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Topics - scourge

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Interzone / Print media flush with false cultural optimism
« on: October 26, 2010, 07:03:00 PM »
Popular Mechanics, April 1995


Cover: everyone's guide to the internet
Page 6: paranormal sensationalism to shore up slow winter sales, plus editor's correction designed to maintain audience trust
Page 9: space plane makers, presently in 2010(!) in pre-development proposal phase caught in the lack of finances limbo between on hold and cancelled
Page 10-11: car ad, 107 years of essentially the same internal combustion engine on a carriage with wheels and seats
Page 12: listening for twisters, but houses are no less flattened and folks no less dead from twisters in 2010 thanks to sonic sensors if any even exist
Page 12: 'Nam vet subscriber nostalgia pandering as Huey makers promise a comeback although Blackhawk had long since outcompeted the design
Update: U.H. series becomes attack helicopter of choice among world's poorest dictatorships, might be used by less successful private security contractors in an emergency.
Page 12: new electric pickup truck with an ultracapacitor punch. It is now fifteen years later. Who's buying electric trucks?
Page 13: get plastered. Since 4000 B.C.
Page 14: special forces super friends ride Ospreys to the rescue! Not. Marine platoon tested. Failed. Crashed. Burned. Shitcanned.
Page 14: international space station. Incomplete with skeleton crew fifteen years on.
Page 18: nanomachine part nobody has any use for in 2010
Page 24: this may be a verbatim reprint of Popular Mechanics or perhaps some issue of Omni from 1980. Filler.
Page 27: they had household robot kits you could buy, assemble, and custom program back in 1980. In 1995, they apparently invented electrical switches to replace the binary switching formerly performed in a software conditional. No joke.
Page 27: airport cat scan for dangerous contraband. The second successful prediction of a useful, implemented application in the entire issue. We'll pretend the internet wasn't 20 years old by 1995 as the first good call for the issue.
Page 44: processor chips. Reasonably faster today. This one gets a pass.
Page 66: cover story preceded by 20 pages of spiffy ads. In summary, fifteen years on, the internet is more populated by some orders of magnitude, but it is essentially the same. This guide remains 90% applicable in 2010.
Moral of the story: growth is never progress. It is only growth with a heaping side dish of lemon scented lost quality topped with a fresh twist of incoherence.
Page 74: remember the ozone hole? no? well, that was 1990's global warming scandal. Anyway, First World banned CFCs, Third World remains the ozone hole offender.
Some page: go to school for computer repair training. Srsly.

Home improvements and more expected ads finishes out the rest for about 5 pages of genuinely worthwhile content, tons upon tons of overly optimistic techno progressivism and a fair share of advertising to keep the show going.

Interzone / Purpose
« on: October 20, 2010, 07:40:37 PM »
In my view, there is no sense gathering together unless we are going to be constructive in some manner. Considering the electronic document medium which is the platform for our particular gathering, all constructive output is going to originate as typed ideas, but these can and do grow into the non-digital world offline. We may fill the spaces between idea nodes with data supporting or answering the whys and hows. These are typically reports and views from outside parties.

I do not believe any time should be lent to either the deconstructive or to the destructive participant.

We can identify the deconstructive participant as they who indicate no interest in building or exploring. Their sole interest is to engage with an idea under construction and attack it but do nothing else. This differs from pointing out a flaw, patching the flaw with a superior alternative, and in doing so taking nothing away from the whole, but rather strengthen it. The deconstructionist method is to reduce parts to nothing without filling the gaps they have gouged out of the greater structure.

A side effect of this is that no idea is carried very far and we are forced to move on to the next or while away the time until someone dares posit the beginnings of another concept. Ideas here are often whittled down as if it they were wooden planks gnawed to dust by termites.

The only local ideas that have taken root have grown because they have been isolated from anonymous end user participants and the termites nestled in among them. Among these surviving constructions are persistence of the Nietzchean active nihilism improvement upon nihilism and the National Day of Slayer heavy metal music holiday which has flourished enough to be publicly endorsed by the band itself.

Now while the deconstructivist is covert, and I suppose in some, but not all cases quite oblivious that they are useless, the destructive type is overt in its methods. The product and services spam that appears on occasion is an example of negative usefulness. Some other ways participants spam rather than participate are addressed here: http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,10557.0.html

Why bother at all with a message board? My guess is ongoing generosity. You have a chance to add something constructive to some larger idea that may in fact manifest as something more powerful and influential than yourself such as the examples indicated above.

Interzone / Articles and Essays by Garrett Hardin
« on: October 18, 2010, 03:23:51 PM »
Hardin: "We summarize the situation by saying: 'There is a shortage of food.' Why don't we say, 'There is a longage of people'?"


Interzone / Entrepreneurs meet hope and change
« on: October 18, 2010, 07:34:16 AM »
A Generation X writer looks on with skepticism about career prospects for Generation Me:

Our intuition about the importance of computers explains why so many in my generation abandoned the Democratic Party for the Republicans. Democrats, then dominated by unions, sneered at the new machines. The small band of Democrats who saw potential in technology were nicknamed “Atari Democrats” after a toy. “We can’t all be computer programmers,” said the party’s 1984 presidential nominee, Walter Mondale.

The personal computing age was wildly profitable for a few years during its peak. But soon the digital age settled into just another convenience attribute of a senile and obese society. Innovation pinches off along with the investment that would attract a wave of new hirees.

Really, there is little focused entrepreneurship to be found in any industry today. With lack of interest and a clueless Generation Me battering down the gates, we have withdrawn into the old public sector redoubt:

Green jobs are not organically emerging from the marketplace. They are hothouse creations of government subsidy and regulation. Yes, government can generate employment by mandating that utilities build a certain amount of, say, new solar energy generating capacity. Government could also generate employment by banning the electric lawnmower and forcing everybody to cut grass by hand. But these are not the kinds of innovations on which a generation can build thriving careers.


Interzone / Not all change is progress
« on: October 17, 2010, 10:48:42 AM »
Anthropologist Ian Tattersall:

Natural selection, as outlined in On the Origin of Species, occurs when a genetic mutation—say, resulting in a spine suited to upright walking—is passed down through generations, because it affords some benefit. Eventually the mutation becomes the norm.

But if populations aren't isolated, crossbreeding makes it much less likely for potentially significant mutations to become established in the gene pool—and that's exactly where we are now, Tattersall said.

Genetics Professor Steve Jonesr:

The fittest will no longer spearhead evolutionary change, because, thanks to medical advances, the weakest also live on and pass down their genes.

But reducing the frequency of beneficial mutations doesn't mean we aren't evolving in some direction anyway:

A team led by Yale University evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns found that, due to ovulatory characteristics, shorter, slightly plumper women tend to have more children than their peers. These physical traits are passed on to their offspring, suggesting natural selection in humans is alive and well.


due to ovulatory characteristics, shorter, slightly plumper women tend to have more children than their peers

This suggests a predetermination for increased efficiency which is intrinsic to the design of part of the female reproductive system.

To explore another deterministic tangent, perhaps it is possible that our increased cranial volume is the result not of randomly happening upon better means to acquire proteins, but because our Homo genus template itself determines a path for us that includes the compulsion (like mate-seeking) to increase our protein intake which in turn causes cranial volume expansion.

Interzone / Cephalopods
« on: October 15, 2010, 06:54:20 PM »
Some species live only a year or so; others, like the giant Pacific Octopus may live four years. They are, however, much more serious about courtship rituals than previously thought.

There's a reason that octopuses are known as escape artists; they are extremely intelligent, able to solve problems, and have demonstrated short and long term memory, and an interest in play. Scientists have, for years, tested and studied the abilities of octopuses to successfully navigate mazes, learn visual and vocal cues, and remember solutions to previous problems, and even employ them to solve new, more complicated problems.


What we're seeing is another species on the same evolutionary journey that parallels our own. Maybe they will replace us and rule the local group of 30 star systems in our stead, a geological age hence. Evolution, not equality and safety nets, not accessibility for the handicapped, is the foundation of progress.

Interzone / American EPA okays ethanol fuel increase
« on: October 14, 2010, 08:14:00 PM »
Many things going on:

  • Corn derived ethanol filler is a big government subsidy for agribusiness
  • Cars 4 years or older will get engine damage
  • Consumers will be forced to buy autos more frequently thanks to damage
  • Last ditch ploy to get economy going but consumers already destroyed by interest-bearing debt
  • Ongoing Middle East wars for easy petrol access are obviously quietly acknowledged failures

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration granted a request from ethanol producers to increase concentrations of the corn-based fuel additive in gasoline for vehicles made for 2007 and later. Ethanol makers rose in New York trading.

The Environmental Protection Agency today agreed to let refiners add as much as 15 percent ethanol to a new blend, up from the current 10 percent. A decision on using more ethanol in fuel for vehicles in model years 2001 through 2006 will be made after further testing, the EPA said in a statement.


Interzone / Marriage isn’t a casualty of our economy
« on: October 14, 2010, 05:22:30 PM »
Marriage and long-term relationships face a difficult future not because of the economy, but because we’ve trashed the idea of sex as a means to an end — the family. A culture shift in the 1960s and 1970s allowed people to trivialize sex, but the process started long before, and the “sexual revolution” was more the seams of our formerly great culture bursting.


We forget the why and then we tear it all down because it didn't serve us all, The Wee Kings. Another defining feature of modernity is the entitlement mentality where the unspoken truism tells us our sense of entitlement is a one way street and giving back to society is for suckers.

Interzone / Marginal conveniences and extra profits are worth it
« on: October 14, 2010, 05:08:26 PM »
It's what The People want. Slide show intro to industrial mass agriculture:

Once you've seen what goes on inside a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) it's tough to accept the trade-off of horrific animal suffering in order to have cheap food.


It's what The People want.

Interzone / Fast food never rots
« on: October 13, 2010, 07:39:05 PM »
Feeding kids this confection treat as a replacement for less convenient wholesome foods is child abuse/neglect.

Vladimir Lenin, King Tut and the McDonald's Happy Meal: What do they all have in common? A shocking resistance to Mother Nature's cycle of decomposition and biodegradability, apparently.

That's the disturbing point brought home by the latest project of New York City-based artist and photographer Sally Davies, who bought a McDonald's Happy Meal back in April and left it out in her kitchen to see how well it would hold up over time.

The results? "The only change that I can see is that it has become hard as a rock," Davies told the U.K. Daily Mail.


Interzone / Murder for compassion
« on: October 11, 2010, 11:55:04 AM »
Her opponents would rather needless prolonged suffering of another go on than make a hard decision that hurts only themselves in the long run. Who's really the sinner and the saint here?

A pro-abortion UK columnist provoked outrage from advocates of the disabled and horrified her fellow panelists on a BBC television show after she enthusiastically supported the smothering of suffering infants.

Author Virginia Ironside, who has a regular advice column in The Independent newspaper, appeared on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live show to argue that killing unborn disabled children is a possible act of mercy. But the other women on the show quickly reacted in horror after Ironside indicated that she was willing to go much further than simply advocating abortion.


Interzone / Bad Students, Not Bad Schools
« on: October 10, 2010, 10:02:09 PM »
Bad Students, Not Bad Schools is an Emperor’s new clothes book—it openly speaks the unspeakable: America’s education woes are caused by intellectually mediocre, unmotivated students, not “bad schools,” rotten teachers, faculty curriculum, lack of sufficient funding and similar alleged culprits. Alter the student population and push students harder, even if this means lowering their self-esteem and America’s schools will thrive. If mischief-makers refuse to learn, let them drop out! Politicians and professional educators avoid this awkward reality and prefer instead to squander billions while lurching from one guaranteed-to-fail gimmick after the next.


All of us were or are students at some point. We all have been or met the rotten apples and we know these ruin all the apples in the barrel to some extent.

Interzone / Social networking is cognitive slavery
« on: October 08, 2010, 06:51:09 PM »
The companies that have created the most new value in the last decade, are Internet companies like Facebook, Google, etc.  They've created hundreds of billions in market value, driven by billions in financial profits.  Good for them, but bad for us.

Why?  IF these companies represent the most valuable new industry of the early 21st Century, where are the jobs that will provide prosperity for millions today, and potentially tens of millions in the future?  They don't exist.  These companies create few real jobs.

The distressing part is that in reality these companies actually employ hundreds of millions of people, particularly young and otherwise un or underemployed superusers.  People that work for them day in and day out for free: finding, sifting, sorting, connecting, building, etc.

Let's take Facebook as an example.  Currently it's valued at ~$25 billion by the market.   However, it could be argued that ~100,000 superusers out of 500 million part time users, are the reason that Facebook is valuable.  They generate the core network that is the backbone of the tool.  Their devoted use, high levels of connectivity, and loyalty forms the engine that grows Facebook, year in and year out.  They are the materials, labor, and product of Facebook's assembly line.  Yet they aren't paid for their effort.  They aren't generating wealth for themselves or their families. 

How much wealth?  If we awarded 4/5 ths of the value of Facebook (and the same exercise could be done with Google at a couple of million superusers) to its superusers, leaving the tool managers $5 billion in value, each superuser would now be worth $200,000 from their contributions to this tool alone.  But they aren't.  They haven't earned a penny for their effort.


Foundation building breakthroughs are now less valuable to our civilization than the aforementioned layer of fat over the bones and muscle. We call some of this fatty tissue social networking enterprises. Should the infrastructure find itself starved of resources or rotting from neglect, such fatty tissue luxury and the wealth invested therein will be first to burn away.

Interzone / Immigration won't help world's poor
« on: October 04, 2010, 10:48:20 AM »
There are way too many of you. We can't solve all your problems. Your great numbers can only bring us all to ruin.

We have always found that Americans are hungry for information that helps them make decisions on an ethical basis. We believe this is a major reason for the wild popularity of this presentation about the international humanitarian perspectives of immigration.

Not surprising that it is simple to understand: I developed the presentation after being invited to talk to my son's 7th grade class about immigration. I looked for a way to easily communicate proportionality in a visual way. I have found that when most people watched our original video of this presentation that the scales fell from their eyes and they saw the moral balance so much more clearly.


06:08 Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs - Updated 2010
16:54 Immigration Gumballs 1996

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