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Small-Scale Question Sunday for April 30, 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 is chess ELO rating distribution for mottizens? (if one does not have an official one, a lichess unofficial of the like will do)...

could you just plain estimate if from IQs, for which we have some data?

I think IQ only becomes a reasonable proxy for elo when comparing individuals who have both been playing and studying chess for a while.

I dimly remember reading a study that said that IQ and chess prowess don't correlate after a certain point, around the 130 IQ mark from memory. Chess grandmasters aren't as brilliant as you might otherwise assume.

I dimly remember reading a study that said that IQ and chess prowess don't correlate after a certain point

Not sure if this is what you were thinking of, but it's relevant in any case.

Long essay about gifted teenagers and inadequacy of our education system, don't really have much to say about it other than it might interest people here.

I was at school with someone who seemed genuinely gifted for both primary and high school, he went off with our international Olympiad team eventually. He very rarely spoke, spent most of his lunches reading novels. He didn't seem unhappy. However we were at a very good, academically rigorous, school. I suppose there are the people who can 'read the room' like him and then there are people like Georgios who are immensely cringeworthy. Yet they probably do deserve more attention and effort than intellectually disabled children, from cost-benefit grounds alone.

That the UK doesn't have any special school for gifted students at all (it doesn't seem to be hyperbole, they cancelled the program in 2010) is pretty bad. I think we could learn a lot about governance by observing the UK and committing to the opposite approach.

Fun post! Western schooling seems to be a total mess of conflicts of interest and horrid compromises.

I think it’s possible to extend the “Georgios problem” beyond the exceptional to many other students. I’m fortunate enough to have a bright wife who I believe was drastically underserved by the UK comprehensive education system. Despite being placed in the top set for all of her classes, she found herself bored and unchallenged due to the need to follow the national curriculum and progress at the speed of her least capable classmate.

I’m not sure I fully believe the full extent of Bloom’s claims about the superlative impact of individual tuition but it’s a pretty tantalising thought on how we could better serve our brightest students. As a friend pointed out, the intensive tuition of Von Neumann and Einstein received in childhood might be a bigger contributor to their success than their Ashkenazi heritage.

We also have underemployment of young, highly educated STEM people. Tuition seems like a no-brainer to me.

Someone did the maths and it turned out to be cheaper to pay a bunch of grad students or postdocs competitive wages for hourly 1:1 tuition instead of paying for college. Of course, that doesn't come with a certificate, which is why more people don't do it.

If I was a well off person with a gifted kid, that's certainly the route I'd like to take with them.

It's quite interesting that the UK doesn't have anything to accommodate gifted children or even children that want to specialize in a specific area of knowledge. Even the US has magnet schools, whereas I guess the UK thinks of its public schools as the "better" tier of schools, preferring aristocracy to technocracy.

Going off of @George_E_Hale’s post below, I’m curious to gather a list of effort posts that aren’t the norm on here, which people would like to write on but don’t have the time.

I’d be happy to take up the challenge of writing a few into an effort post, with or without credit for the idea depending on what folks want. I’m sure other effortposters would be down too. Feel free to reply or just DM me if anything jumps out to you.

This doesn't answer your question because it's a normal culture war topic, but I think we should've had a post on the harlan crow/thomas situation, and I don't remember one

More in line with your question, an effortpost outlining the various factions of the diffuse, yet much realer than even a few years ago, cloud of individuals in and adjacent to "dissident right" and their likely futures

It's not really a time question for me, I could just comment less and effortpost more, but don't

Been wanting to write an effortpost on how I arrived at my current conception of God and consciousness and why I think it’s unfortunate people in the West largely seem to think Abrahamic theism and materialist atheism are the only options. With some commentary on how I think more people could arrive at similar conclusions through better understanding of ontology/epistemology and how this could shape how we approach meaning and ethics. I’m actually convinced a significant % (maybe 10%) of intellectuals will come around to this understanding within 30 years or so and it could have a dramatic positive impact on the world. But it will take significant cultural/intellectual shifts to integrate this understanding properly. Complicated topic and not sure I could do it justice (or that anyone would want to read it) but the main reason I’ve avoided writing about it is fear of coming off as an evangelist in this space.

Eh, there are plenty of Christian evangelists here I wouldn’t worry too much.

I’m assuming based on your name you believe in a more Hindu/Buddhist ontology?

Only in the sense that the very basic metaphysics of the Vedas (Brahman, Atman, Maya, and the relationship between those three concepts) is pretty much 100% correct. Indian philosophy then goes on to layer a bunch of esoteric concepts onto that ontology that actively detract from this understanding that I think range from just wrong (reincarnation) to morally repugnant (karma).

Are we becoming a circle jerk?

I don't ask this facetiously--and for me to use the preposition we here is laughable, not because I do not wish to be included, but because my own contributions are so flimsy that I can scarcely be called a participant, though I am a great lurker.

Rather, I have a concern, perhaps misguided, that has become a kind of Athenaeum where (we) sit around in our plush chairs (if that's what they do in The Athenaeum) and bandy opinions that everyone shares anyway, but (we) re-word them at times for cleverness' sake, and, at other times, simply bask in our smugness, content that we are correct and that anyone else who disagrees with us isn't. And don't get me wrong--I often find myself nodding in agreement at certain posts, particularly in the "The Motte Needs You" Janitor section, and wondering if I think they're good because I agree with them out of context, or if I truly think they hold high what I would consider the extremely rare and valuable banner of the Motte.

Of course this group consensus posting people do is in violation of one of the main rules of the Motte: Steelman your opposition. Assume that whoever your interlocutor is (or, put another way, whoever reads your post) may well disagree with you.

I am not suggesting that no one disagrees on any of the posts made here. A few well-known combatants go at it from time to time, usually respectfully, sometimes not.

Still, as a daily browser-not-poster, I feel as if I see a lot of posts that make what I would consider wild, self-assured generalizations without pushback. And very often I either don't have the time or inclination to do a proper pushback or I am, frankly, intimated intimidated by the horsepower some people seem to have on making effortposts as counterpoint. Today is a rare day: I have world enough, and time. I usually don't.

The question "Are we a circlejerk" is probably rhetorical, but feel free to answer however you will. I hope at least people will give the question some thought. As always I am happy to mingle at the party, nameless and unknown, eating the hors d'oeuvres and sampling the champagne.

Regardless of the answer, I think this site is a success beyond expectation, despite the bullshit dismissal of us on reddit.

Still, as a daily browser-not-poster, I feel as if I see a lot of posts that make what I would consider wild, self-assured generalizations without pushback.

I always find these critiques strange. Those things are the ripe low hanging fruit to respond to that makes this place fun as a frequent poster. One thing that I think more people need to internalize because it's not easy or obvious is that just because a point was made and not responded to does not really mean that there is consensus on its correctness. This place is not ground to be won or lost, it's the opportunity to take part or watch arguments about the culture war that would be hard to have elsewhere. An undressed argument is at worst a lost opportunity.

An undressed argument is at worst a lost opportunity.

Addressing an argument, especially if you do so from a socially progressive viewpoint, gets you nothing but headaches. People aren't very kind to them.

We perhaps have the problem understanding each other that men and women have with the amount of opposite sex attention women get. I would be thrilled to get a response on more than ~15% of my comments although I can intellectually understand the discomfort with a dogpile. The places I'd be dogpiled on have banned me.

If you or any other folks have a topic you want to post about, go for it!

On the other hand, I’d like it if we could have some sort of anonymous pool where lurkers could put in topics they want to see in the CW thread. Then posters like me who love writing longform bs but don’t always have an idea can write things the lurkers want.

@ZorbaTHut any thoughts on doing something like this?

Or just a lower-effort CW thread/BLR lol

Does it have to be anonymous?

A weekly “post ideas that you want to have a deeper discussion about, but haven’t actually gone through the trouble of writing an effortpost” thread might be a nice idea.

That's a neat idea, I like it.

I'm not sure there's enough demand for it to make it a regularly posted thing. But you are absolutely welcome to make your own post, either top-level or in the CW thread, whichever you think would be better. If it turns out I'm wrong then, hey, maybe we'll make it a regularly posted thing!

The mainstream response to a witch is burning. The contrarian response is effusive praise. Both are closing ranks to defend the ingroup. I’m proud that the motte is more likely to point out witch trickery and provide evidence for and against. Sometimes that devolves into arguing whether curse victims were crisis actors.

The motte is overly credulous when it comes to contrarianism and overly critical when it comes to the mainstream. I don’t think that’s enough to count as a circlejerk.

Some of you have the worst opinions I’ve seen discussed on the internet. That’s because you’re actually discussing them, rather than taking them as axioms. I have to respect that.

We are kind of a circlejerk but it's not nearly as bad as it could be. Any time one of the main issues comes up - race and immigration, trans, women, AI - there are always people arguing for multiple competing viewpoints. There's never total unanimity.

Every political forum will have a certain slant, it's unavoidable. I don't know of any community that's a true 50/50 split.

The motte is not contrarian enough or only on few or surface topics. I continuously see ad-nauseam people here be blind to many mainstream mental attractors that trap their mind and either distort their thinking process or even make them incousiously abandon the thinking process altogether, like a brain deactivation.

Besides the level of effort, caring, cognitive flexibility and most importantly intellectual genuine curiosity is appaling, I once wished this website to be the only place on the internet where I could meet my peers but alas I am long past this delusion.

Which mainstream mental attractors would those be?

Any time one of the main issues comes up - race and immigration, trans, women, AI - there are always people arguing for multiple competing viewpoints. There's never total unanimity.

The Trans Question has 2 camps on this site, and the dominant one is "trans bad". There's a smaller camp of "trans not necessarily bad, but I don't agree with X, Y, or Z".

Ok the opinions on the TQ are pretty unanimous. I know we have at least one trans person here who takes up the opposing side. I feel like there were at least one or two others who were pro-trans but maybe I'm misremembering.

There are a number of pro-bodily-autonomy-including-trans people on this site, myself included. There are a lot more people here who hold the position "body dysmorphia is bad" than "body dysmorphia is good", but that's because "body dysmorphia is good" is the straw "pro-trans" position [1]. I actually suspect that the following is a scissor statement here:

If medical technology advanced to the point that it was possible to functionally and reversibly change your sex, that would be a good thing. People changing their sex in that situation would be perfectly fine.

[1] Yes, I know that it is possible to find people who say something that approximates this. This is because, for any position, particularly about something political, it is possible to find at least one person who will support that position.

This was discussed a few weeks back. Myself and a couple other folks agreed even though we are generally not pro trans at the moment.

I put it in the same realm as “if women could have a fetus of any age moved from her womb to an artificial womb, and it has little to no negative effect on the child, I’d be fine with that kind of abortion.”

Are you referring to this giant 300 comment thread, or was there a more specific one?

Yep I believe that’s the one. It has come up multiple times since the move offsite though.

I tend to find it interesting to get down to irreconcilable value differences, and to me the question you posed is a great way to get there on trans issues.

I'm one of the pro-trans people on this site, along with a few others. We generally try to push back on the bad arguments even if we agree with the conclusion. At least, that's what I try to do, but I'm bad about being consistent on this site. It's just boring after a while.

I think the site is a circlejerk, but less than almost any other political space. I think /r/politicalcompasshumour has a wider variety of common beliefs(although the modal belief is probably pretty similar to the modal themotte belief, just with more anti-elite populism), but that's the only space that comes to mind that's less of a circlejerk.

I think themotte would need some sort of "change my mind" contest where a mod presents a topic and people can write effort posts about original opinions to get some new variety. Preferably about new topics, not just about race or transgenders like it feels 90% of threads here are about. Something like "Is violent revolution are a viable solution or a stupid idea? Elaborate" or "Will China overtake the US in the near term?" I think would be interesting and fun.

Don't wait for the Mods, do it yourself. My first effort produced some fairly interesting content, but was just a topic I was thinking about at random and not something CW-y. The only part that disappointed me was the voting at the end, where I wished we had gotten more votes in the survey. I didn't even end up counting my vote in it, because it felt unfair with so few votes in the list.

I got tired of the Culture War Threads’ thinly-veiled rants against the same handful of topics that are phrased as questions even though most of us agree on the answers and the poster knows that. Think it’s a shame that so many smart, relatively independent thinkers choose to post about that as opposed to their more unique areas of expertise and interests. I asked a question a few weeks ago in the Sunday thread that was “how did NW Europe become the world’s dominant civilization” and got a lot of great responses that seemed free of the demands of political correctness I might have gotten on Reddit. Would like to see more of that.

Even just more freeform takes on “hey here’s an idea/analysis I have that I want to share” would be preferable to the Culture War Thread imo.

I think you have a point, but it's also natural to talk about the big issues of the day. Culture war issues are aggravated by unnecessary polarisation and politics generally, but they are pretty big issues that we should all have a view on, eg abortion, the shift to gender ideology, shifts in attitudes to free speech, the rise of AI (not a culture war issue, but hugely important). The let's talk about stuff that matters less seems a bit apathetic to me. We should talk about global warming and the environment more, but that's plagued by so much scientific detail.

Are we becoming a circle jerk?

...becoming? I like your optimism!

Three years ago, @TracingWoodgrains took a demographics poll that was delightful to read despite containing no surprises. The modal mottizen then was

a 29-year-old, right-handed straight white man with a Bachelor's degree, a US citizen who lives in California. He has finished his formal education and now earns around $65000 a year, though his net worth remains under $10000. He is single with no kids for now, but he plans on having 2 kids eventually. He is not affiliated with any political party. He was raised Catholic, but now considers himself an atheistic humanist. He considers himself a capitalist, a libertarian, and a classical liberal. He got 800s in both SAT-math and SAT-verbal, but despite this scored only a 1500 overall. He scored a 33 on his ACT. Per the MBTI, he's on the border between INTJ and INTP, which breaks out more clearly in the OCEAN model with very high openness to experience, average agreeableness and conscientiousness, slightly below average extraversion, and low negative emotionality.

He's worn glasses since childhood, had a hundred books or so in his childhood home, and mostly read for pleasure as a kid, though he also enjoyed video games, TV, and playing outside. He went to public school, but didn't like it. Now, he spends 8-12 hours in front of a screen daily, reads hours of longform text each day, and generally also watches videos and plays games. He sleeps about seven and a half hours nightly, and has not had the pleasure of a lucid dream. He lives in a city, but hasn't yet been convinced of the joys of living in a cyberpunk dystopia and prefers outdoor activities to city ones.

Now, this is of course aggregated data. There are women who post here, multiple people with doctoral degrees, many from outside the United States; we have posters who are older and younger, richer and poorer, and so on and so forth. But compared to the world, compared to any given nation, compared to a city, compared to a university... there is definitely a degree of homogeneity in our userbase. At minimum, basically everyone here is open to discussing culture war topics, and sufficiently comfortable in our own views and positions to do so. At that level of self-selection, it would be hard to make an extremely convincing argument that this place is not a "circle jerk," as you've defined it.

Sure enough--if you look at the Quality Contributions Reports over the last few months, you'll see a lot of discussion on transsexuality and transhumanism and artificial intelligence and other recurrent themes. Of course, by the definition you've offered, every Internet community everywhere will inescapably be a "circle jerk," certainly if the community lasts more than five minutes. Even reddit, taken as a whole, is basically a circle jerk, unless you limit yourself to certain subreddits which are themselves circle jerks. (So it turns out most people prefer circle jerks to lonely masturbation...? Perhaps the metaphor is unwieldy...)

This is not an excuse; most of those places are explicitly circle jerks that will ban you on sight for interrupting everyone's fun. Since we aspire to be "a place for people who want to move past shady thinking and test their ideas in a court of people who don't all share the same biases," we do want to limit the, uh, circlejerkness! But we only have so many tools in our toolbox--though, as you observe, @ZorbaTHut is actively developing more.

But all of that said--I have almost never posted something here that did not meet with some disagreement. One of the upshots of the relative homogeneity we've got going here, is that a lot of us are pretty contrarian! And we have a lot of actually extremely rare arguments, here. After all--

He dislikes Black Lives Matter, the trans rights movement, gender-critical feminism, gun control, the pro-life movement, the furry fandom, and open borders. He can't stand intersectional feminism, white identitarianism, antinatalism, or social justice. He is ambivalent about animal rights and ambivalent leaning towards positive about the gay rights movement, second-wave feminism, and the pro-choice movement. He kind of likes the religious freedom movement and likes gun rights. He strongly supports Effective Altruism and would march in Hong Kong with the protesters there if he could.

Many of these topics are just outright banned elsewhere. If nothing else, our openness to discussions of this nature makes us much less of a circle jerk than, well, basically everywhere else on the internet, and certainly everywhere else with comparable civility standards.

So while "are we a circle jerk" need not be entirely a rhetorical question, and is certainly worth reflecting on from time to time, my inclination is ultimately to answer it with my own question:

Compared to what?

I mean, any modal read literally cannot do anything but describe a circlejerk. I genuinely have no idea what you expected to demonstrate with that. A 100% random sample would be exactly as specific on whatever the plurality of the population sampled is.

I genuinely have no idea what you expected to demonstrate with that.


I mean, any modal read literally cannot do anything but describe a circlejerk.

You seem to actually have a pretty good idea what I expected to demonstrate with that.

I guess I expected too much.

Compared to the best version of what this site could be, and sometimes is.

(I did post a long autobiographical bit here but am deleting it.) I appreciate your response.

I can’t help but see that likes/dislikes section as a Dwarf Fortress list of preferences. Our median dwarf is probably chronically depressed and alcoholic, but at least he recently admired a finely-crafted firearm.

There are guns in DF now?

Not unless you count minecart railgun installations.

But all of that said--I have almost never posted something here that did not meet with some disagreement.

We may be a circle-jerk, but at least we are a contrarian circle-jerk, dammit!

No, we aren’t!

Per the MBTI, he's on the border between INTJ and INTP

Unsurprising. If only we had more INFJs...

I'm content to stick to the kiddie pool threads, but my disconnect with the CWR is less to do with alleged circlejerking than it is with how CurrentHappening oriented it is. It's either news chatter or a bingo board topic, usually both. I know it says CW right there on the label, and I'm a nobody so... But I just expect it to be a little more serendipitous, and a little less retreading of the latest developments on wokeness. I can't stomach reading even 10% of the comments, it's so tiresome; I have no clue how you manage to moderate and participate in this groundhog week of yours.

I have no clue how you manage to moderate and participate in this groundhog week of yours.

In much the way that teachers continue to teach the same material, year after year. You change it up here and there, but you can't really depart from the core; while historians sometimes "innovate" on history, especially at introductory levels you have to start fresh with each new batch of students, cover the basics, refresh the fundamentals. The amount of maintenance that goes in to just keeping civilization running, well aside from actually improving the human condition, is mind-boggling. Unsurprisingly, Scott Alexander has explored this in a very interesting way at least once.

The CW thread is extremely responsive to "CurrentHappening," as you say. I've always read it as a sort of news aggregator. Discussion quality varies a lot--but when something momentous does happen, there are often a number of useful takes generated rapidly and from diverse perspectives. When those things aren't happening, then yes, the topics are a bit more "bingo board." But that's the "maintenance" cycle, I think, keeping the community rolling at a slight intellectual idle, occasionally spinning out a new or interesting take on a well-worn topic. Clearly, it's not for everyone! But that's okay--the other threads are there for a reason, and if the non-CW portions of this site were to grow substantially, that would be an interesting and worthwhile development, too.

Was this something the bare links thread helped with? I forget why it was removed.

But I just expect it to be a little more serendipitous, and a little less retreading of the latest developments on wokeness.

The response is a bit cliched, but seriously: be the change you want to see. I doubt anyone would object to a fresh topic being brought up, and even if I took it upon myself to entertain you, specifically, I have no idea what you're into, and therefore what to post about.

be the change you want to see

Aren't I already doing so by not participating? I've contributed a parent level post twice on the old site when I thought I had something good for show and tell.

No? It's about as impactful as never having been born. Hard for me to adapt to the tastes of people I don't even know exist.

Do people post for a sense of impact? I hadn't considered it. Why should a chef change the menu for one person's arbitrary tastes? If most people like cake, let them eat cake. @TheGodhead already said more or less my thoughts anyways.

I specifically try to post different top level comments than we normally see, absolutely. I lurked for a long time but got fed up as many people in this thread are, and decided to start posting things interesting to me.

What does "being the change" mean to you, if not having an impact? Anyway, It's just weird to have phantom users pop out of nowhere to complain about how boring we are, and then disappear at the mere suggestion of contributing something interesting.

It means moving on with my day without buying anything at the marketplace of ideas. I'll set up my own stall when the opportunity arises, but I'm in no rush.

I think any community of 'witches' tends to end up being less of a circlejerk than normie communities. Firstly, most 'witches' are highly motivated to value freedom of expression, because it benefits them. Secondly, it's more likely for normies to wander into witch communities than the other way around, because there are more normies. And thirdly, witches tend to value agreement and consensus a lot less, and therefore are more likely to voice their disagreement.

Of course, all communities must be circlejerks to some extent - people need to agree, if nothing else, on what subjects are interesting and worth talking about, even if they end up saying different things.

I think any community of 'witches' tends to end up being less of a circlejerk than normie communities. Firstly, most 'witches' are highly motivated to value freedom of expression, because it benefits them.

The witch analogy included a very small number of principled civil libertarians, that's who values freedom of expression.

Witches are not any more interested in freedom of expression as a terminal principle. They'd be just as willing to engage in censorship if they had power.

That's why I said that witches like freedom of expression because it benefits them (rather than on principle).

Has Facebook radically increased the amount of ads you're exposed to?

I don't really use Facebook anymore, I log in maybe once every other month or so to check it out.

I have blocked the people using it to advertise and those just posting about politics but I still have some 600 "friends" or so there is usually some kind of activity. However, when I logged in yesterday maybe less than 1/20 posts were from my friends and the rest were ads. Most weren't literally ads but rather posts from groups I wasn't a member from, the content usually being some kind of bottom of the barrel pop culture memes feeling like a poorly disguised ad for the subject matter but could just be bad posts I suppose.

I was a bit confused and thought maybe I got some kind of bug or something so I reloaded the site and finally got some posts from people I actually know but it was still only maybe 1/6.

Is Facebook like this nowadays or have almost all of my friends finally stopped using it and Facebook is trying to fill my feed with anything it can find?

The literal ads don't bother me; they've got to pay the bills somehow. The "Suggested For You" garbage annoyed me to no end, until I discovered that you can avoid it by switching from "Home" to the "Feeds" tab they added ... and now I log back in, and it looks like "Feeds" has just been removed again?

have almost all of my friends finally stopped using it

I guess if they're smart, they have. It's clearly gone full user-hostile death-spiral at this point.

Not really. in your hosts file will clear that problem right up.

Im in my thirties and it's been very low activity among my friends as well but I use it to check in on older family members and a few groups and organisations I'm part of.

Its worked relatively fine for that but now it's become completely unusable due to the amount of suggested content, ads or no.

How are there so many people out there browsing without an adblocker?

Mobile. Can't really have adblocker when you use the native FB app.

Firefox mobile on Android supports adblock.

You're welcome.

Unless you're an iPhone Peasant.

I am browsing with an ad-blocker. I turned it off and it made almost no difference.

The vast majority of the posts are things that are "suggested for you", not explicitly sponsored links.

Are you using FB Purity? My normal ad-blocker doesn't do much on FB.

I deleted FB ages ago, but I'm pretty sure there has to be a CSS selector you can zap these things with.

I'm nearing 30 with a useless degree and no full-time job, and I'm trying to figure out what might be a good path for me. The thought of being a public school teacher has occurred to me, and while there are several potential issues, this one is the hardest to talk about.

I am somewhere on the spectrum of ephebophilia. I am not PRIMARILY attracted to 16 year old girls, but once a girl has physically matured, I am attracted to her whether she's 16 or 36. Making it more awkward is that I sometimes have more in common with teenagers than I do people my own age. I developed a crush on a 17 year old when I was 25. I'm obviously not going to make any moves on a kid, but I don't have a poker face, and I fear that when I find a student attractive, people will know.

Does this seem like a reasonable reason not to teach high school students? (Obviously middle school is fine, but let's assume high school is what's on the table.)

Sexual attraction to post-pubescent, sexually-mature minors is not a disorder and doesn’t need a name like ‘ephebophilia’. Up until extremely recently, it’s just what people called ‘normal’. No one in a professional setting would dare talk about it, but for evolutionary reasons, I wager that kind of attraction is dramatically more common than its absence.

Just don’t stare or be creepy, and no one will be able to tell whom you’re attracted to. On the off chance someone can tell, big whoop: every other male is also attracted. It’s not actually illegal or against any school policy to experience attraction, so long as you don’t act on it.

So yea, don’t let this issue keep you from being a teacher if that’s the best move for you. Just lie about whom you’re attracted to like everyone else. Judging by your username, are you autistic? This is the kind of unwritten, unspoken rule I’d expect a person on the spectrum to have an issue with.

Yes, I am autistic. That's likely why I have more interests in common with teenagers than I do people my own age, and it's also why (I believe that) I am worse at hiding my emotions than other people. I appreciate your reassurance, and this goes for everyone in this thread saying something similar.

Asking out of ignorance, doesn’t autism make it difficult to interact with classes full of rowdy teenagers all day long?

It very well may! I have only interacted with teenagers individually since leaving high school.

but once a girl has physically matured, I am attracted to her whether she's 16 or 36

Absolutely disgusting. Imagine being male and heterosexual in 2023.

I don't have a poker face, and I fear that when I find a student attractive, people will know.

Do you halt and catch fire whenever you interact with decent-looking women in general? Because assuming you don't do that, I'm not sure why this would be any different (aside from your internalized misandry triggering you whenever a thot thought crime enters your mind, though I understand this can be tougher if you also tend to hyperfocus on it, which your anxiety about being normal suggests).

I'd second one of the sibling posts with respect to easing your way into the role; you don't have to come back if you're "too tempted" or whatever though I suspect that's not going to be a problem once you've practiced dealing with enough people.

Agree with nonradicalcentrist (and I would call it 'certain'), every normal man is as biologically attracted to 16 year olds as they are to 36 year olds, of those who claim otherwise half are lying because the truth sound bad, and half genuinely 'feel' it less due to a combination of social pressure and genuine belief that it's bad. ("Deep feelings" often depend on complex social constructs - e.g. finding virginity appealing, not being attracted to people whose clothing indicates a different social class, etc). "I'm not attracted to young people, they're just not mature enough, what would we even connect over?"

and half genuinely 'feel' it less due to a combination of social pressure and genuine belief that it's bad

An expression of crimestop followed up by "because they're objectively beneath me" satisfies a male citizen's obligations to the Junior Anti-Sex League.

"I'm not attracted to young people, they're just not mature enough, what would we even connect over?"

I feel like this one is due to there being two different senses of "attracted to". I've said similar things myself, but about women in their early 20s (I was in my mid 30s at the time). It's true that young women like that are physically attractive, but their personalities can be absolutely grating (because they're young and foolish, as most young people are). So, would I fuck a 16 year old? On a purely physical level, and if I was in a culture where that was acceptable, eh sure I guess so. But just sticking your penis into vaginas isn't all there is to a relationship or being attracted to someone. So I don't think it's unreasonable to say "I'm not attracted to them" when I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in any sort of romantic relationship with them.

It's not unreasonable! It's just said a bit more often than it would be under perfect honesty, to deflect from exactly what you said.

I think, but I'm not certain, that most men are like you, though of course everyone virtue signals that they have absolutely no physical attraction to anyone significantly younger than them. But if you're worse at hiding it, which is probably likely since I don't think themotte posters are known for their social skills, then it would go badly for you.

Something I'm looking into to you might find useful is getting some compTIA certificates and going into tech support/network security.

Dude, talk about a coincidence. I'm studying to take the A+ right now! Not making progress nearly as fast as I want, but I am working on it.

I would strongly discourage people from teaching in general before that additional information- in your case I'd say absolutely not.

As to other career possibilities, what are your current skills and what skills could you cultivate this month to the point you could get a full time job with them next month?

I can read and write. I'm able to talk for a long period of time. That's about it.

Wait, why do you generally advise against teaching?

If you have social skills issues(which I assume you do if you’re autistic) I would strongly recommend against teaching- everything I’ve ever heard is that teacher’s internecine politics, like most supermajority female workplaces, is all pervasive, and that high school teachers in particular are like that.

You might want to consider insurance adjusting- there’s no actual skills that wouldn’t be covered by a degree in eg communications or history and the social skills requirements aren’t massive in comparison.

I would assume some high school teachers find their 18 year old students attractive, and just try not to remain professional, not stare, not make comments. Weren't there dating app polls about quite a lot of men of all ages finding 17 year old or so women the most attractive of all the age groups? It seems like it would be somewhat common to find some students attractive.

If you don't have a full time job, consider substitute teaching sometimes and see how distracting it actually is, and if the teens seem to notice (especially try substituting in a chaotic school, there they won't have any qualms about making fun of you if they notice).

What are you thinking of teaching?

English, because it was my favorite subject. I'd love to lead a discussion on Animal Farm or Catcher in the Rye.

Being a substitute teacher is a great idea. Thanks!

Zooey Zephyr, a Montana State Representative has been censured for comments made regarding a bill state policy on gender transition services. Zephyr is now suing, as reported by the AP. There's much that could be discussed here, but this is the small-scale thread, and I want to do a quick survey on the aesthetics presented by Zephyr in this photo that seems intended to be iconic for Zephyr's supporters. What do you see? What feeling does that photo summon for you?

I'll be blunt - I see a ridiculous man, a parody of someone playing dress-up as a woman, attempting to evoke the imagery of the Civil Rights movement, but succeeding only in creating a repellant and somewhat pitiable facsimile thereof. I suspect that my ideological opponents on this are intended to see a brave woman, standing up to the bullies on the other side of the aisle. Do they see that? Sincerely and honestly? I don't know how I would ever be able to determine if they honestly see that or if they've just conditioned themselves to say that this is what they see.

This probably doesn't rise to the level of being a scissor image, but it's in that direction, not just polarizing due to different views, but having people literally processing the image differently.

Edit: Let's add another interesting piece of optics that I see going viral. I continue to be surprised that my opponents are embracing people that I think make them look maximally weird.

Huh. It looks like the filedelinkerbot removed the official portrait link over night, presumably because it was deleted, which opened a space for Ethical Comics to add their doodle instead. Google suggests that this was the official portrait in question. Perhaps Wiki vandalize or perhaps someone else thought that ZZ's aesthetic isn't all that helpful to their cause.

As far as I understand, you can get better-passing trans people, but that requires "gender-affirming care" for minors, so someone like Zooey Zephyr can avoid developing a masculine face and body. So someone who is offended by both non-passing trans and "chemically castrating children" is basically saying they want to erase the whole idea of modern transness, that the majority of them should suck it up and live their lives according to their biological sex and those who can't and transition should accept being treated as exotic freaks, like someone with facial tattoos or a thousand piercings.

There's a sub on reddit called translater with people who have transitioned later than Zephyr, and many are passable.

'shooped until proven otherwise. I'd assume that people whose self-image depends extraordinarily on altering their appearance and on deceiving themselves will also be very likely to alter their photographs to deceive others.

So someone who is offended by both non-passing trans and "chemically castrating children" is basically saying they want to erase the whole idea of modern transness, that the majority of them should suck it up and live their lives according to their biological sex and those who can't and transition should accept being treated as exotic freaks, like someone with facial tattoos or a thousand piercings.

Yes, I want to erase the whole idea of modern transness. The technology is not sufficiently developed to make it workable in most cases, even if it was a good idea. We should encourage people to feel comfortable with their own bodies instead of fuelling an industry that encourages crude surgical solutions to age-old psychological issues. Let them be tomboys or effeminate males. I've seen plenty of gory photos and admissions from people who've wrecked their lives - this is not an avenue our civilization should pursue until we become much more technically sophisticated.

Without the pressure of imperfect technology better technology may never come. I suppose you'd be fine with it, they aren't.

My advice to any trans-questioning people who I could trust to listen would, of course, be to focus on everything else that troubles them and then see if they're still unhappy with the junk they were born with.

This is a very strange assertion. That photo of Zooey Zephyr looks like someone early on in transition to me. I've seen multiple people like that in queer spaces (adults who started their transition as adults) where 2-3 years later they look more or less like a woman because they've actually been taking hormones long enough (and possibly have gotten some surgery, idk, I've never interrogated any of them on the details of their transition). I guess it's a little surprising to me that she's not closeted or identifying as non-binary at that stage in her transition. (I did some superficial web searching and couldn't find any information on when she came out as trans.)

What do you expect, this is a genuine conundrum. If you assign blockers to every kid with something that looks like dysphoria, you're messing up the ones that would have desisted. If you don't, you run into the passing issue. There isn't a good way out of it, other than improving diagnostics. And even then it won't do anything to help people with late onset dysphoria pass (see Contrapoints, Philosophytube).

Edit: Let's add another interesting piece of optics that I see going viral. I continue to be surprised that my opponents are embracing people that I think make them look maximally weird.

It worked in ancient China for one Zhao Gao (for a time) and it still works today.

Not sure if they’ll go along with his coup, yet powerful enough to have them executed anyway? Curious.

I don’t really have an emotional reaction. Hearing about all of yours is like hearing about celebrity gossip. I’m sure someone feels a burning sense of jealousy and injustice when seeing a picture of Leo DiCaprio’s youngest girlfriend, but that someone is not me.

My intellectual reaction is more along the lines of “yeah, definitely trans.” It’s not great as an iconic propaganda piece. Then again, I’m not sure any state politician could make that setting look good.

I agree. I see a masculine man, with masculine face musculature, with masculine hands. This is one of the counterarguments about the TQ: those who are less masculine, or more “intersex” and androgynous, do not appear more likely to be transgender. It may even be the opposite. Which means all the same hormones that lead to men being just men are also surging through the MTF, causing the same brain changes and so on. So what is the magic physical change that makes an M claim to be F, apart from a feeling? How can this feeling at all he explicated — what does it even mean to feel like a woman except to want to be woman-like? My younger cousin may watch Andrew Tate and decide to act like Andrew Tate, but no one would treat him with the same masculine “stature”. We see that he simply wants to be Andrew Tate, is imitating him. The Left is ordinarily hyper-aware of people wanting to be someone else and criticizes the imposter ruthlessly. Consider the criticism against Cole Sprouse: how dare this non-rugged and non-masculine guy pretend to be a cool, rugged cigarette smoker?

Yes, gay people are being transitioned. Clinicians used to joke at the Tavistock, UK's gender clinic, now closed, that there wouldn't be any gay people left when they had finished...

I'd be interested in hearing people's perspective - how is it not objectively better to have gay people without medical treatment than trans people with?

I don't think Blanchard typology is necessarily scientific and it definitely doesn't cover all cases, but I do think it provides a perspective that is more consistent with observed reality than the "girl born in a man's body" model of transgenderism.

Absolutely, I am cognitively biased, but so many of these men scream playing at being a woman to me, or just not really a woman at all but there for complicated reasons.

Also it's fashionable and can advance your career, just look at all the shameless athletes wanting to shine in glory they were never able to get before. Contrapoints has interesting and thoughtful videos with great production ideas. But even with his creative takedown of Jordan Peterson (everyone loves the JP click train) he wouldn't have been nearly as successful as a regular guy. He captured the zeitgeist perfectly and it's his entire shtick really.

I see a politician doing politics. Neither "brave woman" nor "ridiculous man" seem like apt descriptors to me, just as I wouldn't describe a chess move as "brave" or "ridiculous." It's either a good move or a bad move, and we'll find out which as the game progresses.

That's a more interesting perspective! Do you have any guess on how it plays out? I think part of where I'm coming from is that the aesthetic strikes me as so ridiculous that it's apt to undermine the position being held, with people that are somewhat agnostic on the underlying positions looking at Zephyr and getting the feeling that this isn't really all that consistent with the position that trans women are women. Many people have now hardened their positions (although I suppose those have changed substantially in just a five or ten year period), but I get the impression that there are quite a few fence-sitters that are amenable to humoring people in their desired gender, but might have a tough time with this.

Of course, I see that my own position has crystalized and isn't likely to represent what other people are seeing, which is why I asked in the first place.

Do you have any guess on how it plays out?

I think short term, Zoey probably wins out. They might not win the law suit, but they'll have a victory in PR and their career regardless.

I think long term, the trans issue is probably losing for the left. Trans people are usually(albeit not always) physically ugly, and physical ugliness does not do well in politics. Gay men care a lot more about their aesthetics and actually looking good than a lot of trans women I think. Drag queens do care about their aesthetics though, and I'd expect eventually end up in a position like beauty pageants- not cared about too much by wider society, and the child ones considered creepy.

I don't really know how it will play out, but personally the situation reminds me of Wendy Davis' 2013 filibuster of an abortion ban in the Texas senate. This made her a darling of the Texas Democratic party, rocketing her to the gubernatorial nomination in 2014 where she lost badly to Abbot and faded into obscurity. Given that Montana is a red state, I don't see Zephyr being viable as a statewide candidate, so I would predict a similar type of outcome here. But who knows.

Montana is a red state but they've shown themselves to be more moderate than Texas. Jon Tester still represents them in the Senate and Steve Bullock was the governor until recently, and they legalized recreational marijuana. That being said, these are both moderate to conservative Democrats, and I don't think Zephyr fits that bill. The upshot is that she won't even be able to win a primary there, because when the state party thinks they have a chance of winning, they actually care to have an electable candidate.

I know a lot of men whose forearms and facial bones are less masculine than that.

This is a good insight that is also found in The Last Psychiatrist at times.

I squirt some lemon or lime juice into it, but I don't worry about drinking too little water unless I'm on a hike.

I also like naturally carbonated water, like Borjomi or Ferrarelle, but I am not installing a SodaStream for that, my kitchen is small enough already.

Adding BCAA powder makes it very easy to get down and there are some potential health benefits.

Really? I recall BCAA powder tasting like death.

The ALLMAX Aminocore BCAA flavors have all tasted pretty good to me. I've only tried the fruit punch and a key lime flavor they used to have.

I got some random BCAA powder at the drug store once and it tasted awful.

I find if you go to a supplement store they curate the flavors a bit so you don't get anything awful.

I fill a small thermos with coffee or tea in the morning, then rinse and replace it with cold water for the afternoon, but I'm not clear on whether that qualifies as a "weird flask." Apart from that you can try one of the dozens of flavored sparkling water brands that have sprung up in recent years as an alternative to soda among the PMC (in this case at least they may be on to something).

  1. Carbonate it.

  2. Add a light flavoring, like tea, lemon, or Angostura bitters.

  3. Add minerals. You can buy Burton salts from brewers suppliers or Amazon cheap, and a pinch a liter reasonably approximates San Pellegrino.

I've used the simple expediency of adding raw lemon juice to the water.

Not to make lemonade, just to add a 'flavor' that effectively masks any displeasing tastes.

It might not work for a big cary bottle, but carbonated water with a dash of bitters is pretty good. Gives some flavor to the water and feels a bit more natural than using some weird flavor extract.

You need to start trying different types of mineral water. "Water" is a broad category that includes many different categories and subcategories of drink that all have different flavors.

"Water" (H2O) is the carrier for the things that actually give water taste. If you are drinking municipal water that comes from your tap, a water fountain, etc, then what you are tasting are the chemicals that the city adds to make it safe to drink.

For mineral water, the things the water is carrying are what you are tasting. Based on the region that the water comes from and how it is sourced, these things are going to taste different.

For an extreme example of what I mean, try 1907 water, which is sweet to the taste:

Or Gerolsteiner for a salty tasting water:

Gerolsteiner is also naturally carbonated, meaning it is bubbly as it comes out of the ground.

Distilled water is tasteless.

I think 1.5L/day excluding food isn't that bad? Women, due to lower mass, on average consume/require less of everything per day than men. The consensus on authoritative-seeming google-first-page websites like 'harvard health' seems to be women should drink 2.7L/day and men should drink 3.7L/day - including water from food.

from some paper > Approximately 20% of total fluid intake will come from fluids within foods, leaving the AI of drinking fluids to be amounts of 2.5 L/day for males and 2.0 L/day for females;

So if your diet already has more fluid than usual, that seems fine. And if you weigh 25% less than the average (somewhat overweight) american woman, that might correspond to less fluid used, so you'd be fine (less sure about that). Generally, if the concern's just over the number not being high enough, I wouldn't worry - but if one's often uncomfortably thirsty/feels dehydrated / feel blood pressure swings when you stand up / urine color etc, then drinking more is reasonable.

In terms of taste, I find tap-water fine-tasting, but some brands of ""spring water"" in glass bottles to taste great (and others to taste bad), due to various dissolved minerals. Don't think that's universal though. Or if you prefer cold water, maybe get an insulated bottle and keep cold water (with ice?) in it?

Won't help when you're out and about, but I got a one liter glass bottle with a stopper attached (one of the ones you'll often find at restaurants) which I fill up with tap water and chill during the day, then drink at night. Obviously could do filtered water as well.

I've found that just swigging it straight from a glass bottle makes me drink significantly more than I would otherwise (compared to pouring a glass, drinking from a plastic water bottle or jug, etc). YMMV on this one, I'll admit this might just be a weird quirk of my brain.

Unsweetened seltzer water is my favorite. But, I don't have a seltzer machine and I can never stock up enough seltzers from the grocery store. ($$ add up)

Highly-highly diluted cold coffee is also great. I have a huge 1+ liter glass that put a bunch of ice and cold black coffee into. And drink that. My brain thinks it is a steady supply of caffeine because there is still some color to it.

Why not get one of the 1 gallon water bottles. Add a bunch of ice, lemon and mint to it in the morning, and now you have a clear marker for 3.7 liters to finish every day.