Underlore

Ending the dominion of pain and death.

Sociology

So what if Google said I was a saltine?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/06/30/google_s_image_recognition_software_returns_some_surprisingly_racist_results.html

“According to Alcine’s Twitter feed, the problem remained in place even after the supposed fix had been implemented. Ultimately, Google applied a secondary solution, reworking the system so that it wouldn’t tie photos to the “Gorilla” tag at all.”

So let’s pretend gorillas don’t exist to avoid offending people that don’t understand computers.

What could possibly go wrong?

ಠ_ಠ

Well, we better delete black people from the database as well hadn’t we? I mean it could screw up in the other direction could it not? Mislabeling animals as people?

Racism is so stupid.

If Google’s image thing mislabeled me as a saltine because I’m a pale pasty nerd, I doubt that would be news.

I swear all of you enjoy racism. It’s like some kind of hobby when it isn’t a tool.

Seriously, this is the solution. Make race officially a non-existent quantity. Don’t ask about it in any official context. Make it as officially meaningless as you favorite cartoon character.

 

Bernie Sanders Email 2015-06-23

Dear Brandon –

When my Republican colleagues talk about “family values,” what they usually mean is opposition to a woman’s right to choose, opposition to contraception, opposition to gay rights, and support for abstinence-only education.

Let me give a somewhat different perspective on family values.

When a mother has a baby and is unable to spend time with that child during the first weeks and months of his or her life, that is not a family value.

When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time off of work to take care of her, that is not a family value.

When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she cannot afford to stay home with her, that is not a family value.

When a husband, wife, and kids, during the course of an entire year, are unable to spend any time together on vacation, that is not a family value.

The Republican agenda for families is really an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for.

When it comes to basic workplace protections and family benefits, workers in every other major industrialized country in the world get a better deal than workers in the United States. That should be an embarrassment to anyone who wants to talk seriously about family values in this country.

I’m running for president because I will stand for real family values. Please contribute $5 to our campaign now to help make paid family leave, sick days, and vacation days a reality for every working person in America.

It is not enough, though, to simply oppose the Republican agenda. That’s why I’m proud to tell you what I think is a true agenda for family values.

Every worker in America should be guaranteed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. That is a family value.

It is insane that low wage workers in McDonald’s who get sick are forced to work because they cannot afford to miss work. Workers in this country must have paid sick time so they don’t get coworkers or customers sick on the job. That is a family value.

Every person who works for a living must have at least 10 days of paid vacation. Making sure families can afford to take some time off, without having to worry about going broke — that is a family value.

Let’s be clear: in terms of protecting the needs of our families, in many respects, the United States lags behind virtually every major country on earth.

Last place is no place for America. It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world by showing the people of this country that we are not just a nation that talks about family values — but that we are a nation that is prepared to live up to these ideals by making sure that workers in this country have access to paid family leave, paid sick time and paid vacations.

Can you help me carry this message in our campaign? Please contribute $5 now.

Thank you for all of your support,

– Bernie

Foreign Policy

It’s a recurring debate, how America, and by extension, how any, well funded and well armed nation should handle conflicts abroad.

Walking away I think is something ethical people can’t fully defend as it feels like walking away from a house fire, especially when you can make a good argument that your previous actions had a hand in starting the blaze. We kind of intrinsically know that willful inaction is an action.

So what can we do that doesn’t make things worse? How can we behave ethically and break the cycle of violence?

Well here is one option.

The solution is to essentially behave like doctors without borders. We should setup shop in the most unwanted unused area, someplace we alone can operate because money and technology and will, and provide something that only we can provide that’s good for all humans in the area.

What that is depends on context. Start with the basic needs. But only things that can be made on site. Make the useless area you were in useful in a humanitarian way.

Our military could then be deployed around these asset sources purely as defensive measures. If an area drives (or votes, etc) us out, we leave what we’ve made. Because we didn’t make weapons.

Like imagine setting up (or sailing and parking) a nuclear reactor on the coast and setting up a free electricity/water giving point. No strings. Just buying moral authority because doing the right thing full stop. Investment in the long term human capitol of the region and in our credibility.

A passive alternative talk-is-cheap approach to all the toxic ideologies that cause kids to get blown up.

Actually I think we should do that here via a ubi and deployment of nuclear and other tech, but I don’t expect anyone to listen.

Basically we should repurpose all our bases and military spending to be primarily creative rather then destructive forces.

If we do feel the need to intervene on someone’s behalf, our activities should be limited to ethical forms of aid (beans and bandages, are two thirds of warfare after all) and passive defenses like walls, bunkers, etc. Armor only, no swords. Let whoever we are helping defend us while we build, and if they can’t then we withdraw. Follow the principal of no lives taken, no collateral damage tolerated.

You see what I’m saying? We don’t have to engage in any pro-active killing. No one can honestly say giving someone a sandwich and a clean cup of water and a bottle of iodine and a secure place to sleep is intrinsically wrong. Make no martyrs.

Make our presence anywhere we go a good thing for anyone we encounter if we can at all manage it.

Make people excited to see us. Not with lies and violence, but with truth and compassionate action.

Your Real Enemy

So amusing how effective the divide and conquer program is.

This isn’t about numbers or even trust. It’s about corporate beneficiaries of expertly manufactured bitterness and infighting.

Government is the only real enemy corporations have.  Thus corporations spend billions infiltrating via lobby and election funding/manipulation, and use that influence to degenerate government, to make it the untrustworthy parasitic thing so many of us tragically know it to be by and large in so many critical contexts, expressly to make us want to burn it rather than fix it. And failing that, to make us blame some other group, thing, or person. Something that is actually our ally from their perspective.

Though of course race and culture differences make that incredibly hard to intuit. After all, what right wing tea party tough guy can admit for a millisecond he has anything in common geopolitically with an exploited inner-city black mother?

That same black has probably been just as mind hacked as the hateful apparently have been, and hates you right back. If they even have the luxury of time to think of your existence at all, which is rare.

Regardless, what they want is for you to do anything but place blame where it actually belongs. Cynically, I can’t help but think maybe they deserve to be in charge given how expertly they manipulate the vast bulk of our emotions. But then if they were really that good, we would love them would we not? Their incompetence is obvious and heartening.

So called anti government types get their teen angst hate-the-man rage so expertly diverted away from its rightful target that nothing changes. At best. Very often things get worse. This helps them because the natural response, thanks to confirmation bias is to keep doing more of the same, creating a negative feedback loop.

Why? Because when people do things and they don’t work, they almost always think of whether or not they should do more or less of a thing, not whether they should do a different thing.

It’s so insidiously effective and yet painfully frustratingly obvious from the outside.

It essentially goes like this:

  • 1% manipulates mass emotion to invent the extreme right wing (see origins of tea party, follow the money)
  • 1% buys/corrupts the right wing from inside and out (explore history of actual smaller government fiscal conservatives, and how that morphed into police state corporate monopoly conservatives)
  • Right wing sabotages everything good about government and blames left wing and compassion itself.
  • 1% partly infiltrates left wing
  • Infiltrated progressive elements compromise to uselessness, empowering further sabotage and manipulation.
  • People as a result hate each other and government as distraction prevails.
  • 1% profits rise meteorically (Again, follow the money.)
  • 1% invests share of profits in politics and public relations manipulation. (The rise of the billionaire donor.) Lather rinse repeat.

If you say you already know government is corrupt then how dumb is it to blame government itself as your enemy? That’s a paradox. Think about it. If a corrupted government is a bad thing, then obviously an uncorrupted government is a good thing.

Either way your enemy is whatever corrupted the government, not government itself. That’s painfully easy to see if you follow the money. Or as they say in lobbying circles “lean towards the green” and they aren’t talking about the environment.

The sad point is this:

Democracy always puts the most effectively manipulative group in charge.

But of course most everyone on the right is likely to just slap a label on me which some corporate PR wizard invented to keep them all hating in the wrong, albeit comfortable, direction. Anywhere other than your true enemy.

Blame leftists, blame minorities, blame gays, blame men, blame women, blame poor people, blame technology, blame education, blame the sick, blame the old, blame the young, blame drugs, blame crime, blame compassion, etc. Just whatever you do don’t blame the 1%.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” ~Max Planck

If he couldn’t convince his genius peers of basic things he could prove, what makes anyone think they can convince emotionally manipulated people who don’t have the time or inclination (or occasionally the ability,) to rationally self/policy examine?

These tea party types will likely literally die bitterly blaming one or more of their actual allies, having spent their entire life profiting their true enemy. Our only long term hope is that their children are wiser people than they, which fortunately, even among the broken, is a shared goal.

Any wise and compassionate parent wants their children to do and be better than they did.

As for the rest of you, cling to your illusions, or risk shedding them. The only thing that will change is how painful or how awesome your personal future is as a result.

See also: http://underlore.com/who-owns-your-limbic-system/

Questioning the Need for Jargon

That is pretty much literally a different language. I wonder how much of that jargon is actually essential. I find it hard to believe it’s not possible to explain these things in, well, English.

I kinda wish the space and biology naming conventions were reversed. I mean we have names for everything in space, right down to specific names for virtually every crater on the moon.

And yeah the stars are numbered but we have also given tons of actual names to comets and other things.

I think it would be useful in biology to name the specific things with specific names, not strange quasi latin translation descriptions of what things do.

Like if we’re going to call a specific cell that rolls something that essentially mean “roller cell” in latin, and the argument is that we can’t just call it a roller cell is because it’ll get confused with some other thing that is also a cell that rolls, they why not name it specifically after a god or something (like we do with space stuff.)

I suspect the god names wouldn’t even be needed, since each latinized or greek quasi word translates into something.

The translation issue is a sort of valid argument but then why not simply force scientists to publish in a completely new language like lojban, to eliminate any chance of confusion?

You telling me learning lojban is any harder than getting a phd in cellular biology? I think not.

I can’t wait till the AIs get here. They will essentially be the greatest translation and learning tools ever imagined by humanity. I could tell an AI: “Hey, translate the entire nomenclature of biology into consistent non-ambiguous simple English please, and then re-narrate this video.”

Understanding and innovation are going to totally explode when we have ubiquitous  AIs capable of that kind of data translation and juggling linked to human curiosity and imagination.

Why I don’t care about DRM.

The DRM debate to me is like the gay marriage debate: A dangerous diversion from a deeper more widespread, and more pressing problem.

(In the case of gay marriage the deeper issue is why we permit the state to regulate what is essentially a religious ritual in the first place. Marriage should not exist in any official capacity. It should not be an official status any more than the state of your baptism. I should not get a tax break or hike for participating in any religious ritual.)

In the case of DRM the deeper problem is intellectual property law (IPL) itself. DRM is part and parcel with IPL. The reason the anti-drm groups look frankly small time and a bit whacked out fringe is because of where they are attacking the logic chain. To the pro DRM crowd they are the enemy, and to the abolitionist crowd they seem like collaborators or traitors of some stripe. The anti-DRM movement seem to be a walking contradiction because if you assert or imply that IPL itself is ok, then the logic of DRM is quite sound. If on the other hand you assume that logic is bogus, then why are you limiting yourself to opposing DRM?

Anti-DRM groups by their very nature seem to imply a compromise. They suggest that the phenomenon of selling copies, selling strings of numbers, patenting numbers, is ok. They seem to say it’s just that how those laws are enforced that’s the problem.

They seem a little insane in their level of compromise. Whether or not that compromise is practical and wise politically is a separate issue. It would be like segregation era black arguing that the policy isn’t the problem, just the police violence that occurs when its enforced.

And if you think for one second this issue is trivial because games and movies, I remind you that these exact same laws apply to drugs and the food supply. Where do you think the drug companies got the legal framework that lets them charge what they want to whomever they want? Where do you think Monsanto got the idea of a terminator gene?

Compare anti DRM efforts with the people attacking the correct root, the hardcore abolitionists and the full on pirate party types who assert that the whole business model is unjust and more than a little insane. They somehow seem more serious, more credible. And there’s a whole lot more of them.

The reason a conservative 1% rules the world is because their opposition is by definition fragmented. There is only one status quo, one way it is, and there are a million different directions we can progress in.

That will always be the case, but you could at least get the progressives of whatever strike to be more effective if you could get it across to them that root problems are the ones worth curing.

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