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Small-Scale Question Sunday for November 19, 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.

Does Twitch's extremely strict policy surrounding slurs, hate speech, not having banned users on panel shows, the permanent ban on destiny, the policing of offline and off platform behaviour, etc, make economic sense? I don't understand how it could, as it seemingly significantly pushes people to Youtube and especially more recently Kick as competitors, which is insane considering that Twitch initially basically had a monopoly on this.

I don't think it does, given it's substantially stricter than every other platform, including Youtube, Tiktok, pre-musk Twitter, and similar. I think it's a combination of - economic incentives mean management has some pressure to censor, and then the people they give the 'trust and safety' or w/e authority to are very progressive.

Does Twitch's extremely strict policy surrounding slurs, hate speech, not having banned users on panel shows, the permanent ban on destiny, the policing of offline and off platform behaviour, etc, make economic sense? I don't understand how it could, as it seemingly significantly pushes people to Youtube and especially more recently Kick as competitors, which is insane considering that Twitch initially basically had a monopoly on this.

Sounds like a textbook principal-agent problem to me.

... depends on what you're asking. We don't have data, and such data's probably impossible to get, but there's some stuff you can reasonably guess.

Does the extent of the current policy put off more advertisers or watchers or creators than a milder one would? Probably! Does a content policy doing some of these rules probably make them more advertisers/watch/creators than having absolutely zero would? Also probably, given that above any natural economic motions it'd attract the same sort of 'oversight' that drove Media Matters to fuck with Twitter recently.

Does any of that matter, when we already know every payment processor outside of Russia will drop them like a sack of potatoes?

To what degree does Wikipedia call things "terrorism" in the encyclopedic voice rather than "according to..."? I'm trying to define the terms of a prediction / bet about the future.

7 July 2005 London bombings

four coordinated suicide attacks carried out by Islamist terrorists

2004 Madrid train bombings:

The bombings constituted the deadliest terrorist attack carried out in the history of Spain and the deadliest in Europe since 1988.

2011 Norway attacks:

The 2011 Norway attacks, referred to in Norway as 22 July (Norwegian: 22. juli)[12] or as 22/7,[13] were two domestic terrorist attacks by far right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik

Air India Flight 182:

on 23 June 1985, disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean as a result of an explosion from a bomb planted by Canadian Sikh terrorists. [...] The bombing of Air India Flight 182 is the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history,

Bologna massacre:

terrorist bombing of the Bologna Centrale railway station in Bologna, Italy, on the morning of 2 August 1980, which killed 85 people and wounded over 200.[1] Several members of the neo-fascist terrorist organization Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (NAR, Armed Revolutionary Nuclei) were sentenced for the bombing,[2] although the group denied involvement.

Pan Am Flight 103:

With a total of 270 fatalities, it is the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

Ben Gurion Airport massacre:

was a terrorist attack that occurred on 30 May 1972.

Looks like those are all categorized as terrorism.

Does Tinder actually delete your data after three months? Seems unclear.

Yes unless you’ve been reported (very common and you’ll have no indication). Also, I know a group who has a bot screen cap all profiles for mining/analytics so you’re not escaping that one.

Which winter jacket should I ask Santa for?

What climate do you live in and what are your primary use cases?

I move often, but for example let's say going on a date near Atlanta.

Depends on your style. For casual and athletic wear, The Arc'teryx Atom is great for that light temperature range, adaptable and good looking in the non-hoodie version.

For preppy/dressier, a Barbour waxed cotton is a classic for a reason, expensive but can last. Strong responsible provider vibe.

If you're edgier at your date, hunt for a used schott perfecto. No jacket I've owned has gone over better on more dates than that one. It really does look that good.

The Carhartt winter jacket I received for Christmas 12 years ago remains my daily driver every winter. Maybe the best product I've been owned.


What career should I pursue? I seem to lack the discipline or whatever for university or other such independant tasks. How much does having a good career matter for getting a good wife? I'm worried at the rate I'm going I'm running out of time.

What career should I pursue? I seem to lack the discipline or whatever for university or other such independant tasks.

Something where there is a shortage. Also, if you're autistic, get yourself tested for ADHD - a lot of us have the combo meal and medication can be very helpful.

I don't know if it's the same in the States, but in Canada I'm always telling guys in your position to do insurance. Typically it's a quick on the job training course (few weeks?) And then you're making 50-60k, often fully remote, busy and occasionally interesting work in adjusting, or later on fraud prevention. You could also take like a heavy equipment operator course or something along those lines.

Could you tell me more about insurance, if you don't mind? It's not just sales? That's more optimistic than I've heard from other people, but maybe that's just Canada.

I've got a friend who worked for Desjardins and Intact. His job was adjusting - aka evaluating the claims that came in. You get in an accident and want money to fix your car - was it your fault? What is your policy? Etc etc.

Eventually you can go into management, more corporate stuff, or I've heard a lot of people go into fraud detection, building cases against a lot of organized crime insurance fraud schemes and passing info off to police.

All with no degree? Just starting with nothing and accumulating job experience?

In Canada at least, I believe they have you take a course....I think your ceiling is limited somewhat without a degree, and in the hiring process if there is a lot of competition then you may find yourself overlooked, but it's at least worth looking into. Even a simple 2 year diploma from a community college probably wouldn't hurt.

Seems like it might be pretty uncommon, unfortunately. I've talked to others who have said they don't know anyone outside of sales without a degree. witheredwojak.jpg

I'm always telling guys in your position to do insurance. Typically it's a quick on the job training course (few weeks?) And then you're making 50-60k, often fully remote, busy and occasionally interesting work in adjusting, or later on fraud prevention.

Something like this seems like it might be the practical path for me.

Assortative mating is a real deal, so if you want to bag a wife you'll be proud of, then you need to work on yourself too, presuming your profile picture is you, unless you get really jacked you'll have to rely on something other than good looks carrying you (a problem I share, I'm just being honest here, not attempting to call you ugly, even just being plain means you need more in hand).

You're 26 years old, and don't have much in the way of qualifications. Well, I'm 26 years old, and despite "lacking the discipline" to pursue independent tasks, Ritalin proved to be a sufficient aid to get me through med school.

That is not a route I would recommend to anyone today (unless they're at just the right age to get in), because I think there's a very high chance you will be effectively obsolete and unemployable (for current wages) by the time you're done. This is true for most professions, not just medicine, not that you suggested you were inclined towards it.

IMO, you should aim for a career where minimal credentials and maximum selling your skills applies, programming is one that comes to mind, perhaps a trade if you're willing to go down that route. I would strongly advise against anything that needs a Bachelors, then a Masters and a PhD, you simply do not have the luxury of that much time (though being a student in a promising course is a good way to get a girl! At least you'll be in an environment where they're present, programming excepted).

You raised concerns of delaying having kids later being bad because of aging related degradation of your seminal genetic material, which honestly isn't that big a deal for men. The most pertinent reason to avoid delaying past your 40s is that you will likely just lack the energy to handle kids, even if that's not something that can't be overcome.

So my advise is, get into a Bachelors in whatever you think you have the aptitude for, perhaps consider a Masters if you don't find a well-paying job straight away, and use that time to expose yourself to women your age with the traits you desire.

You raised concerns of delaying having kids later being bad because of aging related degradation of your seminal genetic material, which honestly isn't that big a deal for men.

Any relationship between delayed paternity and having autistic children?

Instead, increased odds of ASD were found with paternal age < 30 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.83 and 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.14–7.02). Likewise, younger age (<30 years) for both parents was associated with decreases in Mullen Scales of Early Learning early learning composite (MSEL-ELC) scores

It is indeed a risk factor, but as far as I'm aware, considering all congenital abnormalities and not just autism, maternal age is a bigger deal.

children born to fathers who were 45 years or older were at higher risk for developing autism than those born to fathers who were 25 years or younger.

Source: an observational study of five million children in five countries; an article which cites it also notes the issues with the study’s methodology.

Is it just a correlation or is it causal? Because I can think of lots of reasons autistic traits would be correlated with having kids later.

So my advise is, get into a Bachelors in whatever you think you have the aptitude for, perhaps consider a Masters if you don't find a well-paying job straight away, and use that time to expose yourself to women your age with the traits you desire.

That would be ideal, but like I said, I lack the discipline or whatever.

I offered you a solution, stimulants, as many as it takes to make you sit down and do what you're supposed to rather than what you feel like.

Speaking of that, I should get back to studying for yet more medical exams before mine wear off..

Do stimulants actually make you focus on work rather than play? I thought it just made you focus on whatever it is you're doing. I suppose of course it's worth trying anyway, but I'm not optimistic.

I can certainly game for hours and hours on it, but the primary issue I have is coaxing myself into sitting in front of an open textbook, and it augments my willpower to do that.

Then again, I'm Motte-posting before it's worn off, but I did solve 100+ MCQs today, and I'll do some more now.

Thanks for all the replies.

You're welcome! Get the bag, make sure it's Gucci, and you'll find someone to carry it on one arm with her other in yours.

You raised concerns of delaying having kids later being bad because of aging related degradation of your seminal genetic material, which honestly isn't that big a deal for men.

The primary concern is the age of the mother. Maybe I could marry someone much younger, but that comes with its own set of issues, and the vast majority of women marry someone within only a few years of them anyway.

You don’t need to worry about a thing lad; I’m in my 40s and my future wife hasn’t even been born yet.

You don’t need to worry about a thing lad; I’m in my 40s and my future wife hasn’t even been born yet.

How long are you expecting to live? Why? And where do you live to expect a relationship with such a large age gap to be tolerated? Plus, why do you expect her to go for such a relationship, given the aforementioned gap?

= \

An age-gap of even ten years is utterly unremarkable, especially when it's, say, a 40 year old guy marrying a 30 yo woman. It's far from an intractable issue.

An age-gap of even ten years is utterly unremarkable,

Maybe where you live, but it would be quite shocking in any of the social circles I'm familiar with.

What social circles are those?


Yes, to be clear, I'm not some turbo doomer about this. But dating is hard enough already without adding on even more filters.

Dating will get easier when you're either a student in a promising profession, or someone employed making decent dough. At that point, being the kind of guy who wants a significantly younger wife becomes a far more tractable problem, easier the more money you have really.

So being a recent graduate is a bad time to date?

Bad? Compared to your entire life? Not at all.

But compared to either:

  1. Being in schooling, where you have state-sanctioned proximity to young and attractive people of the other gender, very few people in your peer group having become so utterly superior to you in terms of credentials.

  2. Being well-established in a career where you're gaining points for being wealthy/successful/put-together, in other words having said credentials.

It's a bit worse.

1 happens to be the biggest hurdle for the average person asking for relationship advice here, they're usually nerdy, shy or introverted, and often are in a stream where women are rare. But they usually get a big benefit from 2, where being successful makes them attractive again.

Being a recent graduate who just got a decent job, still has an active friends circle from college or uni and hasn't aged out of hangouts or events where the denizens of the latter exist is far from the worst place to be.

I'm somehow in the worst of all worlds. I'm nerdy, shy, and introverted and did a degree where there were very few women and I had almost no free time, have had very little career success since graduating, and am now no longer part of a social circle that involves going to parties or meeting new people after moving back to my hometown and now only hanging out with friends from high school and having not succeeded at making friends in university.

More comments

Dating will get easier when you're either a student in a promising profession

I disagree, based on what I've seen happen with my classmates at a US medical school. And the residents. It only changes once you are an attending.

At that point, being the kind of guy who wants a significantly younger wife becomes a far more tractable problem

AFAICT, it's the only thing that makes it more tractable.

I saw this on Broadway when I was a kid, but I could only find this monologue on YouTube from a high school performance. And while in all honesty I do prefer Broadway, we'll make it to the point with Hunterdon High School. Other than the fact that somehow no one taught this pauvre fille how to say brooch.

I've not been married as long as, and surely not been as good of a husband as, other married Mottizens. But in our lives we've both been on top of the world and been derailed. We've been up and down and over and out and this has taught me that intelligence and talent will win in the end, and that the critical thing is that we've always had each other. We're the constants in each other's lives. Even when you fail professionally your spouse needs to be someone who has faith in your ability to get back on top. We're doing well now, but we could have made it on green glass. And that makes me feel confident and comfortable, because it'll happen again.

Having a job or an education or money will make you more attractive because it is strong evidence of intelligence and dilligence and ambition. But the woman you should marry is a woman who recognizes those things in you and has faith they will express themselves no matter what material circumstances you both face.

How old are you? Where are you based? What existing qualifications do you have? Without that information, you're not getting an informed answer.

  1. I'm in Lviv now, but I'm returning to the US soon. None.

And how old are you? Have you got any existing work experience?

(Oops, sorry, the website formatting messed up the number in my comment.)

Twenty six. Only a few odd jobs.

Bag yourself a wife before you leave.

I've been having no luck lately.

Is your profile picture actually a picture of you? If so, then luck has nothing to do with it.

Is your profile picture actually a picture of you?

Yes, but I shave now.

If so, then luck has nothing to do with it.

Of course, it's a figure of speech.

The website seems to have mangled my post a little lol. I meant to say I'm twenty six, not one.

Depends on what your goals are.

Consider whether you want your wife to be a career woman, whether you want to be very rich, whether you want to have 9 kids, etc. Those goals will probably narrow down which career tracks will allow you to achieve your goals. From there, pick something that you have at least a mild interest in so that youll be less likely to be miserable all day.

I wanted my wife to have the option of being a SAHM, for my family to live a middle class lifestyle, to work reasonable hours so that I could spend time with my future family, and to do work that wasn't soul crushingly boring (to me). So I went into tech, and it's worked out well so far.

If you're just trying to attract a good wife in the first place, then first off, all the usual dating advice that gets posted applies. As regards your job, I think it doesn't matter as much as how women perceive your character and your potential. Women want to feel secure. When I met my future wife, I was working a barely above minimum wage job (in my early 20s, before it became a red flag). But she said she could tell from the beginning that I was a guy with a life plan who was reliable and has his shit together, so she thought I was hot even though I was broke.

Anyway, could you give some examples?

I mean, of course nice things are nice, nobody wants to be poor. But I've always lived pretty frugally. But I assume a woman would probably not want to, so that maybe doesn't even matter anyway.

It completely depends on the woman.

Are you saying it can't be generalized?

Strong agree with all of this.

This is the point at which doing some ‘real world research’ would be useful. Chances are you know or regularly encounter dozens of older men, most of whom are married, most of whom are probably not particularly successful or attractive. But then that depends on your definition of a ‘good wife’.

What do the men married to the women you would consider suitable do? Who are they? This is the first consideration.

A variety of jobs, what's your point?

I have the whole rest of my life to do whatever, but I specifically need to start a family within the next decade or so if I'm to avoid the risks of geriatric pregnancy, unless I marry someone much younger.

Anyway, perhaps it could be somewhat of a tradeoff insofar as it's like, settling into a safe but suboptimal career earlier on as opposed to continuing to explore or trying harder things.

How hard would it be to marry someone much younger, anyway?

Given that you have US residency and spend time in Ukraine, not very.

I've had no luck lately.

I spoke to a friend earlier today. She could tell I was on the spectrum but found it hard to describe exactly what made it apparent to her. After talking a while, she said that I always paused before I said something, or before I smiled. It was probably that deliberateness that was a tell. She did make it clear that there was nothing I had done (or failed to do) that was offensive in any way, although I'm reasonably sure that there's proto-offensive shit that doesn't rise to the level of conscious thought and is difficult, but not impossible, to put into words. Ekman and his team might be able to do it.

I also don't think all that many people can put into words the things that I do or say that make people think I'm autistic, or that offend people. If I had to guess, maybe ten percent of psychiatrists or psychologists, and maybe one average person in a few hundred.

I still think that a true UMC gentleman - like aristocracy in ages past - has things that they are fundamentally willing to die over. Like, a lot of duels were fought over things like "honor". I'm well aware that there were plenty of off-ramps in the dueling process that allowed both participants to be satisfied gentlemen. In the case of pistol duels the duelists didn't always shoot straight, and dueling pistols weren't usually that accurate. Even so, quite a few promising young gentlemen met a premature end on the dueling ground.

As a Hockist: perhaps a decent ideal to strive for is better to die than do your utmost to be graceful. It seems fitting and proper for an awkward person to adopt this as an least until he is no longer awkward. The Hock is an idiotic and meaningless way to prove that I've got a high level of grit and determination.

I'm also guessing that many of you would think that my view of the 'UMC gentleman' - or the 'petty aristocracy' he described of people with two college educated parents - is out of whack and some fever-dream cross between Japanese bushido and what we think Victorian-era gentlemanly conduct was. And that if pressed, maybe a couple of awkward UMC dudes in a hundred would go on the Hock even if they were guaranteed to not be awkward after.

What's your take?

I think you're violating the single-issue posting rule. You've made your point. The community has given its feedback. Kindly fuck off with your hock.

(1) I too think that "honour" is a meaningful concept and not a figleaf for hypocrisy or 'good is dumb' or the rest of it. Sometimes I find myself reacting like an 18th century novel about "this impugns my honour!!!" and have to cool my jets

(2) You're planning to do something very difficult and dangerous. I don't know your reasons, but if you're doing it to impress women - women aren't impressed by stupid, and women do tend to think "endangering my life for funsies" is stupid, and the kind of women who are impressed by that stuff aren't the kind of women you want to impress

(3) If you do go ahead and do this, be careful. There's nothing dishonorable in "planning not to get myself killed when five minutes thought would have saved me". I don't know how old you are, but just yesterday I read a news report about four young men who got themselves killed and who probably never expected anything could go wrong. Don't be an idiot, I guess, is what I'm trying to advise you (but depending on your age, young men are idiots)

women aren't impressed by stupid, and women do tend to think "endangering my life for funsies" is stupid

Can't speak for women but I imagine they're somewhat impressed by competency and leadership/status, and one route to that competency and status is to do things that no other man has been brave, foolish or pig-headed enough to do before and succeed*.

Once success is demonstrated the unorthodoxy cashes out among men as being a pioneer. And now hundreds of thousands (millions?) of men admire people like Rodney Mullen for something as pointless and trivial as mastering standing on the wrong side of a skateboard. It's the "people said it couldn't be done" factor. And that status among men is in turn what cashes out as making an impression on women.

In this case it would only work if Skookum can lever his expedition into the likelihood of consistently impressing men within the social awareness cone of women at a degree proportional to the risk of freezing to death. That's very dubious, and that's what really makes it stupid suboptimal. I mean, if he comes back with pics and maps to post and a gripping tale of high jeopardy that he pursued in spite of everyone here near unanimously telling him it was dangerously misguided, I think that counts as some variety of impressive. But that doesn't cash out easily oustide The Motte, and it all turns on a not inconsiderable "if".

* If they don't succeed they often fail catastrophically, which I think is something like Skookum is pointing at when he brings up the honour factor of how in his eyes it might be a better society if socially unsuccessful men died trying, because at least they're trying and if they die then they die with the honour of pursuing some variety of success (and society has relieved itself of something it didn't value anyway). Very Gattaca.

"And succeed" being the salient part here. "Do dumb thing that is 99% likely to end up with my corpse becoming bear food" is not that thing.

If only socially unsuccessful men do things that they will die doing, then it won't be perceived as "the honour of some variety of success" but rather something more like "annual pest control". Nobody is impressed by the nobility with which rats succumb to poison. If this kind of activity is one reserved for "socially unsuccessful men" then it will be as low status as the rest of the social lack of success.

I don't think elaborate suicide makes you look better than quiet suicide.

And now hundreds of thousands (millions?) of men admire people like Rodney Mullen for something as pointless and trivial as mastering standing on the wrong side of a skateboard.

And how many women?

For skateboarding? Or for being a figure of narrow but significant acclaim?

For the first, who knows. Roughly as many as there are women skateboarders. For the second, tautologically more than without the acclaim, and they don't have to be into skateboarding because the people who are will provide the information.

To offer a less niche example professional sportsmen aren't swimming in top tier fanny because they moved a ball into a net, it's because men want to associate with them, recruit them for their team, and use them to put a ball into a net more than the other team's men can.

There's a complex blend of prestige status and dominance status involved (you can't fail to be the best if you're the only one that does it, etc) but both of them reduce to status, and status rests on a foundation of external validation. That's the vital difference between a hypothetical woman who sees a bunch of men being impressed by the guy who stood on the wrong side of a skateboard (or hiked across Alaska) versus the guy who thinks he will impress women if he tells them about how he can use a skateboard wrong (or hiked across Alaska). Show don't tell, yes, but there's a third way by telling a third party and letting them do the showing.

How's your preparation coming along? How much cold weather backpacking have you done so far?

I may have missed some lore. Is the gist that you think being airdropped into the Alaskan wilderness will make you better with girls? And that you’ve become so obsessed with the idea that you’ve created your own term (“hock”)? My takes are:

  • This comes off as sufficiently delusional to warrant a trip to a psychiatrist.

  • Being airdropped into the Alaskan wilderness will guarantee that you come back less socialized than before, meaning you will be worse at picking up social cues. You will have higher stress than before, meaning you will lose hair and your testosterone levels will plummet. You might develop a stress disorder on top of this. This will not help you with girls.

  • There are a number of eminently feasible ways to develop more confidence around women. If you want a dramatic flare you can pick up MMA or boxing, which will decrease stress longterm and increase your testosterone and feeling of competency.

My take is that Skookum wants to rationalize avoiding human interaction. Despite absolutely everyone making the same point that isolating oneself will result in decreased social skills, he still somehow comes to the conclusion that this will help him with the ladies.

All I've been able to find on it in the history, for as much as I care to dig, is this small picture. No idea if it's some quest he made up or an actual thing. I can't find any reference to it anywhere else. Assuming Rov_Scam's description of Sagwon, the supposed destination, is correct (a quick glance at Google maps satellite view suggests that it is), it sounds more like something made up, and I don't have high hopes for it.

No idea if it's some quest he made up or an actual thing

The former.

Go down to the streets and talk to 10 women right now. It will be harder than the hock.

If you are gonna die anyways, might as well die after tryinf a few new things you havent before.

Has anyone here said anything positive about you doing the hock?

I am asking because if you die and they trace your online history to here, I want to be able to say that we unanimously said it was a stupid idea.

Autistic guys can slay. Get good at standup comedy instead. Some of the best comics in the business are at least a little autistic. They just focused their autistic powers on getting laughs, and their inability to pick up on social cues was an advantage cuz they could do horribly offensive jokes.

I'd side with Southkraut that it's not necessarily a terrible idea. I don't expect it will do anything at all for your social skills or success with women, but it could still be a cool accomplishment. It's at least as cool as climbing Mount Everest in my book, and less over-hyped. The big asterisk is your preparation, which I have no idea about and as far as I can tell you haven't posted much about.

If you're otherwise a generic suburbanite physically who occasionally runs a few blocks when the whether is nice, then you will definitely die doing this and you should abandon the idea if you have any brains at all. I hope you're not that unprepared, but that's one extreme.

If you're spending the 2 years leading up to it training hard at extreme cold weather wilderness survival, long-term hiking and survival, wilderness navigation, solo mountain climbing, and other related skills, then you might be able to do it. Have you at least accomplished something 5% as hard as that already? Hell, 5% as hard should feel so routine as to be boring before you think about trying this.

As someone who has been outside every day of his life and spent a lot of time with like-minded people, it's not really even that extreme of an accomplishment. It's basically just a backcountry ski trip with more complicated logistics than doing it in Maine or Minnesota. It's not hard to get an airlift to a spot in the wilderness if you have the money and know where to look; it's a thing people do, and most of them come back okay. The thing is, most of the people who do it go through outfitters who provide gear and provisions and tell them where to go, even if the tours are self-guided. As such, he's not going to get dropped at some arbitrary location, but a spot where the pilot can actually land the plane, which is going to be a spot that people normally use for these types of adventures. There's a decent chance he may even run into other people on this trip.

That being said, as I mentioned in my last post on the subject, most people who aren't in the outdoor world won't know the difference between any of the finer gradations of how badass something is supposed to be. I wouldn't go out of my way to plan such a trip myself, but if a group were going and I were invited and cost/time off work weren't an issue I'd jump at the chance. I have friends who do a ski touring vacation every winter and they love it, though the fact that they have small children they bring along means they usually stick to the kind of trips where you ski between cabins on well-marked trails. To the uninitiated, though, it doesn't matter. Some people — even outdoorsy people — seem shocked that I've backpacked overnight solo without being scared in the woods. Non-outdoorsy people often ask what kind of gun I bring with me. When I tell them that, aside from the weight alone making it a nonstarter, that a pistol isn't likely to do anything against any animal that could do serious damage, they change tack and suggest that the woods is crawling with deranged hillbillies. If Sookum wants to do something other people will find impressive, a few overnighters on a local trail will probably be sufficient without the additional risk and cost.

It's basically just a backcountry ski trip with more complicated logistics than doing it in Maine or Minnesota.

Also quite a bit colder at least than Maine; Minnesota can sometimes get as cold. I know that people use Ely, Minnesota as a training ground for polar expedition training. Fifty degrees below zero is no joke. As far as the airlift, bush pilots are expensive and I plan on carrying gasoline with me as stove fuel, so I'll be leaving from Arctic Village and attempting to reach the town of Sagwon.

Also quite a bit colder at least than Maine

I like to bring up the time back in 1999 the local Air National Guard had to rescue a Navy SEAL team from the mountains outside Anchorage when a cold spell hit during their training exercise.

What’s your plan once reaching Sagwon given no one lives there?

I plan on carrying gasoline with me as stove fuel

Okay I've never hiked or camped or the like but that does not sound like a good plan. How much weight can you carry? How much weight are you expecting to carry? You're going to burn more fuel than you expect just to keep warm, and you'll likely run out before you reach your destination, not to mention possibility of accident (spilling or losing fuel) or not being able to make your mileage goals because you're too loaded down.

Polar (both north and south) expeditions have foundered on things like this. Scott of the Antarctic was brave and experienced, but things went badly wrong and we know how that ended up. Don't die because of a stupid miscalculation.

Gasoline is the fuel I'll be buying in Arctic Village. The stove is only for melting snow for drinking water, not for warmth - using a liquid fuel stove for warmth seems like a rather impractical idea.

As for weight carried: something like 40 pounds on my back and another 40 to 60 in the sled.

attempting to reach the town of Sagwon

Alright, I'm going to stop you right there. Sagwon is not a town. Sagwon is an abandoned airstrip that was built to service the construction of the Alaska pipeline. The best you can hope to find there is a passing truck on the Dalton Highway you can flag down for an awkward six-hour-plus ride to Wiseman. It would make more sense to start at Sagwon since at least you'd have a real town to aim for. This is relative, though. When you first talked about this you kept mentioning a trek through the forest so I though you were talking about the lowlands in the vicinity of the southern entrance to Gates of the Arctic National Park. What you have proposed is crossing the Brooks Range in an area where I'm not sure anyone crosses it. Do you have avalanche training? What ski setup are you using? Are you going backcountry xc, tele, or full backcountry touring? Do you have an ice axe, crampons, and screws? How's your downhill skiing ability? Can you at least drop into an easy bowl without more than a cursory look? If so, can you still do it with open heels? How many passes will you have to cross? I could go on but I think you get the point. On second thought, start from Arctic Village; at least then you aren't committed and can turn back.

Do you have avalanche training?

No, but I've read some stuff online, does that count? Going to read some books on that.

What ski setup are you using?

Backcountry touring.

Do you have an ice axe, crampons, and screws?

Yes, or I will have these.

How's your downhill skiing ability

In high school, I was a mediocre ski racer; I can ski black terrain but not glades or moguls, at least not well at all. Hopefully that means something.

Can you still do it with open heels

I hope not to find out.

How many passes will you have to cross?

One, hopefully.

Thing is: if I started around Sagwon, and missed Arctic Village by ten miles due to a navigation error, I could potentially be fucked. If I start at Arctic Village, I just need to head in the general direction of the Dalton Highway, and I should be able to, as you said, flag down a passing truck. The plan is to hitchhike from wherever I finish the Hock (assuming I survive) back to Fairbanks.

I'll walk back my earlier comments in part, in that skis are indeed a reasonable pick for this area -- you will however need boots that fit, and the plastic ones you have are not what I would choose.

People use something like this:

They are even called "Alaska"!

You can get neoprene booties to go over them, but if you are making enough miles to get where you are going before running out of supplies, cold feet will not be your problem.

I would worry quite a lot about avalanche danger as a solo traveller there -- not sure what the Brooks looks like on the ground, but based on Google Earth everything resembling a pass is quite exposed -- and when you are by yourself even a small slough could trap you enough that you will die through no fault of your own. (other than engaging in solo travel through exposed avvie terrain in the first place, ofc)

The fact that you think navigation errors are even on the table makes me think that you should do some better planning -- the original '100 miles through the forest' plan actually seemed pretty survivable with appropriate gear, but mountain travel is a thing where small mistakes kill even experienced people quickly.

DM me your real name before you leave so I can pray for your soul.

From "Catholic Tumblr Gothic":

You pray for your followers by their urls. “God, please pour your blessings out upon lesbiantonystark.” He knows what you mean.

Autistic guys can slay.

Maybe if they're fairly good looking, tall, and insanely dedicated - I'm talking at least as determined as a Navy SEAL. Since they were in single digits. The kind of person that could write courses on communication and facial expressions. The kind of person that makes a social blunder once a decade while sober. The kind of person that can inspire people, ironically, to endure Hock-level privation for no good goddamn reason. As far as I'm concerned, every word and gesture a neurotypical makes is a performance not much less graceful than that of a concert pianist or professional ballet dancer, and they can often inspire people to endure immense hardship in order to make them happy.

As far as positive comments: people almost unanimously said that it was stupid; many had respect for it but thought it was no less stupid.

Look, there's autism or at least "on the spectrum" and/or Aspergers in my paternal family line, and yet many of them manage to get married and have families. You seem to have set up some impossible standard in your mind for success with the opposite sex. Maybe recalibrate a bit on that? And yeah, this is depressing advice, but "lower your standards" may help. If you're looking for the Perfect Woman, she doesn't exist. And you may be overlooking better chances with women who are below the standards of "wants tall, dedicated, rich, handsome guy".

And yeah, this is depressing advice, but "lower your standards" may help.

Let's say my standards are something like...

  • Not morbidly obese
  • Can do basic hygiene
  • Can work a job, any job; preferably employed
  • Not a danger to herself or others
  • Not addicted to any hard drugs
  • Able to manage her own affairs

Is that realistic, for someone like me? Is that shooting too high? I hope not; I don't want to be running a goddamn nursing home in my household for someone whose choices were part of what led her to need that level of care. On the other hand, one of my classmates in medical school lived What's Eating Gilbert Grape and did okay for herself, so...

I don't see "can write courses on communication, extremely dedicated to being socially graceful, capable of gracefully enduring Hock-tier hardship and perhaps inspiring others to do the same" to be an impossible ask for a guy on the spectrum, for what it's worth. For example: I know ten guys who are 5'4" or shorter IRL. Only one managed to get a girlfriend who wasn't morbidly obese...or a danger to herself or others. He is, I shit you not, our class president, charismatic enough for a career in politics, and a future neurosurgeon. The four short residents I know are all focused on their careers unlike their average height and tall counterparts. Top 1 percent charisma + being on track for a million a year seems to be what it takes...although if you are OK with someone half again or twice your weight, and you're short, all you need is a body like a Greek God while being otherwise average. I'm talking...can compete in amateur physique bodybuilding competitions, like one of my college classmates. I don't think any of this is bad, for what it is worth.

Is that realistic, for someone like me?

What do you mean by "someone like me"? That only makes you sound like you have a neurotic, distorted self-image and are determined to follow this course of action based on how you think it will make you feel. Which okay, it's your life, but it has nothing to do with "get a woman" and I wish you'd drop that part of it. Most women don't care a damn about "I did a really stupid hike that could have killed me", and indeed will be motivated to avoid a guy like that, because if you get into a relationship with him, what is to stop him doing an equally stupid could-kill-him stunt? Then if you're married and have kids, you're left a widow with orphaned children and probably a heap of debt and look, it's all too much hassle. Find a man who won't decide to throw it all up and go hiking in the Arctic in the morning because he thought somebody said something mean at work.

What do you mean by "someone like me"

I mean: dreaming of a career in the NBA would be pretty realistic if I was seven feet tall, the NBA scouts for pretty much anyone seven feet and breathing - but at 5'6" I'd be the second-shortest player in NBA history, after 5'3" Muggsy Bogues. And even for a six-footer who loves basketball, it's more of a pipe dream than anything realistic.

I was asking essentially about whether or not my standards, as I'd described them, were unrealistically high. For what it is worth, based on what I've seen: unattractive people who would like to date need to choose where they want the ambulances. No, not the Hock. The Hock is stupid and pointless, and it may be a kind of prologue for things that will happen later in my life. Let me just say that I personally know two autistic women that knew damn well that they were very vulnerable to predators yet chose to date anyway. They fell prey to said predators. One is happy that she chose to date and the other has some mild regrets and thinks whatever wisdom she got wasn't worth it. If she had it to do over, she'd have been celibate. On the male side of things...let me see. Morbidly obese wives, supermorbidly obese wives, wives that tried to strangle their 10-year-old child, one attempted stabbing by a girlfriend, one successful stabbing by a girlfriend that very nearly killed the guy but he made a full recovery. Attempted stabbing guy's in a healthy relationship with his wife, one of the autistic women had a husband that raped her who she then divorced and then got in an OK relationship with a reasonably functional and well-off civil engineer that smokes pot and cigarettes like a chimney. So there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and if it's an oncoming train it usually doesn't kill you.

As I've said repeatedly here - I do not think that things are any better for unattractive women and they are probably worse. As a man, I'm not privy to as many of the tales of woe from that side of things, but hear other short and/or spergy guys - or their children - sharing stories of the things they or their parents endured. I believe I'll be going through Hell of one form or another. I realized, I think, rather late, possibly too late, that the question facing unattractive people who want to date is this: "Where do you want the ambulances?" But you need to and should choose, and that choice, freely and willingly undertaken, is in itself noble.

For what it is worth, I do not think that telling people about the Hock or even people learning that I Hocked and survived is going to do all that much for how attractive I am. In the words of Steve from the Friendly Southern Gossip discord: Sufficiently extreme challenge will just be thought of as stupidity or mildly suicidal. No, any benefit from the Hock will come from freezing the neuroticism or perhaps the hypocrisy off of me and making me accustomed to pain, discomfort, and struggle. That this pain, discomfort, and struggle are considered pointless and idiotic is a feature, not a bug: living What's Eating Gilbert Grape or some other shit is kind of on a par with that. Ask @Southkraut; he warned me in no uncertain terms about how bad an idea it was to marry someone that was digging herself a very early grave with knife and fork - or any other addiction.

I realized, I think, rather late, possibly too late, that the question facing unattractive people who want to date is this: "Where do you want the ambulances?"

I don't know where you got this idea that every unattractive person who wants to date people will at some point end up in an ambulance as a result, but it's bullshit. To illustrate my point:

  1. Attractive people can be victims of domestic violence. Rihanna. April Hernandez-Castillo. Tina Turner. Robin Givens. Bree Olson. Whitney Houston. Tyra Banks. Denise Richards. Brett Rossi. Oksana Grigorieva. Alice Kim. Kelly LeBrock. Pamela Anderson. There are numerous other examples, but I think I've made my point - none of these women are unattractive, and all have been victims of domestic violence.

  2. Many unattractive people in romantic relationships go their whole lives without needing to call an ambulance for any reason, including domestic violence. This point seems so self-evident that it hardly even needs justifying, but if you must see hard data before considering that you might be simply wrong, Women's Aid Ireland reported about 30,000 contacts with Irish women reporting domestic abuse in 2022. Even allowing that this is a huge undercount of the real number of victims (let's say, of a factor of 3): if 90,000 women are victims of domestic abuse in Ireland every year, there's something like 2 million adult women in Ireland. This suggests that (thankfully!) domestic abuse is something only experienced by a minority of people, between 1.5-4.5% of women in a calendar year. Even the most pessimistic feminist campaigns I've seen suggest that 1 in 4 women will experience it in their lifetime, which obviously means that 3 in 4 won't (and this 1 in 4 figure sometimes includes types of abuse for which no ambulance would be necessary). We're privileged to live in an era in which even the most passionate progressive campaigners must begrudgingly acknowledge that violence is the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps you're making an inappropriate generalisation from a social circle made up of unusually unlucky people. Perhaps your social circle is actually no more unlucky than average, and you're just fixating on the one or two unusually unlucky people it contains as a means to justify/excuse your self-pity and avoidant tendencies. If you can show me hard evidence that literally every single unattractive person who wants to be in a romantic relationship will at some point be the victim of domestic abuse severe enough to require an ambulance, I would love to see it. You won't show it to me, because we both know it doesn't exist and this is all just part of some weird mind game you're playing with yourself.

Please don't insult my intelligence by backtracking and claiming that "ambulances" can refer to something other than domestic violence. You said 'the question facing unattractive people who want to date is this: "Where do you want the ambulances?"' You can be single your whole life, never seek out a relationship with anyone, and still end up in an ambulance from a heart attack caused by your obesity.

Please don't insult my intelligence by backtracking and claiming that "ambulances" can refer to something other than domestic violence. You said 'the question facing unattractive people who want to date is this: "Where do you want the ambulances?"

The guy with the 450-pound partner and the woman married to Smokestack our engineering hero aren't facing domestic violence in relationships. The ambulances can be and often are domestic violence, but they can come from plenty of other things as well. Like congestive heart failure from supermorbid obesity. Or good old-fashioned lung cancer from a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and smoking pot like fucking Snoop Dogg.

Consider the sky high - 80 percent, by some metrics - abuse/victimization rate reported by autistic women. This is still well north of half even if you just look at autistic women with normal IQs.

More comments

Does Mark Normand look good, Jerry Seinfeld? I'm not the best judge, but they seem passable at best.

You don't really have to look that good as a guy anyways. The most sexually active guy I ever knew was fat and had what I would consider some unattractive facial features. He was a terrible listener in conversations, he was dyslexic, and he came across as very goofy and happy go-lucky. Prior to covid he was probably averaging sex with 5 different partners a week. He was a divorcee, so he could also claim to have managed to do the whole long-term relationship thing too.

The Hock doesn't sound like it is something that will impress women. It something that might impress other straight guys.

Prior to covid he was probably averaging sex with 5 different partners a week. He was a divorcee, so he could also claim to have managed to do the whole long-term relationship thing too.

How old was this entertaining character at the time?

I think around 30

Does Mark Normand look good

He looks like Jim from The Office, of course he looks good.

We must be thinking of different people.

Okay, contrarian time: The Hock is a noble endeavor. Stupid but brave. Self-destructive but benign. I think Skookum is crazy in an entirely undesirable way (IMHO his biggest problem isn't awkwardness, sexual frustration or autism, but being straight-up delusional and obsessive), but I also don't think that him doing his Hock thing is necessarily bad. It won't solve his problem and it won't get him what he wants, but if he actually goes through with it then women will not consider him one jot better than before, but I for one sure as hell will be impressed. A rare display of masculine virtue in a domesticated age. Even if it kills him. Maybe even especially if it kills him? Don't quote me on that last part, I'm not sure about it.

If he survives it, and right now it doesn't sound survivable. "Well that was dumb but I have to say I'm kinda impressed" isn't the problem here; nobody is much concerned about trying to keep everyone from ever doing anything stupid. What it sounds like is the kind of hairbrained notions that get people killed, from "I know all about bears" to all the climbers who die on Everest.

Gallant death is not wrong, but "he died because he was too stupid to live" isn't a good way to go out.

I find myself nodding along and basically agreeing, but one thing...

The Hock is a noble endeavor.

Do any of us know what the fuck this is? I kind of love that it now has mythical status, means a thing in and of itself on this board. You'd know what I meant if I said, "it's kind of my Hock" even though I literally don't know what the Hock is.

Does it even matter? It's outdoor activity in nature - I'm already on board by that point.

You support people doing any "outdoor activity in nature"? Christopher McCandless starving to death in Alaska? Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend getting eaten alive by bears? Green Boots? The Titan?

Christopher McCandless

Respect for the guy

Timothy Treadwell

Respect, but jackass got his girlfriend eaten

Green Boots


The Titan

Some respect, but also come on guys, you cut too many corners.

It's bad for those people that they died and bad for their families. But in the end, nobody forced them as far as I know. Yes going out of doors is dangerous. Yes its better to correctly judge the risks and to not do anything overly stupid and to come back alive. But there's always some danger, and there will always be some people who happen to be the bad end of some bell curve by disposition or by bad luck. Someone will die.

I fundamentally don't understand the idea of exposing yourself to extreme danger for no discernible payoff other than to satisfy your own ego. The whole thing just seems so pointless and masturbatory.

Exposing yourself to extreme risk in order to save someone else's life? Noble. Exposing yourself to extreme risk in order to expand the range of human knowledge? Admirable. Exposing yourself to extreme risk just 'cause? Why not just OD on heroin instead of going to all this trouble?

I don't get the big egos either, but wanting to be outdoors I understand. Wanting to be more outdoors to the point of ignoring potentially fatal risks I understand. So I don't actually understand Skookum, because he's crazy, but I'm not fundamentally opposed to wanting to be outdoors so bad it has an elevated risk of killing you. It certainly beats ODing on drugs.

But in the end neither of us understands his motives.

"The Hock" is a long-range wilderness hike through extremely inhospitable terrain, alone, at serious risk to one's life. Skook's plan is to hike through something like a hundred miles of Alaskan wilderness, alone, in the dead of winter, with no communications or access to emergency services if something goes wrong. His explicit plan is to either complete the hike successfully, or die in the attempt.

My take is you should give it a rest and celebrate becoming a doctor by going to the Philippines.

Look, I’ll believe you lack certain social graces through no fault of your own, that this meaningfully impacts your ability to find a romantic partner, and that this is agonizing for you. But you will soon be a doctor with US citizenship; if you want female companionship and are willing to commit there is no shortage of cultures which considers that deal the equivalent of hitting the jackpot.