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Small-Scale Question Sunday for May 5, 2024

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 are the current factions of online American leftism? I stumbled on Red Scare's podcast with Steve Sailer. I was aware of antiwoke dirtbag leftism but it was still somewhat interesting to see the audience mostly giving this an eyeroll, certainly not delighted by this guest but also certainly not calling for a cancellation. They seem to reserve their wrath for Israel, capitalism, and fat people. Where does this subreddit fit in in the political landscape?

Red Scare is merely the current version of /r/drama on Reddit.

There are some similarities, but unlike /r/redscarepod rDrama is not left-wing on economics or heavily anti-Israel.

The people on that subreddit lean towards "race realism is bullshit and people who believe it are caught in misunderstandings, but they should not be automatically canceled as evil Nazis, they are just cringeworthy, stupid, and lame". With also a rather small subset of people who think that race realism is accurate.

Generally speaking that sub tends to be at least somewhat sympathetic towards anything that mainstream liberals hate.

They are basically economic leftists who think that the culture war is a distraction from economic issues.

They disagree with social conservatism on basically everything except that they have a shared belief with social conservatives that modern leftist attitudes towards sexuality have gone a bit too far in encouraging mental issues and exploitative porn. However, they are strongly pro-LGBT and so on, they just don't think that being LGBT should distract from the fight against billionaires.

They don't think that the far right is strong enough to be worth worrying about, so they are fine with treating the far right jocularly, instead of having the sort of extreme SJW attitude of "even joking about the far-right is platforming them, anything short of calling for a crusade against the far-right is tantamount to platforming them".

What is the current prevailing Israeli opinion of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? I can sort of imagine what the steelman would be at the time, but given what we know now, does anyone still seriously defend this?

The people rallied and there was an extensive campaign by the family. Netanyahu was always opposed to these deals and had written about it. But the mob won out. Even now there are rallies about accepting any price to get hostages back, it’s just that for once more people have a desire for revenge than are willing to help the enemy to do so.

I first came across it when it was mentioned on /r/CredibleDefense in the days after October 7. I couldn't believe Israel would be so shortsighted to make such a deal because of the obvious incentives it would give to potential hostage takers with such an exchange ratio (1000+ prisoners for 1 hostage).

According to one poll a the time, 79% of Israelis supported the deal with 14% opposed so it seemed to have broad public support. Some released prisoners unsurprisingly went on to commit more attacks against Israel.

The deal was bad for Israel. Incredibly bad. It probably influenced hostage taking on October 7.

Some other tidbits:

Edit: It seems the Israeli consensus may have been driven by a high value placed on their children due to historical persecution and cultural values. I still think it was incredibly shortsighted because they saved one life to incentivise the loss of many many more in the future.

It's weird to have more than one person give you "advice" suggesting you try to become a drug dealer, right?

Are either of them offering to be your wholesaler? Or represent an organization that you can work with? It's a difficult "industry" to break into on your own without one of the above. Cannabis legalizations around the country have really hurt the prospects of the independent grower/seller in the present era. You can probably grow/sell your own mushrooms still, but its a niche market. Unless you're a regular at raves/festivals/Phish concerts you probably wont shift enough of it to be useful. Its honestly not a great time to move into this sort of thing. Opiates are are selling lot hotcakes, put prices are pretty low compared to historical levels and most of it is controlled by OC at some level. Selling stimulants to the PMC (adderol, cocaine, provigil etc) is an option, but you'll need a reliable and discreet supplier, as well as a customer base. This really isn't the sort of thing you can just decide to do. If you aren't already part of this world its very difficult to get involved at all.

You left out one of the cases, which was the other context — that is, making use of my Caltech science education, specifically my lab experience from chemistry classes, in the production of methamphetamine.

Precursors AIUI are regulated such that most viable pathways are difficult these days -- so you pretty much need to buy those from bikers (or whoever runs things in your area) and they will take an interest in the results. If you know some bikers this could still be an OK career path!

My understanding with meth, and I've been "out of the game" as it were for a little while, is that Mexican OC and their partners (the mentioned bikers) have had US meth distribution on lockdown for a while. Its manufactured semi-openly in Mexico in large amounts and smuggled in for distro with local groups.

One thing that a chemist might find lucrative nowadays are the broad range of "technically legal" drugs that have flooded the market in permissive states. I don't know a whole ton about those though, other than the local guys who set up a lab extracting the psychoactive substances from legal hemp, the various D8/D9/THC-A etc edibles and vape carts that have flooded head shops in the last decade or so.

edit - Independent meths labs were absolutely a viable enterprise for a good period of time though. I'd estimate from the early 80s through the late 00s you could make a go of it, especially if you had actual professional level skills. Tons of absolutely garbage crank got sold for decent amounts of money in the heyday. Pure meth, or "Ice" always went for a premium as most amateurs were entirely unable to make it. By the time you started hearing about clandestine labs exploding, and years before Breaking Bad debuted, it was pretty much on the way out though. Putting the cold pills behind the counter, and tracking the other possible precursors really worked. Many of the amateur labs operated entirely off of cold medicine shoplifted by addicts who were paid in finished drugs for supplying ingredients. I knew several people involved in this as many levels back in the late 90s. Its basically impossible now unless you can somehow divert from the inside. One funny anecdote (to me anyway) was that the tweekers who paid in cold medicine were referred to as Smurfs.

I suppose that's one way to be told you should try for med school, or a career as a pharmacist. Can't say dealing drugs has worked out badly for me, all said and done.

It's weird to have one person do it, let alone more than one.

Not really; girls love drug dealers.

That was, in fact, the context of one of the two cases, within the broader case that my lack of a job makes my failure to reproduce less excusable, not more, because being a welfare parasite puts me in one of the few income brackets with above replacement TFR.

Real talk- I expect the welfare parasites have above replacement TFR partly due to haredi Jews and partly due to teen pregnancy. I don't think the average man in the ghetto actually has elevated fertility; it's more likely that there's a few who commit a lot of statutory and a few groups like haredi jews or the FLDS that push welfare user TFR higher by having 6+ children each even if there's not very many of them.

That seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be. People make dumb decisions all the time. Have you ever seen one of those family court shows?

I don’t think it’s backed up by the fertility data, either, but I don’t have time to check all the income tables right now.

Depends on your circle...

NBA Star Rudy Gobert misses game 2 of playoff series against the defending champs to attend the birth of his child.

Thoughts? Yeah, the birth of one's first child is a big moment, but this is also the biggest moment of the last 20 years for his team (who gave up quite a lot to get him I might add). Apparently, he was expected to just make it back in time for tip-off, but weather delays pushed his flight back. I'd be pretty pissed if I was a Timberwolves fan tbh.

Minnesota won, so it doesn't matter. If they lost, it would be a big deal, but they won, so it's ok.

I've told my wife that I have no real desire to be in the room during the birth. It feels like the ultimate nightmare version of standing around awkwardly around pretending I'm helping the plumber.

It doesn't have to be. If you pick up the right prenatal classes there are a number of helpful things you can do. supporting her physically (depending on position), massaging her legs, feet, back (useful if she is prone to cramping), to more esoteric things like counter-pressure. Your wife may also not be in a position to advocate for her needs. Which isn't a problem if your medical/birth team are good, but its always possible you get an issue, you'll have to go to bat against.

In my case for my third child, the midwife waited too long to decide on an episiotomy and I had to tell them my wife was prone to a tear and if they didn't cut it was going to be much worse (a lesson learned from births 1 and 2).

Your call of course but I think you can plan find ways to be useful.

Somewhat related, Scottie Scheffler has been on the biggest tear golf has seen since prime Tiger; in late March/April he won four out of five tournaments in a row and narrowly missed winning the fifth - some $20ish million in winnings. All this while his wife was 8+ months pregnant; I can't find speculation as to what the precise due date was but comments from him seemed to suggest late April so now she's overdue. He is skipping the big money event this week but more to the point he was very vocal that if his wife went into labour he would step off the course mid-round. He said this also applied if he was leading in the last round of the Masters (which he won comfortably). Now it's not a team sport (besides I suppose the caddy) but the question is essentially would he potentially compromise his individual legacy as a golfer to be with his wife during labour.

I think being present for your child's birth is one of those things that is important because you really don't want them to later learn you were willingly working rather than waiting to meet them as the earliest possible moment.

If I WERE to do that, I'm sticking at least half of whatever purse I win into a trust to provide for that kid's care by way of apology.

If he’s making $20m in a month I can’t see what’s so pressing about avoiding his kid’s birth.

This is an interesting question. On one hand, were I tyrannical dictator of the universe I would ban all spectator sports, so I don’t think the playoff game is important. On the other hand, what is very important is that a man fulfill his responsibilities to his friends and supporters. So while the game itself is insignificant, the social relations on top of it are maximally significant. So the player would be in the wrong if these social relations are more important than being at the birth of your child. And now the final layer of complexity: is it actually important for a man to be in the hospital room while his wife gives birth, and is this contingent upon the significance of one’s social obligations? To the first question, history says men usually were not present during the birth of their child, except for elite families. To the second, I think yes — when more people are relying on your husband, this means a lessened or eliminated obligation to be present during childbirth. Lastly, there’s the unique situation here where the NBA player’s entire livelihood relies on playing the game, and this livelihood allows the wife and child to live amazing lives, so I think it would be wrong for the wife to complain.

Another point is that the girlfriend likely moved to Minnesota to be with him and doesn't have a strong local support network. If she had a mother, sisters, and best friends since childhood in the city it would be less of an issue.

He could fly her mom, sister, maybe a friend or two into the city to help support her?

You'd be pissed? It's just a sport. Entertainment.

My first thought was I didn't even know he was pregnant!

Seriously though, it registered as kind of weird, but a man's got a right to his priorities and I wouldn't question him either way. I'm probably always going to have a soft spot for Gobert after people gave him so much shit for joking about Covid.

Rudy did everything right.

Looking at the calendar there were no games Sunday - Friday last week. So they could have induced then or flown her out to Denver. Looks like people didn't think Gobert was critical enough to do either.

I'm not a big sports fan but I'd guess that NBA players have missed games for much less important reasons.

I'm more impressed than anything that Gobert had the wisdom as a man, father, and husband, not to suggest his wife make medical decisions based around a basketball game.

Wait till you hear about how many people in India insist their kids are delivered on auspicious dates; though since c-secs are the norm for anyone who can afford them, and those are usually done when the baby is ~mostly done baking in the oven, shifting the date about by a handful of days isn't the biggest deal in the world.

But yeah, he's got his priorities straight. Maybe it would be different if he had accumulated a million TBIs, but basketball is a comparatively civil sport.

Can anyone here who had an overall happy experience during their primary and secondary schooling comment as to what your experience was like? What type of schools did you attend? How were your relationships with your teachers and peers? How involved were your parents in your schooling?

Primary was meh, very disorganized state schools.

Secondary was excellent, went to an expensive private boys school. Nearly everyone was very clever and most were very rich, getting dropped off in Porsches or BMWs by their lawyer-doctor parents. A small fraction got in via networking and were more interested in rugby than academics. We had big exams for every subject twice a year, everyone took them quite seriously. The classes for each subject were sorted from A to F or H based on the results from the exams, there was a very clear and objective hierarchy. I think this was a great source of male motivation: competition and prestige. Latin and Ancient Greek were offered, the teachers were paid as if they were university professors (and some had been). It was like a trip to an alternate dimension, we sang patriotic hymns in assembly. At one point the sports reports were read out as (quite good) poems. At one point they brought in a leading quantum physicist to deliver a speech about their work in quantum computing, it went right over 99% of our heads, faculty included. One boy asked a pretty incisive question, he managed to understand the content.

But you could tell that corrosive modernity was digging into the heart of oak and sandstone. A lot of kids cultivated imaginary mental disorders that got them more time in the important state exams for university entry. The younger generation of teachers were much more wishy-washy and progressive. We started getting land acknowledgements and denunciations of Pizzagate where we used to get hyper-abstract philosophical speeches in Assembly. Rumours abounded that they'd try to bring in girls at some point, though I've seen no evidence that they are. There was female-teacher-on-boy sexual abuse (I got a look at the teacher, definitely not the 'I wish that was me!' physiognomy) going on 2 years above me, they snuffed that story out of the media with a lot of skill.

I got along pretty well with people. Teachers were fine but some took themselves overly seriously, like it was their solemn duty to teach us music, languages or geography we had no particular interest in. Met some great, fun, smart people with the same exotic interests as me - friends for life hopefully. Some people, myself included, got pretty arrogant when comparing ourselves to ordinary kids. Arrogance has its virtues when you are indeed right and everyone else is wrong but it also has social pitfalls.

American, fwiw, but elementary was without exaggeration the best period of my life and not a day goes by that I don't grieve its being in the ever-more-distant past. Most of the negative things I could say about the experience come from the benefit of hindsight, ex, I got away with far more than I should have, but conversely wasn't well included or socialized and was one weird hat away from being the class Luna Lovegood.

But, regarding peers, teachers, and family, and what roles they played? I am struggling to come up with a meaningful description. It wasn't until I was 11 that I actually picked up any grievances toward teachers (mostly just one cranky old math teacher who was probably just getting too old to put up with my bullcrap). The most stressful year was probably grade 4 (age 9), mostly because homework went from "I guess that counts as homework" to "when did finishing a chapter and several dozen math problems become a Herculean labor of focus?". Also I thinkt's the year my backpack ripped from all the books and papers I had to carry around.

7th-8th grades and high school ... weren't as miserable as college, but very little short of watching loved ones die has been as miserable as college, so not a high bar. Mostly, the majority of what made elementary great was replaced with having to listen to tryhard teenagers call everything gay / skanky, trying to actively resist the cultureshift resulting in getting sent off to summer camp, so I just gave up and avoided people for the rest of hs. I got into the state's math and science school for the last two years, and that was a huge improvement, though by then my sleep cycle was all out of whack and I had been able to half-ass everything to the point that I had like no study skills, so I kinda oscillated between successfully half-assing and getting destroyed until I somehow graduated on time (basically one of two non-terrible days that year), only for things to immediately get far worse thereafter.

SO basically, the polar opposite of what seems to be the norm, from the general vibes I've gotten from online discussions. Each phase was worse than its predecessor by quite a lot. It was usually because of a change in peer behavior most of all, but also me never having to learn how to try until I got to college, and discovered that absolutely nobody had the vocabulary to talk about soul-crushing akrasia or the neurological underpinnings and everyone just going on about choice and distraction and other irrelevant concepts. But mostly the alienation only started around age 12-13, kinda backed off a bit in high school, then came back with avengance when college began. Teachers were mostly fine. Parents were mostly fine. Peers were fine until they got to the age where they had to start signalling how mature they were by immaturely sexualizing absolutely everything, usually insultingly, like that would prove how totally not the thing they were saying they were.

I'm going to go imagine going back in time and yelling at 11-year-old me with all the hindsight-powered "how to be better" type wisdom I can unfairly foist onto an obnoxious 11-year-old again. 😔

Went to an Irish-language primary school, a Gaelscoil (though I've got terrible Irish these days). We went to church a lot and started every day off with a prayer. The local priest used to come in and give talks and he was very entertaining, he went off to Rome and the next priest wasn't as entertaining but was also a nice fellow. There was a big focus on music which I unfortunately didn't take advantage of so I just did the mandatory tin-whistle playing and singing (the whole class was a church choir). Sports were soccer, handball and (not competitively) rounders though almost everyone was involved in GAA outside of school, I never got the hang of a hurl so I stuck to handball. Nearly all the teachers were female, there were three very strict ones I didn't like and the rest were very friendly. For the final two years we got a male teacher and he was well liked by everyone, our rowdy stage hit around age 12 and we eventually betrayed him on the last day of school by pretending one kid was hurt and showering the teacher in water when he ran over to help.

My main trouble was not having the in-group status most of the other kids shared, I'm Irish but everyone's else's family knew and lived beside everyone else's family for decades and my parents not being locals meant I had to hang out with the Welsh kid, the Scottish kid and the slow kid from Kerry. Eventually I was told I was now part of the cool group, I made one years long friendship out of that and the others I lost contact with as they went to the Irish language secondary school.

My parents made a lot of effort to get me into different secondary schools but left the choice up to me, the school I picked had the worst reputation out of the three but the friend I mentioned was going there and it wasn't on the other side of town so I was happy to go. The new principle was quickly cleaning the place up but there was still a rowdiness among the students that we feared as first years, learned to enjoy in second year and did our best to instill into the younger students in the following years. First years would be thrown into bins, shirt pockets would be torn off and kept as trophies and we had a version of rugby that had no teams and consisted of everyone chasing and throwing rocks at whoever had the ball. Some classes had their disruptive students but as time went on the school did a decent job of separating people into honours and ordinary level classes. I remember voluntarily spending 2 weeks in the ordinary level maths class because I was pessimistic about my upcoming exam results and it's hard to see how anyone could do any learning there, luckily I actually did well on the exam and I quickly got put back into the honours class.

I guess I had an happy childhood and my schooling was fine. I went to a local primary school, close enough to home that I could walk to school every day (including walking back home for lunch). My mother was working part time while I was in primary school, so she could be home on most days for my lunch and when I came back from school. In 6th grade I had the option to take a special program of intensive english, but opted not to because I figured my english was already way above average for my age (I was close to bilingual then, thanks to exposure to english language media). For secondary school I followed in the footstep of my brother and went to an elite International Bachelorate affiliated magnet school. I did fairly well in my first year there, but after my grades went steadily down as I figured out I was able to just coast by with no effort. I stopped doing homework past what I was absolutely forced to, stopped studying for exams, barely paid attention in class. I'd read my textbooks and that's pretty much it. By the end I was barely passing. Teachers didn't seem to mind because I was passing, when they checked up on me it seemed as if I didn't need help and I wasn't bothering anyone. My parents were concerned by my grades, but again, I wasn't a problem child or teen in any way. I'd say my teachers were for the most part very competent. I always managed to find peer groups to hang out with; in the first year of high school with people coming from different cities and with fixed groups through every class, I ended up hanging out with a quite random group of people, but as things settled, I found myself hanging out with groups that were neither losers nor winners in the social hierarchy. It's important to note that due to this being a "gifted" kid school, the social hierarchy was a bit different; everyone was a form of nerd to begin with, even the "jocks".

Anyway, as that ended and I went to college, I quickly found that I was overprepared by that school for college, exams and classes that people from "normal" schools found tough in college were at a level I had already done in high school. This had a perverse effect in that it lowered the effort I was willing to put in even more, to the point where I wasn't showing up to classes any more, I was even missing exams and ended up just dropped out of college. Turned out that was a good decision, I managed to build myself a career out of the IT skills I had build in my free time, when I was supposed to be studying.

Our biographies sound eerily similar, I also took the IB, gave up on college, built a career partly out of programming. I tried harder in highschool though, and IT isn't quite what I do.

I did not enjoy my childhood, but school was at most a minor contributing factor to the suck.

I went to Catholic schools for 12 years. Education was generally very high quality, except for religion specific classes which varied from a grandma rambling about how daily mass is important to her all the way to a hippie introducing us to whatever woo and pop psychology seemed appropriate. This on more than one occasion included a guest lecture from an ancient astronaut theorist, but it more frequently was ‘sit in a circle and talk about what myers-brigs does in your faith life’. Plenty of teachers just gave a final essay(‘pick a sacrament’ ‘history lesson on X in the church’) and had us watch something unobjectionable(movies about saints were common) for half the semester, with a talk about considering the religious life sprinkled in.

My peers were a broad cross section of the population; the überreligious Catholics whose parents felt incompetent to homeschool were there, but generally eyepoppingly wealthy because tuition for that many kids ain’t cheap. There were ghetto kids recruited for sports, but most people were normal suburbanites who probably went to church but expected not to worry about it until next Sunday. I don’t recall bullying being a serious issue; certainly I heard about a case or two of it, but I never saw any. Rules were general enforced very strictly and behavior tended to be just a bit better as a result.

My parents were very involved in my schooling, and no other part of my life. Until I had a nervous breakdown resulting in hospitalization my senior year, my mother woke me up every night to scream about the need for higher grades. What my grades actually were did not affect this except for the possibility of them being used as evidence.

I attended public schools in wealthy districts, then a magnet school whose admissions policies are occasionally a matter of public controversy (yes, that one). My high school classmates were without a doubt the smartest people I've ever met, and I say this after having spent years around STEM graduates of elite universities. There was no shortage of advanced coursework to keep us nerds from getting bored, and we were given more freedom than we would have had at a typical school e.g. we could eat lunch anywhere, including off-campus, free periods were provided during the day for clubs and activities, and an independent research project was expected of all students. The teachers were generally competent and reasonable, and a decent fraction of them had PhD's in scientific disciplines.

When I was there the demographics were about 50/50 white/Jewish and south/east Asian, with every other group a rounding error. There was a clear divide between kids with tiger parents who had been pressured into attending and those like me who wanted to be there and whose parents were comparatively uninvolved, with the former having an overall negative experience and the latter loving it. I did not witness a single fight throughout my schooling, which I think would come as a shock to older generations or people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Some kids drank or did drugs (weed and LSD, mostly) but my friends and I were squares even by that school's standards, so I don't know the details. Everyone in my graduating class went to college, so even kids whose parents weren't able to help much with the application process obtained the requisite knowledge from their teachers or peers.

a magnet school whose admissions policies are occasionally a matter of public controversy


(yes, that one)

Got it, thanks.

Are you saying it is typical in the US to restrict where students can eat lunch?

So typical that reading this comment made me go "wait, it's not like that in Europe?" For a country whose selling point has supposedly always been freedom, I had so little that, when that technically changed after high school, it was like one of those wild animals bred in captivity with no concept of how to live in the wild. The most freedom I got was on that one high school band trip to Universal Studios Orlando, in which I was the goody two-shoes stopping my 16-17 year-old companions from trying to order alcohol from a restaurant that seemed more than willing to believe that the tall guy in the group was actually 21.

... Wait, what freedoms do I have that Europeans lack? I guess I could get a weapon if I wanted?

I'm Canadian and grew up in the central part of a mid-sized city. Only my high school had a cafeteria and I was far enough that I while I walked to school, I didn't have enough time to walk home, eat lunch, and walk back. So I would either eat a packed lunch or go somewhere else for lunch. Some people took the bus, but I think the vast majority walked, especially in elementary and junior high when people lived a closer on average. There were probably some cases, but I don't remember anyone being driven to school by their parents.

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the concept of not being allowed to leave at lunchtime. Did this apply to the students who lived near the school? How do they even stop you or know what you're doing? What is even the point of this? Why do they care where you eat lunch?

I think the best freedom you have that I lack as a Canadian is the freedom to live in any climate. Our choices are between cold and extremely cold.

Not only is the idea of students leaving for lunch unheard of, but using devices was strictly limited until I got to high school. It was a revelation actually being able to use my iPod at lunchtime when I entered high school. Maybe it's different now.

And once you were old enough to drive, you could technically schedule your classes with free periods at least in my area and leave during those, although it's strongly discouraged to leave gaps in the schedule. In my senior year of high school I had a free period in the morning and got to sleep in part of the week, which was heaven for a night owl like me.

Public schools are incredibly liability-averse and letting kids loose just isn't in their vocabulary. The US values freedom, but is terrified about children's safety to the point of neurosis. To some extent this reflects the safety profile of the US being different than Europe, to some extent it reflects the lower density and car-dependence of the US, to some extent it reflects our tortious legal system, but to a great extent I think it just reflects the neurotic substrate within American society.

How do they even stop you or know what you're doing?

Once the school day starts, almost no one is allowed in or out except in specific circumstances and those who are allowed have to be screened. In that way, schools are kind of run like airports.

Why do they care where you eat lunch?

They care because between the hours of 7am and 3pm, they're responsible for your welfare and if they let you leave and something happens to you, there might be civil or criminal liability. Parents would also be pissed, because the primary function of public schooling isn't education but daycare.

There's also the fact that if they let you out they'd also have to let you back in, and that opens a whole can of worms about random people strolling into the school or setting up a huge infrastructure to screen students returning from lunch.

Canada is a less litigious country than the US, and awards for successful lawsuits are much smaller and often capped by law. But there are still a lot of rules due to people being afraid of liability. But my high school's solution to that was that you were not allowed to hang around the school when you weren't in class. You were free to leave the property though and once you did, they were not responsible for anything that happened.

By the way, 7am? Wtf? Our school started at around 8:30 (in high school) or 9?

What do you mean when you say they screened people going in like an airport? Is there some kind of security or someone watching the door? We had nothing like that in high school. You could come and go freely and no one was tracking who was in the building. In elementary school, it was a little different, in that you'd line up once the bell rang and the teacher would escort you in, and then once inside, they'd take attendance.

You can own a weapon. Attitudes towards recreational drug use are far more liberal. You have less concern over police brutality and the justice system needs a warrant to surveil you. You have far greater freedom of speech. You can hire and fire notionally who you please, and it’s easier to get a job because of it too. Religious freedom laws are much more comprehensive. If you are a parent, you are allowed much more latitude in deciding what is best for your child, even if not in agreement with the government.

Yes, at most public schools in my area you would be restricted to the cafeteria except as a special privilege awarded to certain classes or individuals. Another notable fact about my school was that students could leave class without a hall pass to go to the bathroom and would not be met with instant suspicion if spotted walking in the hallway, something that was touted as a major selling point during our orientation. I understand that to Europeans this all sounds horribly dystopian and to Asians this sounds like a marvel of liberty and independence.

In the US public schools I attended, we were restricted to eating lunch in the cafeteria. We were only granted liberty to leave the campus for lunch during our senior year. In suburban/rural districts most students are bussed and walking home and back within a 45 minute period isn't practicable (and at many schools, walking isn't an option at all).

OK, at every school I attended in Canada, it would have been unusual for a student not to walk to school. There must be some students that live nearby and walk though. Are they forced to eat at school?

In my primary school a minority of students walked to school. None were permitted to leave school during the day and all ate in the cafeteria during lunch. In senior high it was a similar situation to primary and only 12th Graders were permitted to leave. At my middle school no one was permitted to walk as the school was only accessible via a road with heavy traffic traveling at 45mph+.

That's so strange. Why would they design it that way? Is the school not in a residential neighbourhood?

No, it is in the middle of what used to be a cow pasture (and was still surrounded by it when I went there). The school (built on a 60+ acre property in the '70s) is centralized to serve a group of exurban communities to ensure kids don't have a long commute time.

I believe that the idea is that rather than trying to draw a boundary between who is or isn't allowed to leave based on where they live, a blanket policy is applied to everyone.

The other aspect here is one of liability. I'm not sure how legally liable the school would be for anything that would happen to a student who is allowed to leave the school during the school day, but it would probably be bad optics for the school if a student got injured/arrested/pregnant during school hours because they were allowed to leave the school grounds unsupervised, so "even students who could physically go home for lunch aren't allowed to leave" is probably considered a feature rather than a bug.

This doesn't make sense to me. The school isn't responsible for what happens to the students after school or on the weekends. Why would it be any different at lunchtime?

I'd say that the difference would that lunchtime is a small break during a time in which the school is otherwise responsible for the students, as opposed to the weekends and after school.

What type of school did you attend?

A private hippie school, then prep school. Somewhere people who grew up in Manhattan private school circles would have heard of, but not like Dalton or Trinity. My school was coed; both my brother and sister went to single-sex schools, for no particular reason.

Some people are interested in demographics. The school was perhaps 5% black, 5% visibly Latino (hard to tell, could have been more), 30% Asian (two thirds east, one third south, a couple of southeast here and there) and 60% white, including Arabs. Of the whites, maybe half were Jewish or half-Jewish and most of the rest were Italian, mixed-white (like, Brazilian mom, Swiss dad, or blonde mom from the Midwest and Italian dad, that kind of thing). Perhaps 10% of the student body, maybe a little less, were the predominantly but not entirely white kids of European or Canadian expats in NYC. I had more Catholic background friends from before prep school and from our local neighbourhood, but wealthy people who have those backgrounds in NYC tended, in my experience, to prefer to send their children to the Catholic private schools even though they were personally largely secular (I don’t think any remained or became religious). There were some WASPs of the regatta sort, but not many; again in my experience most of the very old family WASPish people I grew up around knew what schools they were sending their kids to from birth, and it wasn’t ours. A lot of those people I knew as a kid went to tier-1 schools or to boarding school.

The school was relatively academic. Probably not as much as my dad would have liked. College admissions stats were mostly impressive except for the occasional off year, but again more like tier-2 than tier-1 of Manhattan prep schools. Because the demographics of the school were less old money than some other Manhattan prep schools there was less of an Ivy at all costs bias for the smartest kids, so people went all over the country, except for those of us who stayed in the city, of course. There were some super rich kids, and some poorer kids (in truth middle class), but most parents were upper middle class by general standards, including mine for the majority of my time there until maybe the last year.

How were your relationships with teachers and peers?

Pretty good. Friend groups formed at fell apart pretty quickly. As in every school there were social hierarchies, but bullying was relatively rare and the school was very tough on it when it happened. I remember my teachers being nice, kind people who with a few exceptions mostly cared. Classes were always full of a lot of intellectual debate among the ~30% of people who cared. We had many clubs and activities, ran mock presidential debates and elections, played sports semi-locally, boring normal high school stuff. I was extremely successful in one activity, participated in a few others. If you wanted to do something weird or different that few or no other kids did they would help you find whatever league/organization/etc you needed in the city, or would have a relationship with other prep schools where you could do it.

The salacious stuff happened, people (a small minority of people) started doing coke in school bathrooms when we were maybe 14 or 15, threw huge parties when their parents were away on weeknights, sometimes stuff would go down and the teachers would try to figure out what happened. The Euro expats were always the most into that because their parents often seemed to leave them for long periods.

I started high school at the zenith of Gossip Girl’s popularity, and while that was based loosely on Brearley/Collegiate there were definitely a lot of people at our school who felt that should be their life and wanted to LARP as if it was. The reality was much more lame since the vast majority of us really did have parents who cared, but there were moments that stick with me like an indoor pool party where we probably drank $50,000 of someone’s parents’ vintage champagne, finding (bad) clubs only happy to let dumb rich kids in to spend thousands of dollars on bottle service with suspicious fake IDs and so on.

Sexually it was pretty prudish for a liberal elite school. I wonder if this was already zillennial sexual conservatism beginning in earnest but I remember my ex-hippie parents being mildly surprised that all three of their children waited until they were in long term relationships in their senior year or in college. (Yes, this was a topic of conversation in our household; if you’ve ever watched Easy A, my parents are Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson in that movie, they watched it and agree.) There were a couple of hot teachers in their twenties who were known for hitting up former female students after they graduated, I remember that not seeming a big deal to me at the time, but again it didn’t happen to anyone in my social circle.

How involved were your parents?

Not hugely involved? They came to parent teacher meetings two or three times a year (whenever they happened). They had an additional meeting when I started applying to college, then one more that also had me in it. That was pretty much it. There were some helicopter moms who could be found in the lobby every other day waiting to speak to one teacher or another, but I don’t think it did them much good.

I wish my parents had been slightly more involved because I was very shy and unconfident but could probably have made a valiant-if-unlikely attempt at HYPS (never applied) if really pushed, but I got into a very good college anyway and it hasn’t damaged my life in any way.

I would say I had an overall "happy" experience, but not necessarily one that was good for me or prepared me very well for college/life.

I grew up in a rust-belt exurb of about 20k people in the 80s/90s. The economy of the area was more of less fully gutted by the time I started school. There were very few issues with class distinctions as the families in the area ranged from working class to extremely poor. There were a handful of what would now be considered lower middle-class kids: this children of accountants or managers of some sort. Anyone who could at all afford it sent their kids to private school 15 miles away, or just moved. The town is presently at about 7k population, from a high of 35k in 1950. There are entirely residential blocks that once had 15-25 houses on either side that now have 5-10, and sometimes none, with brown-fields where there houses used to be. In the last decade they've managed to plant grass and make decent fields out of them that the residents can use for various recreational activities. Things probably reached rock bottom around 1994 or so, its actually a lot nicer now than when I lived there. Clever local politicians managed to secure a good amount of money from the state and feds in the late 90s through various schemes. Recently boomers from all over the country have started to retire there, its on the coast of a Great Lake where they are building retirement mansions, the cost of living is very low, and its 99% white with virtually no Jews. I mention this last point as its been surfaced by the retirees I've spoken to about why they chose to move there, repeatedly, without prompting.

The school district itself was dirt poor. In retrospect this is at least part of what made the experience not so bad; low expectations. There was almost never any homework b/c we couldn't afford to take the books out of the classroom and many times two kids would have to share a single text book while in class. Most of the types of study that are now assigned as homework we just did during normal class hours, as soon as the bell rang at the end of the day were were free. The material was very basic reading/writing/math based stuff up through 8th grade. There was no real tracking or dividing of the kids by ability at all; everyone had the exact same experiences. Dividing the kids started in highschool with a few options for more advanced math and science. I first heard the term "Advanced Placement" as a freshman in college.

There was no art until 9th grade and students families needed to pay for all the supplies. Music, being band and choir, started in 6th grade at the middle school and the costs were the same as how it worked in art class, which the exception of a number of left over instruments donated by the parents of previous generations in various states of repair. I was very involved in the band from the beginning and was the part I enjoyed the most. At no level anywhere could the district afford anything like shop or home-ec classes. There were a grand total of 2 busses that only collected the kids that lived very far away. I walked about 3 miles to middle school, which was on the edge of town at the time. It was actually a blast; since almost all the kids had to walk there it became a horde of kids all walking together by the time we arrived. I'd wait at the end of my block of the growing mass of students to pass by every morning and fall into line with them. They same thing happened in reverse at the end of the day. This actually caused problems for the town at large to have 150+ 11-13 year olds suddenly unleashed on the town at 3pm every weekday. A police car often shadowed the horde of kids at a distance both coming and going. We had a blast. There was a county wide vocational school option starting in 10th grade for kids who wanted to go in to the trades. The HS sports teams were funded almost entirely by parents and local businesses pooling money.

How were your relationships with your teachers and peers? Not too bad tbh. We'd occasionally get kids who transferred in, or out, who would comment about how there weren't really any cliques in the school. In reality there were two groups with almost no interaction. Roughly 85% of the kids had parent(s) that worked, provided a modest but stable home life, and had roughly similar material conditions. These kids all more of less got along. The remainder were the extremely poor kids who's families were associated with generational welfare/benefits collection. They didn't work and didn't want to. Their kids tended to drop out as soon as they could, some went to the vocational school. They got teenage pregnant more frequently and often expelled for various reasons. These kids were often the grandchildren of people who had migrated north from Appalachia and the US south after WWII for industrial work that was quickly to vanish. They tended to have Irish and Scotts-Irish last names, where the rest of the town were the descendants of German, Italian, English, Northern and Eastern European immigrants from before WWI. So many people were on various forms of gov't assistance that the 1st of the month was basically a local holiday.

I got along with my teachers mostly because I didn't cause problems. If your grades were acceptable, you passed the very low bar of standardized testing, and you didn't make trouble you were generally left alone to goof off after your work was done. I actually did "misbehave" a great deal as a teenager, but was, and still am, extremely careful and circumspect about it. My misdeeds, as they were, always started with how I planned to get away with it.

How involved were your parents in your schooling? As little as possible. I was raised by an alcoholic, mentally ill single mother. Her own problems were so overwhelming to her she had very little mental capacity to be a positive influence on the lives of her children. Once I learned how to reliably stop getting in trouble she had nothing to do with the school anymore. The last time she went to a parent/teacher event or any sort of school function or open house was probably when I was 10. I got straight As from 9th grade one, and was obviously smarter than basically all the adults in my life by 16 or so, which went a long way in this regard. She skipped by graduation so she could sleep in.

I mention this last point as its been surfaced by the retirees I've spoken to about why they chose to move there, repeatedly, without prompting.

Surely there are ‘virtually no Jews’ in the vast majority of the US. What were their negative experiences with Jewish people if you asked?

"Jews" tends to be a proxy for big city businessmen with no connection to the community. A lot of scams and white collar crimes take time to prosecute. Someone from the city can swoop in, do negative things, and be gone before they be stopped or prosecuted. Small town lawyers find themselves having to move against a legal entity that was dissolved before they could make their case.

They never really elaborated, beyond "how nice" it was. Of note however many of them were moving from either Florida or the greater NYC area. I only mentioned it because of how often I've heard it after asking, somewhat incredulously at first "why would you chose to retire here of all places?" I usually stopped talking to them after something like this to be honest. My wife's family is Jewish and I'm not really interested in that line of conversation.

I went to Montessori school, and then a regular local public school. I don't know if it was that the Montessori style complemented my natural inclinations or formed some of them, but I was always an independent student. Also weird in a variety of ways, and I think my parents gave up on curbing my eccentricities pretty early (and my teachers were all very accepting). I would have been miserable or rebellious if that wasn't the case, I'm sure. But in terms of school and learning I was always interested and curious, and naturally did well (which is what every parent hopes for, but is entirely unhelpful as advice).

I went to the local grade school by foot every day, and came home for lunch for most of my early school years. It felt like school was just an extension of my backyard. That changed in middle school, which was reached by bus. The only extracaricular activity I was ever part of was band in middle school, and the teacher was great. Most of the teachers I had were good, and a handful were very formatice and memorable. My parents did not push any interests on me and supported my interests when they arose.

My mom went to the local high school as a kid and hated it, and it was known for being even rougher by the time I was set to go. I applied to a few different special programs in the area and ended up going to an arts program a bit further away. The extra expenses (bus transport and material fees) were paid by my parents.

It was a regular local high school for some people, and you could see the difference in investment between students who chose to be there versus the students who were local. The teachers were exceptional, but I think students wanting to be there made their jobs easy. I'm confident that I was much happier going to that school than I would have been at the local school. As you can imagine the music, theatre and art kids in highschool were a pretty open minded crowd. I never felt weird or ostracized, and I was able to focus on learning and making friends. The horror stories from other high schools (fights, bullying, drugs) weren't really an issue at mine.

Thank you for sharing. I have a jaded view of arts magnet schools because my wife attended one where she experienced bullying and a generally poisonous atmosphere. It seemed like each student wanted to undermine the others. It's reassuring to know that this isn't always the case.

I would say I did. I went to public school in Canada in what was considered the sort of "mid-upper class" suburb outside of a more major city. High school had a population of about 400 people, can't really remember what the size of Jr High or Elementary was. I would say that I got along with all of my teachers - there was one teacher who wore her politics on her sleeve and I do remember butting heads against her quite a bit, but there was another one who was a very vocal avowed feminist type but was also really really good, very fond memories. I guess she always kind of had a self deprecating vibe about the whole thing which made it kind of fun.

I would not consider myself as a "popular" kid, but I was definitely "well liked", I could generally be friendly and interact with most if not all of the various cliques without trouble. I do not think that I was ever bullied - despite being by far the shortest person of my age category, I was able to lean into it and have enough confidence that if that was happening, I just didn't register it.

My parents were deeply involved in my schooling, the expectation was 80% minimum grades. If my grades started to slip then it was discussion about what we could do, did I need a tutor? one on one time with the teacher? did I need to remove any extracurriculars? I don't think I would have had the grades I did if they weren't as involved. I also had the opportunity to be in various musical theater productions, including playing the lead in a school musical which played at the local town 500 seat theater, which was a treasured experience I'm glad I got to have.

I recall a blogpost on how most people's views on X issue aren't hard-set but contingent on how much of society is pro-X vs. anti-X, and how for certain shapes of the "what percentile of pro-X is needed to flip a given percentile of people to pro-X" curve this can lead to large, rapid changes in societal attitudes.

The blogger I've read the most of is Scott, of course; I'm pretty sure this post predates ACX, and I've searched SSC quite thoroughly for words I think might have been in it. Might have been from squid314; searching that is really hard and tiresome, so I haven't yet done it. Could also have been from someone else, probably in the Ratsphere. So I'm asking to see if anyone knows offhand the post I'm talking about, so as to save myself the trouble of digging through Actual Everything I Might Have At Some Point Read. Even knowing where to look would help a lot.

Given the timeframe you're looking at, it's probably not this ACX article, "Give Up Seventy Percent Of The Way Through The Hyperstitious Slur Cascade", but that has a link to "Respectability Cascades", which might be it?

I found "Respectability Cascades" in my initial searching (as I said, I searched SSC quite thoroughly), but that's not it. And indeed, it's not "Seventy Percent".

Respectability cascade was the one I thought he might be talking about, but I couldn't remember the name, thanks.

This probably isn't the exact post that you were looking for, but I think you will find it interesting and related to what you asked about. It is about how people's views on X becomes distorted by taboos and shift when the taboo is lifted.

[Social Dark Matter is] anything that people are strongly incentivized to hide from each other, and which therefore appears to be rare. And given that our society disapproves-of and disincentivizes a wide variety of things, there is a lot of it out there.

By the Law of Prevalence, any given type of social dark matter is going to be much more common than your evidence would suggest, and by the Law of Extremity, instances of that dark matter are going to tend to be much less extreme than you would naively guess.

No, it's not what I'm looking for. As I said to KingOfTheBailey, I'm not looking for "lots of people were already pro-X, but were hiding until it became cool". I'm looking for "people actually became pro-X when it became cool".

Of course, it is easy to mistake one for the other, in either direction, and this may become emotionally charged because most people don't want to admit (even to themselves) that they're part of the latter.

Thanks for trying, though.

I've heard this called a "preference cascade", and I think I first heard it on the Timur Kuran episode of The Portal podcast.

Searching up that term suggests that it's about people hiding their pro-X views until they feel pro-X is safe enough to say. This doesn't seem to be the same phenomenon as the more troubling one I'm talking about, where people actually aren't pro-X until being pro-X seems popular enough.

True. California, for example, was actually against gay marriage in 2008 when they had a secret ballot vote to make it illegal statewide.

People's actual opinions changed rapidly, not just their stated opinions.

May have been increased turnout from a specific demographic group that were supporting Obama.

I am back from my digital Lent. What have I missed? Have any regulars been permabanned while I was away?

Hlynka got permabanned.

Here's the permabanned list.

I think Ahh French was banned for a few days, and FarNearEverywhere was banned but is back? I am not sure. Apparently someone named boo was banned forever. Capital Room was also banned but is back. I do not keep track of this but there it is in the moderation log. (I assume everyone can access this, as I can by going to the Changelog and tabbing over.)

@FarNearEverywhere isn’t technically banned right now but she set her account to private. I think she’s chosen to leave of her own accord.

IIRC there was a (bad) tempban that may have led her to conclude that the place is beyond hope.

I think that the ban was perfectly reasonable. When a moderator says "hey cut that shit out", "no I won't" is not an acceptable response. It's fine to argue why you think the mod's decision is in error, but to flatly refuse to abide by the decision crosses a line.

Whatever man -- that's the reason, and she's not wrong. "Turn up the heat" is an interesting approach to dealing with evaporative cooling -- if there were a (metaphorical) retort somewhere capturing all of the quality people who've had enough around here, it's getting to the point where that would be a better place to hang out.

On the one hand, I think you raise valid concerns that are worth considering. On the other hand, people have been saying "pretty soon you'll have banned all the interesting posters" since like, 2020. And I think this place is still doing pretty ok.

Looking at the list of people who have been permabanned on the new site, the only posters on there who I consider to be serious losses are Hlynka, fuckduck, and we can add FarNearEverywhere on a technicality until she decides to come back. So that's not a huge list. Most of the accounts that get permabanned are literal trolls or spam accounts.

With all due respect, "I do what I want" is not a viable approach to building a quality space. FNE was given a warning, not a ban straight off (presumably because she is a good poster and it wasn't a serious infraction), and that's all that it needed to ever be. It was because she chose to escalate things that she got banned temporarily, and it was perfectly reasonable.

With all due respect, "I do what I want" is not a viable approach to building a quality space.

You are focussing on this part because the initial warning was indefensible -- the content was polite, just that the other poster didn't like it. She should absolutely continue 'doing what she wants' -- the mods are not gods.

But it is a private space owned by Zorba. This isn't a democracy. If you don't behave the way the owner likes, then you can either knuckle under, leave or continue to disobey until they kick you out permanently.

You don't get to do what you want in someone elses house. That is basic etiquette, whether you agree with their rules or not.

More comments

I'm focusing on this part because it's the part which matters. Reasonable people may disagree on whether the initial warning was right, and if FNE had chosen to politely argue that she wasn't in the wrong then all would be well. I think that the initial warning was a bit harsh, though I think "indefensible" is far too strong a claim. But the way you take up your cause with the mods matters a great deal, and nobody gets to just go "nah I'm not listening to you". That's not ok.

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She's left in the past and come back. Hopefully she comes back again, she is someone I really enjoy hearing from.

I hope she returns. I prefer being part of a discussion where at least a few women are involved, and I often admire her posts and writing flair. Thx for the info

I agree. She’s welcome to return at any time, but I imagine she might be too proud for that. If she doesn’t return, it’ll be a deep loss to the forum.

Does anyone here know is going on with NixOS? There seems to be a new round of explosions and fresh community drama of some kind.

How does a project stop these people from getting a toehold and leveraging that into a takeover?

Take their names away. You could try enforcing uniqueness across the public-facing Internet (it won't stop organization in private channels, but because visible attention-whoring is the driver of this damage, this will make it inconvenient).
For owners and higher-ups, use a unique username that's divorced from your other identities.
Off-topic chat is banned from the project's mailing list.

This is 4chan 101 stuff. The problem with it is that it requires foresight and isn't obvious to people who don't understand why those measures are necessary, which people who tend to post about more interesting things clearly underestimate.

No clue. Attempts to formalize and distribute governance haven't even been great at stopping progressive organizations from being skin-suited from the inside; in neutral ones, they've been largely been explicit targets.

In terms of success stories, you've basically got SQLite. Which probably has had some effect -- it operates in a nexus of spaces where both liberal and leftist interests often drive focus. But I'm not sure it would work for many other projects.

Here is a link to coverage of this topic on Linux Weekly News:

Incidentally one of the few publications I pay for subscribing, because coverage is generally thoughtful and informative

Similar topic, I still have absolutely no clue what all the rust drama of some time ago was about. It’s just endless word salad and nobody says openly what the hell is it that they are upset about. It reminds me of when girl factions in the middle school would have public fights overs Facebook and none of the boys would have absolutely no clue what was being fought over

It's... had a lot of governance Issues for a long time, and there's the normal coastal politics (did you know NixCon had Anduril sponsorships, the sridhar ban). I don't grok the entire point of the Nix project, but from what I've seen via shlevy on twitter, the NixOS governance has been kinda the center of a turf war since ~2021 (with the first community team rfc, not enacted).

A lot of recent heat seems to be downstream of Eelco, the original dev, officially stepping down and handing control over to the Foundation Board. He's not been active much for a while, but the community was largely willing to overlook a lot of moderation and management decisions running very much by the seat of everyone's pants, under the auspices that he'd be kinda overlooking things. In theory, there's supposed to be constitutional convention and a foundation board meeting and a whole bunch of stuff about distribution of power and oversight, but in practice, there's not really much clear way for anything to happen beyond the Foundation writing whatever policies it thinks will be popular in California -- see the sponsorship policy snafu, and specifically how the forum auto-locked the discussion and moderators forbid opening new threads on it (and the thread OP was tempbanned for being a putz).

But the recent snafu is about more generally around the ethos that:

But I am exhausted to live in a world, in a society and to imagine that I live in a community where questions like “why should we introduce the political opinion to make empathy mandatory or inclusive language” can be read, this is seriously disturbing.

There's a code of conduct in place, people want it expanded significantly, and that people are allowed to question it are evidence that it should have been expanded years ago, if not evidence of governance failures or destructive to the reputation of the community; sprinkle in some mentions of sealioning and concern trolling, and you're done.

Even after looking at that, I still don't understand what the drama is about. People are "running for the fire exits" and abandoning usage of a piece of software because the author wrote a tone-deaf letter? A well-drafted and professional communication disqualifies someone from running a birthday party? Every time I see info about this drama I feel like I understand it even less. No one seems to want to actually accuse anyone of anything, except being "insensitive." And I don't know what that means, that's such a broad term it could include repeated and personal bullying or saying an unpopular belief. And whenever specific conduct is discussed, it sounds more like indifference than malice to me.

I still have no idea what's going on and I'm continually bemused at people who make such an identity out of their software that they'd abandon such a useful concept because a major author isn't maximally on their side. As someone who understands why people like Nix but has never cared for evangelists talking about the tech of the future, I'm slightly bemused that this was apparently all it took for some people to abandon The Future Of Linux. I mean, I love Linux too guys, but can everyone just get a life?

Yeah, it's strange. I got curious, so I decided to poke around in some of the links gattsuru provided. There's talk about toxic governance, but very few specifics. And I've seen stuff like that, and I know it can be hard to make a truthful list that would convince an outsider. But still, it feels weak, a lot of words talking around issues, from people who can't or won't come to a point.

One part, about banning one person (JR), seemed to be a controversy over whether a defense contractor (Anduril) should be allowed to sponsor the project, with the losing faction being "NATO defense contractors are what prevent Russia from conquering Ukraine and the rest of the world", and the winning faction being "defense contractors kill people and are icky and we don't want their name near us" (various positions were put forth, but I can't come up with a coherent charitable interpretation). One thing that jumped out was that the mere fact of his applying to become a Board observer was treated as a problem. And what really got my attention were the comments by people speaking in support of him that were "flagged by the community and temporarily hidden".

That led back to this earlier thread (also linked to by gattsuru) where JR was opposed to reserving a board seat for a woman. The conversation went as expected, these days: he's out of step with the progressive majority.

And those led to this Reddit post, where JR says goodbye in a fairly professional manner:

But the Reddit comments had links to a bunch of stuff, including this (somewhat overheated) explanation, which is solidly culture war, and which apparently got the authors banned immediately:

And then this bit of aftermath, again mostly notable for the attitude of the moderators and the content of the flagged comments:

I still can't figure out what side of the culture war the people fleeing the project are on, and that's probably intentional.

One part, about banning one person (JR), seemed to be a controversy over whether a defense contractor (Anduril) should be allowed to sponsor the project, with the losing faction being "NATO defense contractors are what prevent Russia from conquering Ukraine and the rest of the world", and the winning faction being "defense contractors kill people and are icky and we don't want their name near us" (various positions were put forth, but I can't come up with a coherent charitable interpretation)

The charitable steelman is that Anduril's products flirt increasingly closely with autonomous weapons, and the extent humans are in the loop (for autonomous weapons made by other people) has at best diffused responsibility regarding validity of target selection, and more practically put to a point where oversight and responsibility aren't enforceable. The... less charitable bit is that, like Palantir, the (surveillance) equipment and technology is also used by ICE and police, and a lot of Nix tech could be and/or could be driven to be very useful for that equipment and technology. The even less charitable one is that, while Palmer Luckey isn't as No Go politics-wise as Peter Thiel, it's known, in ways that kept people from supporting him.

And what really got my attention were the comments by people speaking in support of him that were "flagged by the community and temporarily hidden".

Yeah. On one hand, that's a Discourse (the forum software designed by CodingHorror's lead) default behavior, and one reason (among many) I'm glad that Zorba didn't base this forum off Discourse. On the other hand, the moderation team can override it, or allow successor threads, and didn't.

I still can't figure out what side of the culture war the people fleeing the project are on, and that's probably intentional.

Dunno. There's at least some text from big names in the github from the TotsNotBlueTriberJustUsingTheirAssumptions, and not much explicit red triber, but that doesn't exclude the porque no los dos.

There's at least some text from big names in the github from the TotsNotBlueTriberJustUsingTheirAssumptions, and not much explicit red triber, but that doesn't exclude the porque no los dos.

I was vaguely assuming that the Red tribe didn't want to paint targets on themselves, that this particular clan of the Blue tribe is addicted to their word-salad obfuscatory approach, and that the Grey tribe is genuinely upset about the corruption of the process. (For versions of R/B/G that are closer to conservative/leftist/liberal.)

For whatever reason, most of them seemed to feel it in their interests to frame the conflict as about moderation policies and formal structure. The quote about hypocrisy being "the tribute that vice pays to virtue" came to mind when forcing my way through some of the tortured language used by the mod team and their supporters. Also something Tolkien said about evil not being able to create, only twist.

I'm guessing this will mostly blow over, a relatively small number of contributors and slightly larger number of users will leave, whether publicly or silently. I suspect people on both the left and right will do this, thr left being louder and the right being quieter. Then the project will continue, but with less enthusiasm from evangelists.

The technology has a lot going for it (hence why Anduril wants to use it!) and it'll probably move more into a "used as a tool professionally" space rather than a "get excited about it personally and make it part of your identity" space. I'm not sure any side of their community, such as it is, trusts anyone else. The community will die but I'm guessing the technology will live on.

a defense contractor (Anduril)

Which is weird, because Anduril makes small drones that defensively destroy incoming attacking drones by flying into them. They make actual defensive drones. They don't make Predator or Reaper style drones that are full sized planed that "drone" people with missiles.

That is Anduril's current portfolio, but they were recently one of the companies selected to continue (along with General Atomics, the makers of Predator and Reaper) development of an aircraft for the CCA program, which is most certainly a more traditional defence product.

So, what are you reading?

I’m still on Mises’ Human Action. Also going through Gregory’s The Seven Laws of Teaching which appears to have had an influence on the classical education movement.

Still working my way through Life Worth Living. I keep finding myself pausing to note down various choice quotes. And I definitely appreciate the authors' clear disdain for Bentham.

Here's what I have read during my digital Lent. The list is shorter than I wanted, because around week 3 I had to jump in and spend my evenings saving one of my teams, which left me too tired and wired to enjoy reading.

  • Where the Water Goes : Life and Death Along the Colorado River, by David Owen, +2, but the Colorado is my favorite river, so I am biased. The book traces the river from its source to its former delta, exploring the history of how its water has been used since the first settlers appeared in its basin. One recurring theme that is relevant to rationalism is that efficiency should never be the only goal: when you have X consumers (acres of farmland or suburban lots) consuming Y water each, if you simply teach/force them to consume Y/2 water, the number of consumers will double. You'll still have X*Y total consumption, but now your system has no slack: you used to be able to force your consumers to scale back their consumption temporarily, but now they use as little water as possible already.
  • True Names, by later Vernor Vinge, +2. The news of his death defined my immediate reading list. I had already read the Zones of Thought books (I recommend A Deepness in the Sky) and Rainbows End a decade ago, so I decided to read the rest of his most popular books. True Names is a novella, so you can easily finish it in an evening. It's one of these sci-fi classics that are truly timeless, I didn't feel it was written in 1980 at all.
  • The Peace War, by Vernor Vinge, 0. It starts a bit like a Philip K. Dick's novel, but it's mostly the setting. Then it becomes The Book of the Long Sun: sufficiently entertaining that you don't feel like you've wasted your time and want to see how the story ends, but not something that stands out. The biggest science-fiction concept is treated more like a magic spell, and the characters are cardboard-like. Lots of mystery boxes, some of which are opened by the narrator between the scenes.
  • Across Realtime, by Vernor Vinge, 1. It's the sequel to the previous book, but a different one, The Book of the Short Sun to the Long predecessor: a smaller-scale and more personal story. Not very much so, Vinge loves thinking about planet-sized issues too much to write one. At one point I felt like I've read the same story beats somewhere before, and turns out I was right, it was actually Vinge's Children of the Sky.
  • Creatures of Thought, the Age of Steam, +2. An ongoing series of blog posts that explores the history of steam power, from Newcomen's pump to, presumably, the phasing out of everything except power stations after the WWII. It's not the only one online. I remember reading a different one that went deeper into the steelmaking aspect of the industrial revolution as well (no link, sorry), but this is one more extensive and good. The author still hasn't convinced me that Isambard Kingdom Brunel is worthy of the attention he's usually given. The only thing I would want from this series is more maps. It's not a big hassle to switch to another tab and find where Featherstone-upon-Hawthing (pronounced "fisting") is, but it gets old quickly.
  • Bits about Money. +2 I followed a link to the article about how credit card rewards work and ended up reading a dozen more. It's not super technical (at least to a person with 15 years of banking experience), but still full of insights. I laughed a bit at the recurring "they bought a bank" quips in the payments in Japan article. Is buying a bank for internal purposes so unusual in the US? It's completely normal for a large Russian company or more often a conglomerate to own a pocket bank to simplify the management of its finances.
  • Materialized View. +1 A blog about data engineering written by an industry veteran. A good way to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest happenings in the data engineering world.

I had a very similar opinion about The Peace War, and am absolutely psyched to check out your last 3 links when I'm not working (especially steam engines since I've been talking a lot with kids about trains recently). Thanks for sharing.

I broke 1000 pages on War and Peace. I'm going to dump my thoughts about Tolstoy afterward, the way he plays with the question of what is real and what is fake, the concept of society and the layers of power and importance, are fascinating.

My tablet book for boring public meetings is Stranger in a Strange Land. I commented a couple months ago about how after reading Dune I suddenly realized half of A Song of Ice and Fire was ripped off from Dune. Now I'm reading Stranger in a Strange Land and realizing that half of Dune is a straight rip from Heinlein. A specially trained Psychic young man who founds a religion, along with his loyal Water-Brothers, to overthrow a corrupt and sclerotic government. For the most part though, the book is rendered a historical artifact by how it was written. It's set in the near future, and we've reached Mars, but is filled with Mad Men era businessmen and Chandler-esque gumshoe reporters calling secretaries 'Toots.'

Fascinating factoid from the introduction by Heinlein's wife: the germ of the story came from a SciFi magazine Time Travel gag issue, a fan wrote a letter to the editor where he said he had traveled through time and seen next year's issue and here were the Authors and the Titles of their pieces. So the magazine contacted the authors and asked them to write a short piece with that title. Heinlein and his wife dreamed up the outline of Stranger and it expanded until it morphed into a novel, he wrote something else for the magazine.

I also have my old copy of Shogun sitting on my nightstand, between the series and a friend reading it I'm looking up and referencing passages constantly.

On audiobook, I'm listening to Numero Zero by Umberto Eco. It feels at halfway mostly a shorter version of Foucault's Pendulum, with the same theme of the fake accidentally becoming real, so if you like Eco but want something short and punchy it's great. I adore Eco, so even a knockoff is worth it. Sort of like Hemingway with The Old Man and the Sea vs The Undefeated. It's got everything I love about Eco: it's fun and light, easy to enjoy, while also having a ton of depth and intelligence to it. I'd highly recommend it.

Request: a while back someone on here was reading a long book and posting a series about it on Irish history around the IRA and the Easter Rising, what was the book? I can't remember.

Request: a while back someone on here was reading a long book and posting a series about it on Irish history around the IRA and the Easter Rising, what was the book? I can't remember.

Smells like Trinity by Leon Uris.

Still on Errol Flynn's autobiography. So far he has told stories (by no means in confessional form, more of just like "And this is what I did next") about how he:

  1. bought women while he lived in New Guinea at different times to be essentially sex slaves (but he really liked them). One lesson he takes away from these experiences: "A man and a woman should never speak the same language." (The women--probably just post-pubescent girls actually--were Melanesian.) Did I mention he liked them? He did. He never says anything bad about them. But he must have left them to their own devices at one point as they are each brought up, described, and then never mentioned much again. Except one girl to whom he apparently gave a lot of stuff so that she returned wealthy to her village. (?). Edit: He was in his early 20s at this point.

  2. was a slave trader in New Guinea (capturing and literally selling off men into servitude.)

  3. was shot by a poison arrow and gunned down the New Guinea man who did it

  4. had sex with a woman then, while she was sleeping, stole her jewels and ran off (he was pursued, but successfully hid the jewels and was not arrested). Edit: This woman was Australian.

I'm not even a 5th of the way through the book. Will update next week.

"A man and a woman should never speak the same language."

Sorry to hijack this a little -

Does anyone have any zero-language overlap romance stories of personal experience? I've read about these online (some of the old and new PUA blogs) and, controlling for the sometimes obvious embellishment, it does seem like one can sense attraction from/to another even without any real language ability. What's more, it seems like these are often some of the more especially rewarding trysts.

This is mostly for idle curiosity sake. Becoming a passport bro is not on my list as leaving even my Red state is a thought I abhor.

What exactly are your fears regarding leaving your "red state" for a trip?


I believe the odds of the State artificially and outlandishly prosecuting me for something like self-defense or free expression go up when in blue states. Especially if the news cycle is just right.

This is wildly out of touch with the actual odds of something like this occurring if you leave you home state. This is fox news 80 year old grandpa levels of living in a fear bubble. I'm really not trying to be rude here. It is just a bit boggling to me, the world is a big beautiful place and just because people have a different opinion on some issues doesn't make it dangerous to visit other states or countries. Do some traveling, step out of your comfort zone and you'll find that your fears are unwarranted.

the world is a big beautiful place and just because people have a different opinion on some issues doesn't make it dangerous to visit other states or countries.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get me.

Do some traveling, step out of your comfort zone and you'll find that your fears are unwarranted.

Nice try, NSA.

This is fox news 80 year old grandpa levels of living in a fear bubble.

Get. Off. My. Lawn.

Look, the above section is playful and obvious trolling because you and I just aren't going to agree. Do I have ideological consternation when I'm in liberal cities / states - sure. Is it a real, palpable "fear"? - of course not. Then again, ideas and values are truly important to me and I would trade extra income in California for a little more demonstrated freedom in Idaho.

"But, but, but, you can travel! Don't artificially limit yourself, especially not with this Fox News fear mongering." Well, it's kind of my decision to do what I want for me, right? (so long as I'm not breaking any laws etc.) And trying to "convince" me otherwise by kind of insulting me or boomer-hectoring me to "get out of my comfort zone" is not a winning strategy.

It is just a bit boggling to me

Be boggled, then. I'll stay over here.

Not everyone likes to travel, if that ain't your game I can respect that. But yes your overwrought "I can't even leave my red state or I'll be persecuted" schtick is silly, false and just wrong at an objective level.

If you do decide to travel I have some great recommendations for you, most of Europe is actually more conservative than the US regarding a lot of things, you might be more comfortable than you think.

But yes your overwrought "I can't even leave my red state or I'll be persecuted" schtick is silly, false and just wrong at an objective level.

Why do you need to say this?

Up to this comment, I think you could summarize the exchange thusly:

TollBooth: Something something, I'm a red stater, get off my lawn

French: "That's goofy. You're goofy. Stop being goofy"

TollBooth: "Fine. You got me. Here's me being tongue-in-cheek and a reasonable cessation to our mostly pointless disagreement"

And then you have to go "you are just wrong at an objective level."

Y tho?

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