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Things to worry about right now outside the current news cycle ( Rdrama crosspost )

Good morning.

We are always talking about how the news cycle has grabbed the attention of the people and is constantly making us focus on things that do not matter or have little relevance to our actual lived lives, forcing us to be forever locked within the overton window while whoever is in power does whatever they want. So far all of us have missed the next step that comes after that realization, which is, what are those important things that the news is not mentioning that is relevant to our lives? Today, we shall look at a few such examples:

  1. The politization of science - remember when there used to be scientific controversies, some of which would get into the public sphere where there would be intense discussions about the same until the issue was finally resolved. Me neither. However, in the past at least within the academy itself, the scientists used to seemingly have more freedom in regards to the subset of topics they could get behind. It was a period of the science determining the truth rather than the social truth determining the results of science. Today, we find ourselves in upside down world, where the moment the science finds anything controversial in its results, or anything that does not match current social norms, it is shut down or completely forgotten. This isn't a new phenomenon, simply one that continues to grow in strength, until science no longer exists separate from politics. Nobody is any longer allowed to question a medical procedure, or doubt a doctor, or ask any questions about data relating to ethnicity. All of it goes under the rug whenever something wrong happens. Cultural blackpills are no longer permitted even within hard science departments.

  2. Memes and Propaganda acceleration - A meme can be pushed onto the public and spread to millions of people within hours. Today the most expensive department of a company is the advertising section. Millions of bots exist on every single social media site, and if you are starting up as a social media personality, it is recommended that you learn to build bots for your channel to spread further. Today people are being directed towards more ideas and narratives to control their beliefs than ever before. In the past centuries the Church or the state controlled the minds of the people and told them what was right or wrong, today it is whatever echo chamber they end up falling into, resulting in people who do not even share common values with the neighbor right next door. Today you have a strong opinion of things that you have not experienced yourself a single time in life nor have any risk of ever experiencing or any reason to care about. What's worse you are being told that is actually a good thing. You are caring about everybody else's problems before your own, isn't that great!

  3. The death of integrity - Everybody is out to win. Everybody is out to be the right person the moment they are interacting with anyone outside. Why shouldn't they be, this is what the system that caters to their every idea has taught them. This is what their echo chambers have taught them. You are right, they are wrong. If they are able to prove you wrong, they are assholes who did it the wrong way, and anyways you have a right to your opinion. The only time people need to interact with anybody else now is when they have an agenda, so now people only ever interact with anybody else when they have an agenda. There is no you they are talking to, you are just another notebook or audiobook for them to store their opinion and hope to have it repeated somewhere else. Nobody cares about standards anymore, there is no right or wrong, only the desired end goal to be reached and then if anything breaks apart along the way then "look at what you made me do!".

  4. Reality disconnect - Should you worry about not having any savings? Well nobody else around me is worried lmao. Should you care about higher education. Why, it doesn't even pay any real money. Should you try to hold a real job. No, the people are too mean and they hold the wrong opinions.

  5. Illegal actions of the state- All states commit atrocities or immoral acts. We always find out a century later with the present always promising that we are totally clean now guys. Any time there is a controversy in the world, the news cycle drowns it in all the noise, telling you what you should be caring about instead, until you no longer have any clue what was seriously wrong in the first place. Most people don't even know where the newest war broke out or when their own state wrongfully broke a contract or hurt people for questionable reasons. These are things that the state will do everything in its power to memory hole.

  6. Existential threats - Climate change will likely kill far more people than what the news lets on. The energy crisis turned out to be far worse than the news ever let on. The population collapse will almost certainly be far worse than the news lets on as the news keeps assuming an increase in fertility in between for no reason whatsoever. The news does not completely hide these things, because the common man is obviously not completely blind, but they will do all they can to hide the exact details, to hide any real insurmountable risk for the people, and when the blow hits, everyone will act surprised as to where it came from. Remember, in the case of climate change at least, there were reports about it since the start of the 20th century if not earlier. We simply have no capacity to get our heads around existential risks, and the news has no interest in reporting on real existential risk as people giving up or realizing they are completely fucked is not good for business.

You see the problem?

You aren't supposed to be determining the course of your life based on what the neighbor or friend a country away thinks. Your education is still going to give you a better job than no education. Holding a job has never been about being surrounded by people who love you. That's why you work 8 hours so you can do what you want with the other waking 8 and actually enjoy yourself with the money you make once you are away from work! People have become completely disconnected from how the societal system works at even the most basic level.

People now have zero conception of how the social contract works or why it was kept the way it was. Thinking the entirety of the social contract was about controlling people by the richest men and women. That was certainly a part of it but not 100%!! There was a whole bit in there about being able to live functional lives!

Conclusion - In a manner of speaking, outside of the overton window we are certainly in one of the decaying society phases where the people have lost complete connection with why we were living the lives we were in the first place and the understanding that the world runs on the basis of material input which is limited in supply. People have zero concept of the social contract and forgot one of the bigger chapters in the social contract was about how to utilize our resources and get the most out of the average individual in exchange for providing them the maximum resources possible without breaking or stagnating the system.

The overton window simply exists to keep whoever has free time on their hands still focused on issues that do not actually matter 9 times out of 10 so that they are never able to beat the system.

Nor will you ever be able to doubt the system. The system is perfect, and when its not perfect its your neighbors fault for choosing the wrong option. The state is the final answer. Always has been. Always will be.

Leave the overton window and realize the only winning condition is what you do at the individual level for 90% of the human population and then to do things for your community or your city once you reach the remaining 10%.

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Note: Crossposting is fine, but in the future, posts referring to rdrama in the header are unlikely to be approved.

Why? We don't hate rdrama! We do not prohibit discussions of or links to rdrama. And we know a lot of people here are members of both communities.

But this place isn't rdrama, and we're not trying to be rdrama, and we still have a leave the rest of the Internet at the door rule, meaning, don't keep trying to make rdrama threads bleed over to TheMotte.

If you have something to share you also shared on rdrama, that's fine, but let it stand on its own merits here.

Also, this is kind of culture warry and probably should have gone in the Culture War thread.

Note: This is coming after a discussion amongst the mods, not just me.

Noted. I am guessing this is the equivalent of we like your ideas, but change your style as it's gonna get aggressively negative feedback.

I think the style is fine; the mods just prefer to err towards being too cautious.

Not caution. It's just what I said above - we don't want to become rdrama and we don't want a flood of rdrama crossposts. (If people start repeatedly crossposting from other places, we'll probably tell them the same thing.)

One of the things that repeatedly bothers me along these lines is, what the heck is actually going to happen with Global Warming?

It's become a Blue Tribe value to declare that it's definitely happening, is entirely our fault, will be catastrophically bad, and the only way to fix it is things Blue Tribe likes (solar and wind power) which (IMO) probably won't work.

Meanwhile, the Red Tribe value becomes the opposite - it's definitely not happening and/or not our fault, if anything happens we can fix it with more tech, there's nothing to worry about, Blue Team just wants to crush and take over the economy for their own reasons.

If there actually is a problem, it's become basically impossible to solve due to the mentioned politicization of science and every possible solution falling along tribal lines. So I hope it's not really a big deal, because we're probably screwed if it is.

Same here. An accurate reporting of the IPCC findings would probably get you flagged as climate denialism on most of legacy/social media. Most of green investment is hopeless for supporting an industrialized society and in my opinion promoted only because it is an excellent way to guaranteed profits through government subsidies. If there is a real problem here, and this is the best our ruling elites can come up with, I think we are seriously screwed.

On the other hand, I am intensely curious about what global warming means about the gigantic swaths of Earth which are currently not really habitable (looking at you especially, Canada and Russia). Also with the continuing advances in genetic engineering, I wonder if crop failures are such a big risk as we are supposed to believe. But speculating seriously about these things also seems to be crime-think nowadays.

Bangladesh is probably going to mostly go underwater around 2400 or so, but that's super "not a real year". A lot of it's going to get (more) flood-prone before then, though (the vast majority of Bangladesh is near-zero elevation; it's basically a giant river delta).

There are a few island nations with ~0 elevation which are going to cease to exist; they're rather upset about this.

Some coastal cities are going to need dikes/storm walls that didn't have them already. Some of them are probably going to ignore doing this, with predictable consequences.

Russia/Canada are going to become more habitable and the Arctic Ocean more relevant for commerce.

Some ecological issues, mostly stuff in the Arctic like "polar bears might go extinct". Less in the Antarctic because East Antarctica isn't melting any time soon. Nothing particularly vital for humans, though.

Not a whole lot else IIRC. If you live in the First World, there's nothing super-catastrophic in terms of personal consequences unless you live at low elevation in cyclone (a.k.a. hurricane) country and you are in the aforementioned "no storm wall" category.

Still worth doing some cheap stuff (solar is getting damned cheap these days, and nuclear's always great if you can bulldoze past the NIMBYs) to mitigate the required spending on adaptation, but it's not going to be DOOM.

Meanwhile in 2022:

China (worlds #1 wheat producer) had its worst ever winter wheat harvest due to spring flooding. China was then hit with the most extreme heatwave behavior we’ve ever observed in the late summer, seeing the world’s third largest river system plummet to record low levels.

India (#2 largest wheat producer) banned wheat exports due to a largely failed crop due to its early summer heatwave, even in the face of global pressure among the potential shortage from the Ukraine situation (luckily we got that Ukraine shipment issue sorted).

Pakistan underwent the same record breaking heatwave in the spring, and was hit with what can only be described as a biblical scale flood event with 1/3 of the country being underwater, in late summer.

River systems across Europe fell to record lows as a record heatwave sat on the continent in early summer. Satellite images revealed that half of the famously green British Isles turned brown.

As of September, Argentina (# 3 world corn producer) delays planting as it sees “the worst planting scenario for corn in the past 27 years” amidst drought.

In late summer, work on detailed underwater maps below the thwaites glacier is published, showing that it is only blocked by a small underwater ridge and could collapse suddenly, on the timespan of several years. A glacier which if retreated fully would lead to between 2-10 feet of sea level rise globally.

Other research published last year found surprisingly warm water flowing underneath the glacier.

Summer 2022 in the northern hemisphere tied for hottest ever recorded. We currently sit at ~1.1 degrees celsius warming.

We are projected to end up around 2.7 degrees warming by the end of the century, given current climate mitigation commitments.

This would likely be enough to pull several Earth system tipping points into play, but I won’t get ahead of myself.

WAIS is significant but not enough for DOOM. That's why I mentioned the dikes/stormwalls.

The only tipping point AFAIK that's actually a potentially-big deal is the clathrate gun. I know about the Gulf Stream, but cooling Europe down is not actually the end of the world. We're not going to wind up like Venus absent somebody spending trillions of dollars on manufacturing fluorinated gases and dumping them into the atmosphere (and, well, come on, even if literal doomsday cultists were to somehow get access to >MbS-money the rest-of-world would notice and stop them; this isn't something you can do stealthily like brewing up smallpox).

We don’t need to end up like Venus to face severe consequences.

That’s why I’m sharing you news of so many crop failures in 2022 at just 1.1 degrees warming.

By 2070, billions people are projected to live in areas experiencing annual levels of heat that are currently only seen in 4 small pockets of the hottest parts of the Sahara: https://www.ft.com/content/072b5c87-7330-459b-a947-be6767a1099d

The maps on this are great ^

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1910114117

There exist climatic conditions which make it extremely likely that famines and mass migration occur.

And the world system is rather fragile if such events were to occur. We saw how disruptive even a relatively small mass migration from Syria was, or similarly with Venezuela. What happens when it’s the population behemoths of India Pakistan, Bangladesh, and East Africa simultaneously? (Chosen for their horribly unfortunate proneness to the extreme heat).

What happens when you get a few bad years for crops and suddenly food is very expensive? People riot, of course, and we see general chaos in the world system. (Sometimes waves of riots end up with civil wars, it’s a dangerous fuel).

And of course, all the tipping points are important, as they may push us several 0.1 degrees warmer ontop of all our emissions. There is the Amazon dieback, there is the permafrost thaw, there is the changing Arctic albedo, there is the North Atlantic Circulation slowdown, etc.

What counts as a big deal? It isn't an extinction level threat, but it is probably going to topple some countries you do not live in, does that count?

Generally things are going to get more expensive.

I don't really know, and that's my point. It's hard to know what information about what could happen to trust and how much. What I'm saying is that I have a feeling that we're basically screwed, and whatever is going to happen will just happen. I hope it isn't too bad.

I'm going to answer this question: what are those important things that the news is not mentioning that is relevant to our lives?

I added #header tags to organize my thoughts, and the site CSS went a bit wild with them.

Tribal Migration

Anecdata

I've seen a sudden migration of conservative technology experts away from the DC area to, overwhelmingly, Florida. Companies that are hurting for talent seem totally okay with losing employees with 20 years of experience if they think the root cause is a red tribe thing. My main observation is people are leaving over mandatory vaccinations are being told not to let the door hit them on the way out.

On the flip side, Florida has provided every indication that individuals will not have to get vaccinated and Florida companies are all but openly flouting federal requirements in my field (aerospace/defense.) Keep in mind that the federal government is requiring that all federal contractors get vaccinated, so unless your employer is willing to let you lie about your vaccination status, you are effectively shut out of the aerospace/defense sector.

I know of 5 such migrations and I have visibility into about 150 people. I have some company data, which I cannot share, that indicates many more employees "voluntarily" left during the Covid Pandemic. I'd peg a loose estimate at 3-5%. Keep in mind that aerosapce/defense is a generally conservative field, and most employees will have strong financial positions.

Laws seen on National News that might drive migration

States like California and Texas are passing (or trying to pass) highly partisan laws that I believe are designed to pressure people to move. For California, this would be a series of gun control laws that include the ability to sue people if they sell guns to the wrong person. For Texas, the main example would be their new abortion laws. We could charitably think this is how the legislature and their electorate feel about these issues, but I pessimistically believe that legislators are actively trying to drive migration to solidify their state electoral party alignment.

I believe the extremity of these laws is tactical, not moral

Republican voters I have spoken to have admitted they support criminalization of marijuana only because it discourages migration of Democrats "Like what happened in Colorado." (Colorado is the example I was provided, no further comments on this.)

If Obergefell vs. Hodges is overturned, I feel certain Texas will effectively ban gay marriage even though it has majority support among Republicans. They'll do this because they know it will push primarily Democrat voters to migrate away.

There is a push to add a credit card classification for firearms related purchases. This feels like a first move to implement gun control through the private sector. I fully expect Florida or Texas to mandate that these ISO codes be banned in some way to protect citizens from whatever comes next.

Split States

Meanwhile, in my current state of Virginia, there is a death struggle over gun laws. When the state legislature was unable to reach a compromise, the state delegated certain regulatory authority to local governments across the state. Now there are a patchwork of guidelines defining where you may or may not carry a firearm, and a felony conviction waiting for anyone who gets it wrong. I could charitably suppose that Democrats just want to protect public employees in government buildings, but I find it hard to be charitable when people are prohibited from carrying firearms on the trail systems that connect to DC. These remote trails are the site of many rapes and robberies every year, and they are one of the few places in the greater metropolitan area where I'd actually like to carry a gun. I suspect the extreme stance is partially motivated by a desire to get Republicans to just leave the state already.

Predicted Consequences of Tribal Migration

If the national population starts picking a place to live based on party affiliation, I think that will have the following costs:

  1. There will be a loss of economic efficiency, as workers will have to be selected by their skills and their strength of political alignment.

  2. There will be a loss of intellectual diversity, as migrants will enthusiastically join their new community and drive an echo-chamber. This will drive further legislation and further migration. Someone who can tolerate the Florida of today may feel more alienated in ten years.

  3. There will be an increase in cultural tensions at the federal level. It will be harder to find laws that both California and Texas can agree to.

  4. Federal politicians will find that their more homogeneous voter base demands ever more partisan laws, which will be even harder to pass at the federal level. If they do pass, it will inspire whiplash when the balance of power shifts and the other tribe undoes all the new laws and imposes their own.

Thinking about this honestly makes me feel a little sick with worry.

It's often been said that the epistemological danger of the internet is how easily it lets you find a "bubble" of purely like-minded thinkers within which you can hide from real challenges to your views, where you only see opposing tribe members via cherry-picked examples intended to incite your mockery or outrage. In the physical world, on the other hand, you are pressed to learn to live alongside and be able to discuss your views with classmates and coworkers and neighbors and so on, people who have been selected by processes other than ideological conformity, and who are thus bound to include some people who disagree with you for intelligent reasons. And so, I'm sure many of us here have wished at one time or another that the internet could work more like the real world in that respect.

What I'm getting at is: whoever was holding the Cursed Monkey's Paw while poorly phrasing that wish should go ahead and fess up; we'll forgive you.

Great post, I agree with everything you are saying.

I've written a lot about many of these topics in my online substack, but this is the one that I feel seems most relevant, in regards to your first point - the replacement of science with "ScIeNcE."

https://questioner.substack.com/p/how-to-make-enemies-and-influence

Thank you.

I read your article I enjoyed it.

Basically one is forced to face the truth when nothing else works, and too often, they would gladly deny it until such a moment occurs