likely to have some demand for the skills you personally possess?

The whole reason I ask is because I'm moving to the US from Canada later this year to be with my significant other, who is American. She currently works in Buffalo so she can drive to be with me weekly when not working. We want to move to a Red state, but neither of us have job offers or family (at least not family that we'd want to move to be near). I have no work history besides my BA degree and no idea what I want to do; she has a BA in biology and a work history as a lab tech.

It's easy enough to find a decent state (pretty much any red Midwest state, in our case). The real daunting task is finding a place within a state. Ruling out large cities because of personal preference, that still leaves dozens of cities per state. I'm having trouble figuring out how to systematically filter these hundreds of possibilities. The options that come to mind (e.g., income per capita, growth rate, and other things I've mentioned) don't seem obviously important to me, but I could be wrong. I have no experience in this area.

In my experience, I think a city population of about 100k, being an hour or 2 drive from a major million pop city is the sweet spot.

Concerts/sports/Ikeas/IMAX theaters are still within reach, but your day to day is quiet and chill. Short commute, typically low housing costs but still decent employment prospects. The city is big and serviced, but not too big - you can call one of your city counsellors on the phone, you can get a hold of someone at the city to fix your water main or a street light in a day or two. You get decent services at a scalable level.

Ruling out large cities because of personal preference

I'm curious what the preference here is specifically. Suburbs of large cities function quite a bit like their own small city but with lots of benefits from being attached to a major hub like access to well connected airports and niche but useful amenities. It's a very popular choice for a reason.

I'm curious what the preference here is specifically. Suburbs of large cities function quite a bit like their own small city but with lots of benefits from being attached to a major hub like access to well connected airports and niche but useful amenities. It's a very popular choice for a reason.

I'm wary of suburbs for a few reasons, not all of which I'm super confident about.

  1. I'm concerned that most of the jobs are in the large city itself, which would be unacceptable to me. Like, let's say the suburbs have 50,000 people. I'm concerned that the number of jobs in those suburbs are vastly fewer than the jobs that would be available in another city of 50,000 that's far away from a large city and thus whose jobs can only be in the 50,000 city itself. I hope that makes sense.

  2. I'm concerned that the large city's growth will, in years or decades, envelop the suburbs in ways I don't want (zoning, culture, traffic, demographics).

  3. I'm concerned that the suburbs of a large city attract highly educated blue tribe people, many of whom probably commute to the large city and were priced out of it or wanted to raise a family.

  4. Precisely because suburbs are popular, I'm concerned about the price of homes. Me and my significant other may very well end up with a household income of like mid-five-figures or something.

I'm concerned that most of the jobs are in the large city itself, which would be unacceptable to me. Like, let's say the suburbs have 50,000 people. I'm concerned that the number of jobs in those suburbs are vastly fewer than the jobs that would be available in another city of 50,000 that's far away from a large city and thus whose jobs can only be in the 50,000 city itself. I hope that makes sense.

This may practically be the opposite for the point you followed it up with, the people commuting to the city still do much of their consumption in the suburbs. It'll depend on what kind of work you ultimately do but they're going to need all the well paid blue collar labor like plumbers and electricians as well as all the service industry jobs. White collar offices also end up in the suburbs sometimes.

I'm concerned that the large city's growth will, in years or decades, envelop the suburbs in ways I don't want (zoning, culture, traffic, demographics).

Suburbs tend to be somewhat static, unless you're right on the border of the urban parts of a city you really probably don't need to worry about this. They're places built by people who don't want to live in the urban core run by people who don't want to live in the urban core. Many of the suburbs have tens of miles of not much between them and the urban core.

Precisely because suburbs are popular, I'm concerned about the price of homes.

This seems like the kind of thing you're going to be ruling out on anyways, no need to toss suburbs out of the heap for this reason when it'll already be filtered by your price constraint. If you take a upper mid tier city like Columbus Ohio or Dallas Fort Worth you'll easily be able to find suburbs that don't trigger most of these concerns.

Uh, DFW growth rates are so high that suburbs do get enveloped into the urban core quickly and regularly, and this is true in every direction except south-southeast(which is caused by very high crime rates).

If @helmedhorror can deal with climate and a bit of culture shock, then there's three smaller, economically prosperous red tribe cities in Texas to consider- Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Tyler. All of these are cheap places to live with a generally good labour market and are deep, deep red politically- they get used by the state government to make controversial proclamations specifically because they're much farther to the right than Austin. If a hot climate, southerners, or Hispanics are an issue, I'd recommend looking in Michigan's upper peninsula- the state might be blue, but the local area is not, and the state government is shier than average about imposing progressive policies on deep red towns geographically separated from the core population.

Try Kansas City, Missouri- it’s a very very light shade of blue in a very red state and has lots of white collar admin-type work there. If you’re sure you can handle the climate and cultural differences, Tyler, Lubbock, and Corpus Christi in Texas have growing economies and are much more solidly red, and commuting into Fort Worth would be the other option to maximize softening the landing.

  1. The Labor Dept publishes job forecasts for industries; they might do so for metro areas as well. Obviously they are speculative to some extent, but less so than your own efforts would be, since they have more data and no more expertise than you do.

  2. But, really, your best bet is a place with a well funded community college with vocational programs that will eventually allow you to get a good job in a local industry.

I'm having trouble figuring out how to systematically filter these hundreds of possibilities. The options that come to mind (e.g., income per capita, growth rate, and other things I've mentioned) don't seem obviously important to me, but I could be wrong. I have no experience in this area.

I see. Well, standard responses in this area are typically stuff like minimizing commute, maximizing access to preferred leisure activities, preferred housing, shopping, low crime rates, and good public schools. Not every city of the "dozens" mentioned will have a Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Best Buy, whatever you like. Not every city will have a board game cafe or video game store or rock climbing station. Not every city will have lake views or mountain views. Most non-cities will have relatively low crime rates, but not all. You may not care about public school quality but maybe you will in the future.

Barring considerations like that, you can always just follow the efficient market hypothesis and find the most expensive housing you can afford, and get that on the assumption that there must be some good reason for it to cost what it costs.

This sounds like an analogous problem to the way my wife and I chose a London neighborhood to buy a house and settle down in. (Any given Midwestern state has a population of the same order of magnitude as Greater London). Key points:

  • Know what you want - for us it was a manageable commute to Central London, houses with gardens affordable on a UMC salary, and proximity to woodlands for walking.

  • Know what you don't want that other people are willing to pay a premium for, and avoid it. I grew up using London commuter trains, so I wasn't willing to pay a premium to live on the Underground network. Given that other people are willing to pay a large premium for this, we could rule out any neighbourhood with a tube station as poor value for money. Obviously relevant examples are good schools if you are not planning to have kids (or are planning to homeschool), walkability if you are happy living in American auto-orientated suburbia, a lack of rush hour traffic if you work remotely.

  • Make a shortlist of suitable towns based on your criteria. You are doing internet research at this point unless you can ask someone who lives in the general area. Relying on stereotypes is fine - most stereotypes are mostly accurate.

  • Visit the places on the shortlist, walk around a lot, try to understand who lives there (Are they like you? Mostly like you with less money is also okay. Mostly like you with more money is dangerous unless you are early-career and expecting large payrises), do the things that matter to you (hiking in the woods for us).

  • If you experience a "problem with no name" in most or all of your target areas, then one of your criteria is wrong and you need to go back to step 1. After looking at some outer-suburban neighborhoods in SE London we realised that we cared about neighborhood walkability more than having a large garden, and went back to more inner-suburban neighborhoods with smaller gardens. (We now live in Greenwich, and love it. The small garden is quite large enough for the kids and we do indeed have a wooded park which the kids will be able to walk to on their own by the time they outgrow the garden).

I'll talk about Canada because I think it's similar to the US in this respect and I'm more familiar with it. A lot of people in my area (the east coast) move out west, particularly Alberta, for work. People don't look at statistics. People just hear stories about friends who have moved out west and make a lot more than they do here. This has been going on for decades, so it's just generally well understood that if you want to make more money, you should out west. I think there are just certain places where people know the jobs are and anyone ambitious moves there. Before it was western Canada, it was Montreal and Toronto, and before that, it was New England.

Most Americans who move in pursuit of ‘some job or other, they’re better where I’m going to’ are not doing mathematical analysis, they’re relying on word of mouth that is actually mostly social media these days.

As an example, oil booms in the US- like the North Dakota sand tar boom or the midland-Odessa boom in Texas- generate lots of men(women seem to accurately assess that unless they are sex workers, a town made up mostly of blue collar males is unlikely to be to their advantage) moving in to try to take advantage of a perceived unskilled labor shortage in industries that roughnecks are thought to create high demand in(eg fast food) by asking for high wages. This can actually spread out pretty far; Midland, Texas has historically been a top destination for barbers, who reason quite accurately that large amounts of imported male blue collar labor needs lots of basic haircuts which the town’s permanent economy can’t provide.

You also have another effect, where individuals from poor regions(like Acadiana or the Ozarks) move to more economically prosperous regions(like DFW or Houston) to seek training in low prestige skills(like phlebotomy or garage door repair) in the hope that they’ll gain access to local alumni networks which will get them a job that less prosperous regions can’t support as easily.

What are some common, banal sentiments that really grind your gears? I'll share one.

  • "Whats really bad/(the worst) about {this very bad thing} is {some other bad thing}?". E.g, I watch videos of extremely gruesome executions/murder sometimes (for reasons). There are always comments along the lines of, "the worst part about all of this is that there are people on the internet who watch these videos for pleasure". No! The worst part is the murder! People watching others die for pleasure is bad, but it's not as bad as killing people. Ultimately, I think no one is dense enough to actually make that claim. They are just using imprecise language. Instead of saying "another pernicious thing about this is that", they just default to "the worst part".

    Norm Macdonalds joke about Bill Cosby that goes along the lines of "I mean that guy is a date rapist, but the worst part is the hypocrisy", is the only piece of cultural commentary on this that I am aware of.

This happens extremely often, it would be fascinating to have statistics on what percentages of those poor hyperboles do people perceive as an hyperbole and to what extent?

The most salient recent example being Scott Alexander making a subset of the motte readers believes that medias lies very rarely..

I often encounter the sentiments "what's for you won't pass you by" or its even more banal cousin "everything happens for a reason". Particularly common to see them in dating app profiles, before I stopped using dating apps.

The people expressing these sentiments rarely seem to realise that they're effectively saying that poor people deserve to be poor, or any other number of rhetorical positions most people consider distasteful.

Where are you watching gore videos? I find comments on /gif are more like 'fucking cartels should be burn in hell' and 'context?' or dumb jokes like 'is he dead' when he's obviously completely fucked. For some reason the cartels empty six or seven shots into someone's head, when it's surely overkill.

I've never seen someone say "the worst part about all of this is that there are people on the internet who watch these videos for pleasure". Are you sure it's not an in-joke or something? There's one such joke about the many videos of people mysteriously collapsing/writhing around. They always say it's nerve gas. But logically, it never is. That's sort of gone out of style now with people bitching about the vaccine instead.

Where are you watching gore videos?


Sometimes I watch the YouTuber 'Disturbed Reality' proceeding the video for background information and history on the video. The type of comments I am talking about are much more common in the latter. I should have specified that.

Are you sure it's not an in-joke or something?


Where are you watching gore videos

I don't watch them much, but plausibly, a /r/watchpeopledie offsite created by rdrama

-- "I/you deserve x." I'm guilty of saying this about relationships when advising others, but for material goods it always fills me with mild disgust and puritan self hatred. I don't morally deserve most of what I have, I just happen to have it.

-- Trying to use the exclusionary rule of evidence from illicit searches and seizures in day to day life. I think the exclusionary rule is the best way to defend the public from illegal searches and seizures; but that doesn't apply to your girlfriend going through your phone, or to "leaked" government/politician documents. Is it true? Then I don't care how it came out. {Contradicting myself, I hate snitches, if you turn on your friend I'm likely to ignore it, whether public or private citizen. Whistleblower laws are for institutions, not people}

I disagree with your framing, my point is not that snooping is good, it is that snooping does not excuse the behavior discovered during snooping. Being correct or incorrect doesn't change that.

If you snoop and find your boyfriend is cheating on you, he can't throw the snooping out to claim he's the victim here. At the same time, if you did something that seems to me insane like "glancing in mirrors" I would probably never date you. Everyone can be judged by their actions, no need to live by legal fictions.

The reason the exclusionary rule is important at the governmental level is because holding cops accountable is hard. Lawsuits for civil rights violations rarely succeed, and criminal suspects rarely have the resources or wherewithal to fight them to begin with. Society is fairly good at holding insane sexual partners accountable, we can hear the whole story and adjudicate it ourselves.


Yeah, this is a word I have had a hate relationship with for a long time.

In almost any example, there's probably some poor bastard in some war-torn shithole who "deserves" it more than me. So what does it even mean to deserve something? Is there a minimum threshold, or is it a relative measure where the person who "deserves" it the most has lay to that claim?

I take very literally that {doing things usually done to attain something} increases the probability that {thing being attained} will happen; it's never a guarantee. So I find it annoying to use in this context too.

The third context I find it annoying is when used, such as; For a thing to happen, there are actionable things such as {a,b,c} and things that are out of one's control such as {x,y,z}. If a,b, and c were met that doesn't mean you "deserve" what you wanted, it's a law that x,y,z has to happen too for that thing to materialize, so you don't deserve it because you didn't meet ALL the criteria. It's a shame you didn't get it, but you didn't deserve it.

Ultimately, I think the word deserve is just a consoling word. It's purpose is to show solidarity or pity rather than make any normative or mechanistic statement about anything.

the exclusionary rule

Yeah, it makes no sense in an interpersonal context.

I also rail against the word “deserve”.

At-will employees deserve every dollar they work for, at the rate they agreed to work for. They might need a living (read: middle-class) wage, but don’t tell me they deserve it unless that’s the value of their employment within that market.

And if those employees hire politicians who try to force employers to pay above market value for labor instead of improving the economy to increase the relative value of employment, they deserve an economy which doesn’t work right and eventually collapses. They absolutely need a better economy, but they definitely don’t deserve one.

'Deserve' is a signalling strategy rather than a statement about the form of the good. Same with 'rights'- people who say they have a right to something aren't saying they have any proof of some god guaranteeing it or whatever, they're claiming you'll get strong groups fighting you to get them that thing.

People who steal from their employers and have society's support 'deserve' what they take. People who work hard and are killed, but who have no support from society 'deserve' their own fate, since the power distribution of society gives them that.

I wonder if you should use 'they cause a shit economy' instead of 'deserve' since you're not rallying a base to take their economy from them. To some degree, however, there will always be a part of us which believes the connotations, and maybe we should keep the manipulative terms in our mind for our own psychological benefit, and accept the innacurate model of reality. Personally, even though I understand good is subjective, I can only make decisions in terms of 'x good' 'y bad.'

Agreed! It drives me nuts when people who advocate a generally capitalist sorting system then claim they Deserve such and such that the market doesn't deliver. You don't deserve a high paying job or a hot partner or a high status, you can get one or you can't.

And worse lately in my area: "Oh man we can't find anyone competent willing to work at a shitty fast food business for shitty wages!" Yeah, society spends 50 years equating flipping burgers with the dregs of society, your business model makes paying a decent wage impossible, if people have other options they aren't going to work there. Sorry, society doesn't owe you competent reliable self starters who will work at $7.75/hr, we can put those people to better use down the street. Improve working conditions, invest in new equipment that can make each worker more productive, or die like the dinosaur you are. Boomers act like it's this big tragedy they can't have 5 fast food places in the same square mile anymore.

I need some career advice. My priority right now is finding some job security, and I'm not sure which of these options is best in the current environment.

  1. Stay where I am for now. I'm at a digital agency, but I lost my last client project in November and have been sitting on the bench since then. We don't seem to have a whole lot coming in the pipeline anytime soon. I still have a job and am getting paid, but who knows how long that will last (plus, I'm bored as hell)

  2. Join a large-ish company that is in the loan space. Their stock price has dropped a lot lately and it doesn't seem like a great space to be in while interest rates are so high. But they are hiring, so...

  3. Join my former boss's two start-ups/projects. He says he has funding for now but I have no idea what that actually means. I've asked for more details before seriously considering.

I have health insurance through my husband, so that's not a concern. I just really hate the idea of having some period of unemployment. I'm a relentless optimist, so my gut instinct is to think that any of these will turn out great, and I could use some more hardheaded opinions on this.

You know your own situation better than I do, especially given the sparse details you've given here, but are you sure that a short period of unemployment is as bad as you're making it out to be? If you don't have a lifestyle that requires two incomes 100% of the time (which ideally you should not), having a spouse with a steady job gives you the opportunity to take some risks.

For me, it's more of an issue that being idle is bad for my mental health. I start spinning onto other problems to solve if I don't have something meaty to work on. I don't think being unemployed would be terrible (I'm sure I'd find something to do), but I'd just rather not.

If #2 is Better Mortgage I can say personally to stay away. I've known a lot of the folks that work there and I'm pretty sure they have no idea how to sustainably hire. There's a lot of kool-aid too if I had to guess - they won "Best Place to Work" in my metro a year ago just a couple days before their massive layoffs.

I work in a services firm (A bit more diverse in offerings than just product/ux) but we have the biggest bench we've had since Covid. Truthfully I'm not super worried about it because we do have a ton of leads out there, so we're shedding B- and below players and keeping everyone else topped up on certs and side projects. If you're in the top half of the company in terms of competency and think getting work again will remediate the boredom problem, I'd stick around.

Not Better Mortgage. They work on smaller loans and provide a service to loan providers.

I did survive the first round of layoffs at my agency, which kind of surprised me because I was newish and I think I am one of the higher paid people. I do think I'd be a happy camper if I had a project! I'm just discouraged by our pipeline prospects.

In my experience, the job you already have is generally the most "secure," modulo crazy executives or a financial crisis in the company. Finding people to hire, who you will not be forced to fire in relatively short order, is not just difficult--it is expensive. I've seen many companies shuffle employees into different roles based on a desire to not outright fire anyone, if at all possible. Company culture matters a lot, here, but boredom is often a clear symptom of stability. If you've been on the bench since November, it's not impossible that a layoff is coming your way, but in that case you should get some decent warning and perhaps severance to ease that "period of unemployment" you mentioned.

It seems to me that "I'm bored as hell" suggests that your priority might not be "job security" after all. Again, the specifics matter, but if you have a chance to join a company that is hiring, and the opportunity sounds interesting to you, I wouldn't necessarily be deterred by their stock price. High rates suck in a lot of ways, but there was no shortage of loan companies back when mortgages were over 10%. We're a loooong way from interest rates seriously deterring borrowing.

Startups are horrible for job security, so unless you have some special reason to think your former boss is going to succeed, then #3 is definitely not going to meet your stated priority. However, startups are rarely boring (referencing your other apparent priority), and if you do get in on the ground floor, they can be surprisingly lucrative even for employees.

The ability to take employment risks is one of the underappreciated benefits of marriage. So long as you structure your joint finances wisely, it can be incredibly beneficial to the marriage to take turns "sticking your neck out," so to speak, with one spouse addressing stability while the other pursues high risk/high reward opportunities. Really, stay-at-home-parenting is the ultimate example of this, as filial piety has colossal end-of-life payouts...

I can't tell what is it you actually do or want do. Marketing?

I’m a UX/Product Designer. Pretty well established in my career, so mostly just looking for a stable work environment.

I work in the somewhat related field of software engineering (me and half the user base :) ). I can't offer advice but I do know my company has weathered the recent storm in tech, the stock price is holding on and it feels pretty stable and mature. There are openings for UX designers in Santa Clara (California), Dublin (Ireland) and Kraków (Poland). The product you'd be working on is a web interface for monitoring computer networks.

Where would I go to learn about tales from the trenches in the food science industry? I've always been interested in how food that's produced at scale is developed much more so than a guy in france taking 3 years to make an egg. A great example of something I'd love to hear about is Jimmy Dean Stuffed Hashbrowns. These are incredible little meals that somehow crisp up in the microwave a bit, they're hot and melty on the inside, and taste pretty incredible IMO. If you look at the ingredient list it's a fucking absolute freak show. It must have taken years and a serious team to perfect such a monstrosity of artificial chemicals to appear like food.

We get detailed blog posts like this about software all the time, but I feel like I never get them elsewhere. Trade secrets I guess? Anyone have some one-off posts they'd share?

I'd normally turn to Reddit, but is incredibly underwhelming.

Also as an aside thanks to whoever posted the latest on the weight loss pill research in Friday fun. I too am a walking parody of conformity and am considering losing weight via chemical means.

The YouTuber Adam Ragusea seems to have pretty good connections to academic food researchers and the content from those discussions often shows up in the videos. Maybe see what resources he uses?

I suspect its going to be hard to find this stuff for products that are still on the market since these processes are closely guarded trade secrets. But if you find any good sources let me know, it sounds interesting.

I'd skipped claire's takes on gourmet makes since I figured she'd be looking down on a lot of the food while trying to imitate it. I'll still give it a look. BA always had a too-friendly atmosphere in their videos. I assumed that, given any sort of social justice blow-up, they'd all have disappearing spines or be happy to stab their coworkers in the back.

I consumed plenty while locked in the house, but I'm super glad to hear their racial groveling/confirmation of my suspicion has been rewarded with declining viewership. The whole episode was pretty gross.

How It's made is 75% of what I'm looking for. Waking up hungover on a Sunday and crushing a couple episodes of it is fantastic. If you're similarly interested, here's a video about the humble aluminum can I really enjoyed:

I assumed that, given any sort of social justice blow-up, they'd all have disappearing spines or be happy to stab their coworkers in the back.

And, sadly, you were right. As soon as the scandal started, there were a number of people there who were only too happy to try to stab co-workers in the back and/or advance their careers by whining about being mistreated. Sohla in particular was obnoxious about it (not shocking), but I remember one of their photographers being really dumb as well. Dude was going around complaining that nobody knew it was an Asian guy behind the camera, as if that is something we should be worrying about.

I'm not surprised that the BA fan base evaporated. Either people were upset with them for the "hostile" work environment (like the BA subreddit was), or they were upset because social justice corrupted yet another pleasant apolitical form of entertainment (like I was). There was really no way for them to win.

Probably a long shot but I just saw an infographic that sparked an idea so I wanted to see if this already exists.

Is there a website you can go to that has like, a list of traits that are linked to specific genes, that you can check each trait that you have and then click submit and it gives you specific ethnicities or geographic locations you are probably linked to? Like a genetic profile that it can give you based on the traits that you or a specific person exhibit. For example, the website could ask you hair color, eye color, and genetically linked traits like unibrows, webbed toes, certain diseases/disorders etc. and then, based on the traits you have inherited, it would give probabilities of you being from certain regions or genetic groups?

If you had to craft a European Grand Tour, what would the itinerary look like? Similar to the historical ones?

This question has become pressing as I feel much of western cultural heritage is at risk, both the artifacts and places themselves and the ability to travel to see them - either through vandals or politically (climate lockdowns in particular). Might be inaccessible by 2030.

My Euro grand tour a few years back was 9 months, with the following itinerary (many stops to see friends or travel along with others for a small stretch):

1. Paris, 2. Versailles, 3. Amsterdam, 4. Haarlem, 5. Berlin, 6. Prague, 7. Budapest, 8. Vienna, 9. Florence, 10. Venice, 11. Rome, 12. Split, 13. Hvar, 14. Ljubljana, 15. Bled, 16. Munich, 17. Antwerp, 18. Brussels, 19. London, 20. York, 21. Edinburgh, 22. Copenhagen, 23. Hamburg, 24. Basel, 25. Dijon, 26. Lyon, 27. Marseille, 28. Nice, 29. Monaco, 30. Eze, 31. Zurich, 32. Jerusalem, 33. Tel Aviv, 34. Barcelona, 35. Lisbon, 36. Bordeaux, 37. Paris

Stops 1 through 11 were done over a couple of months in a group of five, who were on that tighter timeline. I think it works pretty well, and we did exclusively trains for that section.

I think the original Grand Tour route (London-Naples overland via Paris, Switzerland, and a slow trip through northern Italy including extended stops in Florence and Rome) still works as well as it always did - in many ways better because of the improved tourist infrastructure in the Swiss Alps.

I used to hang out on travel forums providing advice to inbound tourists to the UK, and the most common requested itinerary was London/Paris/Rome, and the most common question was "Can I do it in two weeks?" The answer was no - an experienced traveller could do it, but if you are doing a once-in-a-lifetime Europe trip you are not an experienced traveller. The second most common questions was "Is it a good itinerary?" to which the answer has to be yes, with the proviso that Paris-Rome overland is tedious if you are not stopping off in northern Italy.

I will try to effortpost on this tonight. [Postponed due to child sickness bug keeping me busy]

Thanks for the tips here, appreciate it and look forward to your effortpost!

Now up as a separate thread.

While I disagree that these are going to disappear by that time, I think a sense of urgency to see the world while you can is a good thing to have.

I'll speak to first and second-hand experience: Italy has been fantastic for me. You have a huge range of geographic and cultural terrain available in the same language. You could spend a month there and be happy (abiet pretty tired of Italian food).

I personally liked going further east and the folks who have universally enjoyed it. Croatia etc. aren't purely "Western" but that's also part of the draw.

Switzerland is awesome but universally regarded as too expensive. I loved visiting France/Paris and heard a lot of good things about Spain, but I think they'd come under Italy.

Let’s say a max of 6 weeks to make it easy?

Otherwise I might want to keep it under a month. Or I could split it up into two visits.

Where did all the TRP/PUA/seduction forums and materials go? I think they got banned of Reddit but I’m not sure where they went.

If you Google (pua writer name) pdf most of the classics gave been collected by their followers into pseudo books. I know @practicalromantic has a collection of that kind of thing, maybe pm him.

Seduction forums suffer from the same long term problems test prep forums have: you're supposed to pass the test and move on with life. So your regulars are either losers who never pass the test at all, nostalgic weirdos like the college freshmen who want to come hang around high school parties to play the big man and dispense advice, or genuine autistic rules freaks who just love to preach orthodoxy. ((Plus scam artists who want to soak newbies for money)) This makes them naturally prone to long term failure, and then revival somewhere else.

What @2rafa says about other social media becoming dominant sounds rational, but it's just a part of a cycle by which forums which teach you something valuable at one stage of your life eventually become useless to newbies. Either because they "graduate" and become advanced forums (r/coffee, /r/malefashionadvice, /r/weightroom) or because they become a morass of noobs dominated by older losers (r/trp, /r/fds, /r/fitness).

They "relocated" to but the quaratined subreddit is still more active, plus I think there were a ton of dumb pissing matches to further divide things up.

Any books or good Wikipedia pages on female social organizations in the 1700s to early 1900s?

I found the National Anti-Suffrage League when arguing against gender doomerism. Thought it was interesting. Or by social do you mean apolitical?