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Friday, November 28, 2014
Many of the “users” on social media sites aren’t real people at all – they’re celebrity staff tweeting on behalf of their employer, or PRs promoting a company, or even fake accounts for people that don’t exist at all. In fact, half of all Twitter accounts created in 2013 have already been deleted.Emphasis added. I've been using Twitter more over the last few weeks thanks to GamerGate, and while it's a useful tool, its utility is strictly limited. I'm a little surprised Google hasn't launched a competitor yet, but the problem with Twitter is the same as it is with all self-expression platforms: most people simply don't have all that much to say.
These fake accounts are often created by unscrupulous firms that will beef up your follower count in return for cold hard cash. “Twitter is in the centre of public interest and politicians or companies are often ranked by number of followers or re-tweets or the like – so, there is a whole “web optimisation” industry offering services to make you look better on Twitter – everybody can buy 10,000 followers for $5,” Pfeffer said.
We all know why the stock market bubble exists; all that Fed money has to go somewhere. But an economy based on the value of companies making it possible to pass very short virtual texts around strikes me as one of the few things dumber than simply making leaves legal tender.
The stop of the gamblers in Iowa on April 15, 2013, illustrates some of the highway interdiction methods in use nationwide. Earlier that morning, an officer in Illinois alerted an Iowa trooper to a suspicious red car with Nevada license plates driving west, court records show. When the Altima appeared in Iowa, Trooper Simmons followed it for several miles before pulling it over. He told the motorists that they had been stopped for failing to signal when they passed a black SUV.Notice that the video proved that Trooper Simmons was lying when he told them why he pulled the two gamblers over. They were correct to doubt his veracity and lie to him in return. Never answer a policeman's questions. Always ask him if you are arrested, and if not, if you are free to go. If you can, video every interaction with them. They are not the good guys. They are, at best, thieves who prey upon the public.
Simmons said he was issuing a warning for the failure to signal. After handing over the paperwork, he said the stop was over. Then he asked the driver, Newmerzhycky, if he had “time for just a couple quick questions.”
Police who specialize in highway interdiction use casual conversations to avoid triggering legal questions about the length of stops. If the conversations are consensual, courts consider the added delay to be legal.
Highway police are trained to use the chats as an opportunity to take stock of alleged “indicators” of criminal activity, including nervous speech patterns, a pulsing carotid artery and inconsistencies in stories. They are also trained to seek permission for warrantless searches.
Labels: NWA was right
The Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit was rather less reticent:
On Friday, October 31, 2014, Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes started an investigation into several allegations of sexual assault. On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Jian Ghomeshi, 47, of Toronto, surrendered to police. He was charged with:Now, John Scalzi is a self-admitted rapist ("I’m a rapist. I’m one of those men who likes to force myself on women without their consent or desire and then batter them sexually.") so perhaps that might explain his reluctance to repeatedly and vociferously denounce an actual sex assailant. Again. One can observe that the list of sex criminals with whom he is known to be associated has grown rapidly in the last year:
1) four counts of Sexual Assault
2) Overcome Resistance - Choking
He is scheduled to appear in court early this afternoon. We will notify the media of the court location well in advance of the appearance.
- Samuel Delany, SFWA Grand Master
- Marion Zimmer Bradley, SFWA
- Ed Kramer, SFWA
- Jian Gomeshi
So, is this "satire" again or simply sweet irony?
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I found this when I was digging through some of my old game review columns that I've been gradually scanning and putting up at Recommend. I thought perhaps it might be of interest to the sort of hardcore readers who will swing by today as well as those who used to read my WND column to see how my thought processes have been fairly consistent over the years.
Unabomber misses how technology aids freedom
St. Paul Pioneer Press
October 4, 1995
While the Washington Post’s publication of the Unabomber’s treatise, “Industrial Society and its Future,” has attracted much attention and commentary, it is unfortunate that most of the discussion has revolved around the question of publication rather than the manifesto itself.
The publication issue is not only of little interest to anyone outside the newsrooms, but also will resolve itself soon, as Unabomber imitators will either begin to crawl out from under their rocks, or they will not.
But the treatise is not worthy of attention so much for the macabre means through which it reached the mainstream media as for the concepts it contains. The Unabomber’s discussion of modern leftist psychology is not only thought-provoking but insightful, while his indictment of the evils brought about by industrial society carry more weight than the critiques put forth by latter-day Marxists. Nevertheless, when it comes to the issue of technology and human freedom, the Unabomber goes astray.
The manifesto traces many of the psycho-social problems of modern society to the Industrial Revolution. Since technology has made it unnecessary or impossible for humans to support themselves independently, it prevents them from exercising the natural Power Process of goal setting and attainment. (The “Power Process” is a concept that psychologists say is necessary for human mental health. The “Power Process” is the natural need of humans to exert some degree of control over their own destiny.) This inability to exercise the Power Process leads inevitably to the loss of dignity and human autonomy. The central point of the treatise thus revolves around the inherent conflict between technological development and individual freedom.
The Unabomber sees the seductive nature of technology as a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom. While each new technology appears desirable by itself, the totality of societal-technological advance slowly envelops us, whether we actively choose to accept it or not. As we become dependent on the new technologies, government steps in and regulates access to them, removing even limited opportunity to exercise the Power Process and eventually resulting in the reduction of human beings to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine.
What this theory ignores is that technology is a double-edged sword. Far from being the inevitable tool of government repression, technology has historically shown itself to be a primary force in providing freedom and power to the people. The monopolistic power of the medieval Catholic Church could not have been broken without the printing press, just as the omnipresent television cameras recently helped Boris Yeltsin and the infant Russian democracy movement survive the last reaction of the Soviet hardliners.
Governments and other would-be oppressors may use technology, but they are also afraid of it in the people’s hands. Witness our own government’s fear of high-level encryption software and its tawdry attempts to force the Clipper encryption chip on us. The Clipper chip would have allowed the FBI and other government agencies to read any data supposedly encrypted by the public. God forbid that we should send e-mail without the FBI being able to read it!
And the Chinese government has a tiger by the tail as it learns how difficult it is to allow free technological development and still keep the masses under control. The point is that technology can be a force for freedom as well as a weapon against it.
To prevent us from being turned into cogs in the techno-industrial machine, the Unabomber’s manifesto prescribes a return to a more natural state where our time would be spent exercising the Power Process by surviving via primitive methods, so we would no longer need to find surrogate means of exercising the Process. By “surrogate means,” he meant art, science, sports and anything not immediately related to survival. One wonders where the dignity and autonomy are to be found in the primitive life that Hobbes once characterized as nasty, brutish and short.
This regressive longing for a return to the natural state is nothing new. At the very least it echoes back 200 years to Rousseau. But human nature is very much a part of nature too, and like the Left he disdains, the Unabomber argues his way into the totalitarian corner of making choices for people in order to preserve their freedom to choose. George Orwell would have been proud.
But truly autonomous freedom, the freedom to choose and to exercise the Power Process also means the freedom to choose poorly. If Americans are working harder and longer than before, it is not because technology forces them to do so, but because many of us have decided to work more in order to pursue the larger TV, the BMW or the second home. These decisions to pursue things we do not need may well be foolish, but they are not the Unabomber’s to make. They are ours.
Day writes a Sunday technology column for the Pioneer Press.
If you are a man:And don't miss the opportunity to be the hero. During the holiday season, I always reflect upon the wisdom of my grandfather, arguably the most awesome man who ever strode the planet. I once told him, as he was washing the dishes in the kitchen while everyone else was in the dining room listening to the women attempt to maximize their rare opportunity to talk in front of a captive male audience, that as the senior male member of the family, it wasn't his responsibility to clean up.
If you are a woman:
- Remember that the women are putting in a lot of work and are feeling a lot of stress. This is not the time to remember things at the last minute or lament how things were done differently when you were a child. Avoid throwing curve balls.
- Don't tell her to relax. She's not going to do so anymore than you are during a hard-fought basketball game. Holiday-hosting can perhaps be best understood as a competitive sport for women, even if the only competitors are in her mind.
- Ask her if there is anything you can do twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Simply having someone willing to run out to the store once or twice, if necessary, can save her considerable time and reduce tensions.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine as soon as it gets dark. Offer her one. She'll probably need it.
- Don't let her get away with snapping at you or anyone else. The objective is to be helpful and considerate, not a doormat.
- Try to remember that it's a celebration, not a competition, and the world will not end if a particular dish is not served or something doesn't go exactly the way you planned it.
- The only person who can ruin the holiday for yourself is you. In fact, the only person who is likely to ruin the holiday for everyone else is you. Don't be that woman.
- If someone is taking pictures or video, just smile. Drawing additional attention to yourself by complaining and protesting looks far more ridiculous than any bedhead or lack of makeup does.
He looked at me, scotch in hand, then raised an eyebrow and indicated the football game that was on the television in the corner of the kitchen. "Responsibility?" the Lacedaemonian said.
Have a very happy and grateful Thanksgiving, everyone. We all have much for which to give thanks to the Almighty God, if only for giving us the strength to endure and surmount the challenges life presents us. And speaking of challenges, Spacebunny has followed up the main course with pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate fudge. Where to start? And more importantly, when to stop?
Labels: Alpha Game
Most of my career I batted on uncovered pitches without a helmet. This taught me how important it was to have a good technique and courage against fast bowling. Why? Because you required judgment of what to leave, when to duck and when to play the ball. But you had to be even more careful about attempting to hook because at the back of your mind you knew that if you made a mistake you could get seriously hurt.This is true in the broader historical culture as well as the world of sport. We attempt to protect our women and children, to ensconce them in a rubber-and-plastic safety bubble that will keep them from all harm, forgetting that in protecting them from the petty dangers, they tend to forget about the existence of the more serious ones.
I once asked Len Hutton, a great iconic player, whether he hooked Ray Lindwall or Keith Miller. He said he once tried it at the Oval and he got halfway through the shot then cut it out because out of the corner of his eye he could see the hospital. That tells you everything.
Before the advent of helmets in Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in the late 1970s, if a team had a genuine fast bowler, tail-enders did not hang around. You did not see tail-enders propping and copping. They played shots or got out because at the back of their mind they were terrified of being hurt.
Helmets have unfortunately now taken away a lot of that fear and have given every batsman a false sense of security. They feel safe and people will now attempt to either pull or hook almost every short ball that is bowled at them.
Even tail-enders come in and bat like millionaires, flailing away and having a go at short balls with poor technique and a lack of footwork. Helmets have made batsmen feel safe in the belief that they cannot be hurt and made batsmen more carefree and careless. As a consequence more players get hit on the helmet nowadays than ever got hit on the head, before we batted without this protection.
It is when we feel invulnerable that we are most susceptible to being taught otherwise.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I found out about this sort of thing the hard way talking to a younger dude that was like this. He was edgy and cool, but his brain was somewhat colonized. He somehow got to talking about this thing that happened at his high school… some kid had worn a shirt that was deemed to be across the line by his type and they’d rallied and made it clear that nobody could do that there. I was surprised that he could be so positive about doing something like that. I said, “that’s the difference between my generation and your generation. People like you at least had the sense not to attack free speech back when I was in school….” This assertion that he was basically a product of his times rather than some stripe of free thinker put him into a rage. He started screaming and cursing at me for several minutes. (Yes, he thought himself the voice of tolerance and reason, of course.) It was then that I realized that this “flaming” stuff you see online… it’s not just a product of anonymity and technology. No, some people really are like that….! They actually can’t respond to a difference of opinion with anything but rage.I have to laugh at the idea of being "welcomed" into Advanced Squad Leader. To put it into perspective, the vastly simplified Starter Kit rules are still 12 pages, which doesn't even count the various charts and tables. A lawyer friend once perused the ASLRB and declared that a law degree should be automatically conferred on anyone who demonstrates competence at the game. There is simply no amount of warm fuzzies that is ever going to compensate for having that volume of information thrown at you, and that doesn't begin to take into account that you'll find yourself facing some of the most viciously competitive hardcore gamers once you do command a basic grasp of the rules.
On being “welcomed” into the hobby — No no no no no! You have no idea how clueless you are. Honestly. It just isn’t like that at all. If you think anyone is going to roll out the red carpet for you then you don’t know anything about gaming. Do you have any idea how merciless competitive chess is? How hard it is to find an opponent for a wargame? Have you ever interviewed people to see if they’d be a good fit for a wacky roleplaying campaign concept you want to try out? Have you ever run a demo at a con and felt the pressure of having to be at least as interesting as the people running a dozen other tables…? Have you played games that other people want to play and then been disappointed that they never reciprocate and play the stuff that you are into…? There is no welcoming committee.
In any activity where the difficulty is part of the enjoyment derived, the very concept of a "welcoming committee" is not so much irrelevant as completely backwards.
There is an old Chinese legend of a golden scroll on which the secret of human happiness was written; and sages and warlords, merchant-princes and emperors sought the scroll with fervor. When found, they saw the secret of the scroll consisted of one ideogram printed over and over, an ideogram they could not read. However, there was a beggar girl who could read the mysterious word.This would explain, among other things, why they prefer to call it Turkey Day.
If you know that word, then you know the secret of human happiness.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for three reasons: first, it drives the Leftists crazy because it is a clearly and openly Christian holiday in the midst of a society they are fervidly attempting to dechristianize; second, it drives Leftists crazy because it is a holiday based on a historical fact, namely, Indian and Pilgrim cooperation, which flips the middle finger at the Leftist preferred narrative about non-civilized White men committing malign genocide on the non-savage Red men; and finally and most of all, it drives the Leftists crazy because the concept of being thankful, of feeling gratitude, of thanks for benefits never to be repaid, is utterly alien to their way of thinking and their way of life.
One benefit that accrues to the Christian, even if all of history, logic, and revelation should turn out to be false, and God a myth no more real than Global Warming, nonetheless, is that we Christian men feel gratitude toward our Creator for the infinite gift of creation. A noble pagan can indeed receive a gift in his stockings at Christmas, and be grateful to the giver, but a Christian can feel grateful for the legs he puts into his stockings each morning, and the world on which he walks.
The Left does not give thanks, not to anyone, human or divine, past or present, not for any reason.
Back in 2003 Rush Limbaugh got fired from being a color commentator on Monday Night Football for pointing out that the media had been pushing hard for more black quarterbacks for decades. So Rush got fired because everybody knows that the only reasons don’t make up 75% of NFL starting quarterbacks is discrimination and the burdens of history.It's fairly obvious to me why blacks are increasingly unable to successfully play quarterback in the NFL. The new passing rules tend to benefit the mentally faster quarterbacks, nearly all of whom are white. Michael Vick's much-ballyhooed "reinvention of the quarterback position" has failed for the very reason that detractors of running quarterbacks predicted: sooner or later a running quarterback is going to take a hit that slows him down.
So I like to check in on how black quarterbacks are doing. This QBR rating counts their running contributions, so it’s the best measure yet.
Here are black QBs (treating Colin Kaepernick as black) who ranked in the top 20 for each year as far back as QBR has been calculated. I counted the top 20 in a 32 team league since it’s pretty safe to assume that if you rank in the top 20 you deserve to start, whereas if you are, say, 29th, then there’s probably a benchwarmer another team that deserves your job.
2014: 2 (Russell Wilson 14, Colin Kaepernick 16)
2013: 3 (Colin Kaepernick 6, Russell Wilson 12, Cam Newton 13)
2012: 4 (Robert Griffin 5, Russell Wilson 6, Cam Newton 14, Josh Freeman 15)
2011: 2 (Michael Vick 7, Cam Newton 15)
2010: 3 (Michael Vick 5, Josh Freeman 6, David Garrard 13)
2009: 3 (Vince Young 7, Donovan McNabb 13, David Garrard 19)
2008: 3 (David Garrard 16, Jason Campbell 17, Donovan McNabb 18)
2007: 4 (David Garrard 3, Jason Campbell 15, Donovan McNabb 16, Tarvaris Jackson 19)
2006: 4 (Steve McNair 6, Donovan McNabb 7, Vince Young 11, Michael Vick 15)
It's almost always the same. A running quarterback simply isn't going to a) start many games in a row, or b) maintain his peak level of play very long. As a long-suffering Vikings fan, I very well know the difference between a scrambler who moves around to buy time - Tarkenton, Cunningham - and a runner who takes off in a panic as soon as his scripted first option fails to come open: Gannon, Culpepper, Ponder, although hopefully NOT Bridgewater.
NFL quarterback is arguably the single most difficult thing for a human being to do. It requires a bizarre blend of physical ability and mental agility that is incredibly rare, and today's physically gifted runners are the modern version of yesterday's rocket-armed blockheads. I find it very puzzling that NFL teams still haven't learned that you simply can't teach seeing the field and reacting to it. It's interesting to see that Tarvaris Jackson cracked the top 20 in QBR at one point. He may have been the most perfectly coached quarterback I've ever seen play. He was a team player, he worked very hard, he always did his absolute best, he listened to his coaches as if their words were coming from on high, and his movements were so perfectly rehearsed that he looked like a well-oiled robot. I wasn't at all surprised to see him go on to have a very successful career as a backup quarterback. But he just processed everything too slowly. Drop back, check one, check two... sack!
Anyhow, I won't be surprised if in another year or two, we start seeing the football media start to complain that the new passing rules are racist. Because they observably place a premium on a particular skill that no current black quarterbacks - yes, zero, which you'll know if you've seen Wilson or Kaepernick play this year - appear to possess.
The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur.I'm not entirely sure such indifference to collateral damage is correctly described as not meaning to harm anyone except the targeted individual. Regardless, it's become abundantly clear there is no such thing as "targeted killing" that doesn't involve soldiers on the ground pulling the trigger. And I suspect in less than ten years, cheap DIY drone technology will drive US politicians almost entirely underground as they become the targets of those they have so ineffectively targeted.
Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not.
However many Americans know who Zawahiri is, far fewer are familiar with Qari Hussain. Hussain was a deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida that trained the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, before his unsuccessful 2010 attack. The drones first came for Hussain years before, on 29 January 2008. Then they came on 23 June 2009, 15 January 2010, 2 October 2010 and 7 October 2010.
Finally, on 15 October 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a Predator or Reaper drone killed Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban later confirmed. For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm.
A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.
Unless, of course, cheap, but powerful ground-to-air laser technology renders drone technology completely useless.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I tend to doubt anything too crazy will happen; the rioters obviously know that the police and the National Guard are going to crack down hard and fast if they get too far out of hand. They're just looking to act up, posture for the cameras, and loot a little bit, they're not actually looking for a fight.
Labels: Vibrancy is our strength
The following statement was issued on 19 November 2014 by the Executive Committee of the American Astronomical Society on behalf of the AAS Council:If I were a scientist, I would immediately resign from any organization that was releasing statements on fashion, much less had a formal policy on what I could and could not wear.
The past few days have seen extensive international discussion of an incident (known online as #shirtstorm or #shirtgate) in which a participant in a European Space Agency media conference wore a shirt with sexualized images of gun-toting women and made an unfortunate remark comparing the featured spacecraft to a woman. Viewers responded critically to these inappropriate statements, especially jarring in such a highly visible setting (one in which very few women appeared), and the scientist apologized sincerely. But in the meantime, unacceptable abuse has been directed toward the critics, from criticism of “over-active feminism” to personal insults and more dire threats.
We wish to express our support for members of the community who rightly brought this issue to the fore, and we condemn the unreasonable attacks they experienced as a result, which caused deep distress in our community. We do appreciate the scientist’s sincere and unqualified apology.
The AAS has a clear anti-harassment policy, which prohibits “verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature” and “a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.” Had the offending images appeared and comments been made under the auspices of the AAS, they would be in clear violation of our policy.
I'm sure it will surprise no one to know that the president of the AAS is a female SJW. The sad thing about this isn't that most women care more about clothes and politics than science; we already knew that. What is both tragic and observable is that even women who are professional scientists care more about clothes and politics than science. They aren't merely an embarrassment to their sex, they are the epitome of a humiliating shame to it.
It can't possibly be true that "unacceptable abuse has been directed toward the critics". Whatever abuse they received not only was well-merited, but didn't go nearly far enough because they deserve shameless mocking for the rest of their pathetic lives.
And this is why you don't let SJWs into any organization to which you belong. Because this is what they do.
Another factor driving the diversification of the suburbs is the emergence of “black ﬂight” from major cities with established black populations. Black population losses have been occurring in some cities since the 1970s, but the magnitude and pervasiveness of black losses in cities during the ﬁrst decade of the 2000s were unprecedented. The central cities of the 100 largest metropolitan areas saw a total decline of 300,000 blacks, the ﬁrst absolute population decrease among blacks for these cities as a group. The black presence, which has been the mainstay of many urban populations, is diminishing (in fact it is now Hispanics, not blacks, who constitute the largest minority group in cities).I find it amusing that they attribute the black movement to the suburbs to "economic progress in recent decades". The problem with that reasoning is that there hasn't been any economic progress in recent decades, in fact, wage rates are still lower than 1973. This is little more than the more civilized blacks trying to escape their own race to live among whites, and whites attempting to get away from those more civilized blacks before their friends and family follow. As Joshua points out in the comments, this was only made possible by the Fed's low interest rates and federal housing policy. So the 2000-2010 trend will not likely continue.
Three of the cities with the largest black declines–Detroit, Chicago, and New York–were among the primary destinations for blacks during the Great Migration, but the losses were not confined to northern metropolises: Southern and western cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles were also among those losing blacks. Much of that population is shifting to the suburbs, moves that can be attributed in part to the black population’s economic progress in recent decades, especially among younger people aspiring to the suburban lifestyle that eluded their parents and grandparents. On the whole, 96 of the largest 100 metropolitan areas showed gains in their suburban black populations. Of those, more than three-quarters had larger increases in the past decade than in the 1990s. While delayed for decades, the full-scale suburbanization of blacks is ﬁnally under way.
But that's largely irrelevant anyhow. As the graph shows below, the real story is my La Raza cousins, who are in the process of ethnically cleansing both the cities and suburbs they have invaded. One thing white people, especially liberal white people, have never understood is that Hispanics dislike blacks considerably more than whites do, and furthermore, their open disdain is not affected by white guilt over slavery. The liberal fantasy of an anti-white multiracial minority alliance has always been just that, a fantasy, because real multiculturalism is the Hobbesian war of all against all.
Labels: Vibrancy is our strength
No elite that is as schizophrenic as they are can long stay in power. Their narrative being so anti-reality requires those seeking to join them to abase themselves to such a degree (like some gang members who have to commit a heinous murder to join) that the only the most craven will do so. These are also, for whatever reason, often not the most competent at whatever the field is.The New Wave writers were intentionally pissing on their forebears, but in the process they were creating yellow art in the snow. Their work was, of course, ephemeral, insignificant, and devoid of any meaningful commentary on the human condition or long-term value, but the pictures were pretty enough until the snow melted, at least if you ignored how they'd been created.
They’re not often, like Chelsea Clinton, so guppy-stupid that even all the attempts to advance them and hand them “accomplishments” for existing fall flat (as did her career in TV.) But as generations go by and each generation picks the new luminaries based ONLY on loyalty to the party line, the quality of performance and competence keeps going down.
Take New Wave in our field. Its practitioners often held strange views of life, strange enough to repel the hoi polloi and those who bought the bulk of the books, but by and large, I challenge you to read them and not see the craftsmanship and the talent (with a few exceptions, of course.)
However those who came after them were a little less talented and trained. This was the period back in the nineties when I considered myself fortunate for finding writers who weren’t actively off-putting, and could only ever find one or two that I considered to rise above . And the current crop of establishment darlings, particularly the young ones (again with one or two exceptions) are cringingly bad or at the very best cringingly trite (which would be endurable without the encomiums to their Earth shattering originality.) Even the establishment can find no better reason to shower awards on them than the oft-repeated claims of vague discrimination and saying that women are overdue for recognition.
Like any elite that is incompetent at what its supposed to do, this means that they create a crisis that invites their replacement. In science fiction, where I’m concentrating because I know it better, (though arguably parallel processes are taking place in all other fields) they might have tottered on another generation or two, with each selling less, until the advances for first novels were zero and publication meant nothing except to the academics who need publication.
Fortunately Kindle intervened. Because indie publishing came into a vacuum and served underserved readers, it’s blooming against the wilting of traditional publishing.
Their descendants only saw that their forebears were urinating, and quite wrongly concluded, "hey, I can do that!" They promptly did the literary equivalent of unzipping, cutting loose, and shouting "look at me, I can haz pee!" Or in the case of McRapey, "look at me, I can haz blow job! Because ground forces!"
The diversity crowd is even more pathetic. They can't even manage the literary equivalent of unzipping first, instead they just wet their pants then give each other awards for their incontinence, crowing: "I is womyn! I is black! I is queer! I make water too!" And, as John C. Wright notes, they actually take pride and pleasure in taking their golden autoshowers:
If you are looking at a landscape covered with a thin gruel the hue of oatmeal, gray, tasteless, neither cold nor hot, dripping over telegraph wires, leafless trees, dusty lanes empty of traffic, collapsed houses, and the corpse of a small dog, and seeing a group of deformed pygmies and midgets decreeing immense victories and accomplishments in the fields of civic engineering and architecture, you would assume them to be an enemy of whoever once lived in the now ruined landscape. You would not assume they lived in that landscape and wanted it gray. And your assumption would be wrong.There are few things that I find more amusing than looking at the Amazon rankings for the award-winning SF novels of the recent past and comparing them to the winners from 30 years before. Guess which novel was published in 2013 and is the most-awarded novel in science fiction history, and which one was published nearly 50 years ago.
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,910 Paid in Kindle Store
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757 Paid in Kindle Store
And just because I am a cruelty artist:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,680 Paid in Kindle Store
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,115 Paid in Kindle Store
Mrs. Hoyt is absolutely correct about the pygmies' poor long-term prospects. No one outside their weird little cult wants to bathe in their stinking urine.
President Obama completely fumbles when George Stephanopolous asks him how he’d respond if a future president takes the same action on taxes that Obama has taken on immigration. Incredibly, Obama responds as if he’d never heard or thought of this argument before, stumbling blindly along immigration talking points without answering the actual question.Now that the President of the United States of America has declared prosecutorial discretion in immigration to be an executive power, it is obvious that any future president will possess similar prosecutorial discretion in taxation. This is a weapon that any small government party should be able to wield with a considerable degree of effectiveness.
Stephanopolous asked: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”
“The truth of the matter is George,” said the President, haltingly, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…” Obama then pivoted to immigration talking points, without addressing the original question.
“The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating,” said Obama. “We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way.”
“So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?” Stephanopoulos said.
Obama: “With respect to taxes? Absolutely not.”
If it is genuinely a small government party.... The Republicans certainly can't pretend they don't have the power to starve the beast anymore, not once they reclaim the White House.
It's always fascinating to see how SJWs have absolutely no ability to grasp logical consequences. Which tends to demonstrate the fundamental illogic of their thinking. It reminds me of the gay "marriage" proponents who genuinely couldn't figure out how redefining the legal nature of marriage once would likely lead to future legal redefinitions of marriage.
Monday, November 24, 2014
From a source inside the Prosecutor’s Office – NO INDICTMENT in the Michael Brown case.Frankly, I'm a little puzzled that anyone ever thought there might be one. I'm about as dubious of the American police as anyone, and I never thought it appeared to be an even questionable shooting.
Anyhow, if the announcement does come tonight, this is an open thread to discuss it and any related events.
Chuck Hagel has been fired as defense secretary. We were critical of his appointment, and opposed his confirmation by the Senate. But let's be clear: Hagel has done what he was asked and what was expected of him at the Pentagon. To the degree he has deviated from the Obama White House line, he's been more right than wrong (e.g., on the threat the Islamic State poses).He's fired an awful lot of generals too, come to think of it. I don't know if there have any bigger purges among the brass since pre-WWII Stalin.
So why has he been fired? Because the Obama White House needs a scapegoat. President George W, Bush fired Don Rumsfeld in connection with a change in strategy (the surge) and to bring in someone of independent stature. That's not the case today. President Obama continues to want a Pentagon with weak leadership and little independence. There's therefore no reason to expect the next two years of Obama foreign and defense policy to be any better than the past two.
On the gritty, long-neglected outskirts of Rome there was continuing tension outside a centre for refugees, which was repeatedly attacked by local residents during the week. A group of 36 teenage migrants had to be evacuated from the centre in Tor Sapienza, a working-class suburb, on Thursday night after the authorities said the area was no longer safe for them.To the north of the continent:
Locals had hurled stones, flares and other missiles at the migrant centre, smashing windows, setting fire to dumpster rubbish bins and fighting running battles with riot police during several nights of violence. They demanded that the facility be closed down and claimed that the refugees from Africa and Asia were dirty, anti-social and violent.
The Swedish police recently released a map of 55 areas where they publicly admit to having surrendered control to the criminal gangs. These areas have long had problems with mailmen, fire trucks and ambulances being attacked when trying to enter, which has led to them routinely requesting police escort. Now it’s the police being attacked outright.It's not going to be long before the Swedish Democrats are the ruling party in Sweden. And it's not going to be long before the Swedish military is going to be entering those ghettos with tanks and machine guns. That's why the current left-wing Swedish government is trying to increase immigration even up to the end, this is the equivalent of the pre-WWI governments setting their mobilization plans in motion. The anti-Western European Left wants to fight a civil war by proxy, but as Anders Breivik demonstrated, the European Right knows perfectly well who its real enemies are.
These no-go zones are primarily so-called “exclusion areas” which is the politically correct term for the 186 ghettos that have sprung up around Sweden in the past two decades. These areas are predominantly populated by immigrants from muslim countries with low education and even lower employment rates. The exception being the enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the fields of drug dealing, protection rackets and robberies.... This development would have been inconceivable only 20 years ago, and one would think this official surrender by the police would have made big headlines. This is not the case; the most attention it seems to have received in mainstream media is an opinion piece in national paper Svenska Dagbladet.
It can be speculated that this is due to the fact that any reporting on this could be seen as “support” for nationalist party SD that wants to restrict the vast inflow to these ghettos, which is an absolute no-no amongst the journalists and could cost them their jobs.
I suspect that the younger generation of Native Europeans is going to make the Nazi-era Germans look moderate by comparison. Europe belongs to them. And they know they are going to have to fight for it if they don't want to go the way of the Native American.
PZ Myers has responded to part of my recent post about what would happen if he judged others’ sexism as he judges himself. He responded in a comment on his blog, complete with his now familiar personal abuse (he calls me a fuckhead, an asshole and a demented fuckwit) and misrepresentations of what I have written (he mistakenly says that my report of his own words on his own blog were “straight from the slymepit”, and he mistakenly says that I claimed what he did was sexist).The inconsistencies in the various accounts are telling, although not necessarily damning of anything but shameless hypocrisy. As I have repeatedly observed, PZ Myers is simply not very intelligent. You may recall how he did not know that not all human beings are equally Homo sapiens sapiens despite his PhD in biology, now he can't even recognize when his own words are being directly quoted back to him. No wonder his readership has been consistently falling; he has nothing intelligent to say, he can't take the heat of criticism, he has a confirmed inability to engage in discourse at the dialectical level, and he lined up behind the SJWs of Atheism+ against most of his fellow atheists.
In his response, PZ ignored five of the six examples that I gave of behaviour by him that other people might consider sexist if they used PZ’s own standards — telling a conference host to do her belly dance and to get off his stage as he has work to do, linking to pornography involving women and octopuses, writing about a dream in which he turned his students into mermaids, publicly joking about rape, and endorsing a pornographic book that includes rape fantasies.
Instead he has focused only on my report of his own story about a student threatening to make a false rape allegation against him. He has written several times about this since 2010, and I am assuming that everything that he has written about it is true. He has now made two new assertions about the incident.
Firstly, PZ now says that he went to the chair “to invite an open investigation”, not to prevent one. Previously he had written that he “had to work fast” because “it could get dragged out into an investigation that would easily destroy my career,” and also that the woman had not gone to the authorities because he had brought in witnesses “to make her effort futile.”
Secondly, PZ now describes the investigation and says that he followed proper procedure. Previously he had written that this involved only the student, and not PZ himself, being questioned for only ten minutes about the severity of her accusation. I compare this below with the University of Minnesota’s official procedures for dealing with incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
It is, of course, not at all surprising to see PZ misrepresenting what someone else has written, although I no longer think it is safe to assume that he is doing so intentionally. These days, it is more logical to conclude that he's simply not smart enough to correctly understand and summarize what someone else has written.
One former Pharyngulan has an interesting theory:
I remember how he’s described his father and grandfather and how behaves very much the same. Different core values. But the behavior is extremely similar to the behavior of those two role-models he has castigated in the past. In any case, I washed my hands of him and his blog years ago. I’m not interested in being part of a toxic ‘in-group’ that has abandoned skepticism, rationality, manners and the ability to think for oneself.One would think an evolutionary biologist, of all people, would recognize the limits of one's willpower to surmount the limits of one's genetics and upbringing. And finally, just to observer the Fowl Atheist's shameless hypocrisy, consider the following statements:
"asshole Nugent is happily embracing slymepit lies and distortions to claim that what I did was sexist? Disgusting. He’s become a demented fuckwit."
- PZ Myers
"Actually, I hate the word ‘moron’ used as an insult, thank you very much.... I don’t like the word “moron” and wish we would all use something else non-ableist to express our disbelief at a person’s sheer wrongness."
- PZ Myers
So, "demented fuckwit" is non-ableist?
Sunday, November 23, 2014
59 King (5-6-0)
71 Clerical Errs (2-9-0)
49 Greenfield Grizzlies (8-3-0)
64 Bane Cornshuckers (7-4-0)
60 Favre Dollar Footlongs (5-6-0)
54 RR Redbeards (7-4-0)
52 Boot Hill Bogs (2-8-1)
80 Texas Chili Eaters (6-4-1)
45 Gilbert Gamma Rays (6-5-0)
I've got 36 more points than any other team and I'm in 5th place. This is all too typical of my fantasy football seasons. Not a bad performance by the Vikes, respectable enough to avoid too much mocking from the Packers fans, anyhow.
A yahoo who does not give his name but calls himself Vunderguy is asking a Houyhnhnm named John C Wright what is my emotional reaction to a man who calls himself Vox Day but whose real name is Theodore Beale.Mr. Wright also asked the Gossip why he was so strangely incurious about his other editors, including Messrs. George R.R. Martin, Gordon van Gelder, David Brin, Gardner Dozois, and Glenn Yeffeth. My question to those who would attack Castalia's authors on the basis of their editor is this: Tor editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden is, unlike me, a self-admitted racist. Do you similarly inquire all of his authors their "take" on his hurtful and offensive statement: "I'm a racist. Or some kind of bad guy, at any rate. I'll live. Worse things happen to the victims of actual racism."
"Speaking of flights and fancy, what’s your take on your publisher, Vox Day?"
Despite the bouncing gaiety of the question, I answered it soberly, saying this: I think he has too high an opinion of me and my work, frankly. This is based on private communications with him, where he grants me more praise than I think just. While it is right and proper, as a matter of professional courtesy, for an editor to flatter a writer he publishes, I am afraid in this case he overestimates my talent, albeit I am grateful for the flattery, because I am quite vain.
Vunderguy answers with this indirect comment:
"While that insight is a bit humanizing of him, I meant in regards to his more… ‘fringe’ views."
I was not aware that Mr. Beale needed ‘humanizing’ whatever that word means. As a Houyhnhnm, the process sounds painful and dangerous and much to be avoided.
Growing mildly impatient, in my unemotional way, I remarked: “Fringe views? Is this a guessing game where you act like a coy schoolgirl and do not say what you mean, while I act like a man and speak in complete sentences?” And I mentioned some of Mr Beale’s unusual views, for example on drug legalization and other libertarian issues, which are not mainstream.
After that, Mr. Guy (as I shall hereafter call the anonymous accuser) finally agreed to speak plainly and ask his question, or, rather, his accusation disguised as a question.
I say ‘his’ because in English, when the sex of the antecedent is unknown or undetermined, this is the proper pronoun. The delicate indirectness with which Mr. Guy asks his questions, however, is more typically seen in women, or was, back in the day when women practiced feminine delicacy.
Since it is an accusation and not a question, in a properly lawyerly fashion, let me answer point by point:
Like having their land stolen and being put on reservations, just to name one, for no particular reason at all.
I find it rather amusing that people think they know my "fringe views". I mean, the stuff they think is fringe is merely what I'm willing to openly state and defend in public. That is hardly the outer limit of my thinking.
This is the paradox: When you improve something, you change it in ways you couldn’t have expected. You can find examples of this in every corner of development practice. A project in Kenya that gave kids free uniforms, textbooks, and classroom materials increased enrollment by 50 percent, swamping the teachers and reducing the quality of education for everyone. Communities in India cut off their own water supply so they could be classified as “slums” and be eligible for slum-upgrading funding. I’ve worked in places where as soon as a company sets up a health clinic or an education program, the local government disappears—why should they spend money on primary schools when a rich company is ready to take on the responsibility?But it should be kept in mind that this dynamic works both ways. Mass migrants are also an invasive species, and they change the "ecosystem" they are invading every bit as much, and as "unexpectedly", as the development programs do.
My favorite example of unintended consequences comes, weirdly enough, from the United States. In a speech to a criminology conference, Nancy G. Guerra, the director of the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Delaware, described a project where she held workshops with inner-city Latina teenagers, trying to prevent them from joining gangs. The program worked in that none of the girls committed any violence within six months of the workshops. But by the end of that time, they were all, each and every one, pregnant.
“That behavior was serving a need for them,” she says in her speech. “It made them feel powerful, it made them feel important, it gave them a sense of identity. ... When that ended, [they] needed another kind of meaning in their lives.”
The fancy academic term for this is “complex adaptive systems.” We all understand that every ecosystem, each forest floor or coral reef, is the result of millions of interactions between its constituent parts, a balance of all the aggregated adaptations of plants and animals to their climate and each other. Adding a non-native species, or removing one that has always been there, changes these relationships in ways that are too intertwined and complicated to predict.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
In a sign of how frenzied, panicky and intolerant the games industry establishment has become over the legitimate concerns of ordinary gamers, the International Game Developers' Association branded some 10,425 Twitter accounts, including those of journalists, as harassment "offenders" in a humiliatingly ill-conceived attempt to provide a "blocking tool" to its members.It turns out that I, too, am on the block list. I was asked to join IGDA by its then-president at a big European games conference some years ago, which I subsequently did. I'm pretty sure that he's not the president now, because he didn't strike me as a complete idiot. I know I'm a member of a European GDA, but it's a different organization than IGDA, so I don't know what my current membership status is with them. Expired, I assume, but I'll have to check on Monday.
The blocking tool, which has been widely mocked online for its lack of sophistication and "blanket ban" approach, was assembled by Randi Harper, a persistent online agitator. The tool prevents users from seeing not only the tweets of users Harper has decided are implicated in harassment, but also many accounts who simply follow those users, by blocking a list of thousands of users with the use of an automated "bot."
So indiscriminately has the block list been compiled that the IGDA's own staff appear on it. Roberto Rosario, chair of the IGDA in Puerto Rico, is named on the list. In an acutely embarrassing moment for the Association, Rosario, who is not a GamerGate supporter, publicly threatened to resign unless his name was removed or the bot was disavowed.
By 1995 or so, it had become fairly evident that the science fiction market had begun to experience a significant shift, one that I have been struggling to put my finger on for quite some time now.It's interesting to see some of the comments from familiar names that we now know to have been responsible, in part, for the ongoing decline into necrobestiality and wereseal romance. I didn't consciously notice the change until the award of the 2002 Nebula to Catharine Asaro's ridiculous The Quantum Rose made me notice it, but looking back at the old Nebula winners, there is a definite point in 1988, when a nobody with a nothing novel that no one remembers beat Greg Bear, Gene Wolfe, David Brin, Avram Davidson, and George Alec Effinger, followed by Lois McMaster Bujold beating Gibson, Card, and Wolfe in 1989 (a less ludicrous result, but unjustifiable nevertheless), shows that the rot had set in.
The genre, of course, has always been one for whom change at a certain level should be something of a constant. The Romance genre (not the chivalric or ancient. I mean the “girl picks one of two boys” sort.) has remained the same since 1921’s The Black Moth, but Science Fiction (not the current “girl picks one of two boys” sort, but the traditional “having something to do with phenomena”) necessarily must adapt to any new knowledge....
In October of 1991, SF editor and reviewer, and senior editor at Omni, Robert J. Kilheffer did the world a favor by attempting a fairly comprehensive “State of the Genre” report in Publisher’s Weekly, titled Science Fiction: Expanding, Experimenting.
Just for amusement's sake, here is the description of the 1988 Nebula Award winner for Best Novel.
Elizabeth Butler is an archaeologist, and the author of several popular books that challenge her colleagues' ideas about Mayan civilization. Elizabeth has a strange gift, connected to a suicide attempt as a young woman, which allows her to see the spirits of ancient people while she walks at dusk and dawn. The story opens with Elizabeth in the middle of an eight-week field study at Dzibilchaltún. Her team hopes to find dramatic artifacts that will spark interest and increased funding for future field studies at the site.
In the middle of the field study, Elizabeth's estranged adult daughter Diane arrives unannounced. After the death of her father, Elizabeth's ex-husband, Diane suddenly abandoned her life in the United States, and flew to Mexico to see her mother. It's revealed that Diane has seen Elizabeth for only a few brief visits since Elizabeth left her as a young child to be raised by her father. Neither is sure what Diane wants from Elizabeth.
As the two struggle to connect, Elizabeth has a new experience: one of her spirit visions, a Mayan priestess named Zuhuy-kak, can see and speak with Elizabeth. Zuhuy-kak provides unprecedented knowledge about the Mayans' departure from Dzibilchaltún, and leads Elizabeth to the major archaeological find her team needs, but demands a sacrifice to the goddess Ix Chebel Yax. As the dig progresses, haunted by bad luck and tragedy, Zuhuy-kak makes it clear that Elizabeth must sacrifice her daughter.
Of course, were this novel written today, Elizabeth would sacrifice her daughter without thinking twice about it and the plot would instead revolve around which of her two lesbian lovers Elizabeth would choose to marry in a civil ceremony in Mexico City, Zuhuy-kak or Ix Chebel Yax. It is perhaps worth observing that this "fantasy masterwork", published in 1986, presently has 28 reviews averaging 4.0, is out of print, and is ranked 1,640,443 on Amazon.
Interestingly enough, one reviewer observed back in 2005: "This Novel is NOT Science Fiction and is a mundane novel as well. This novel should NOT have won the award for what was called the best science fiction novel. 1987, the year of this novel, is thus the start of the Feminist takeover of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), now called the Science fiction and FANTASY Writers of America."
German unification altered the equilibrium of Europe because no constitutional arrangement could change the reality that Germany alone was again the strongest European state. The single currency produced a degree of unity that had not been seen in Europe since the Holy Roman Empire. Would the EU achieve the global role its charter proclaimed, or would it, like Charles V’s empire, prove incapable of holding itself together?He also, in passing, explains something that I mentioned yesterday, which is how the West planted the seeds for the third great wave of Islamic expansion that we now know as ISIS and the global jihad.
The new structure represented in some sense a renunciation of Westphalia. Yet the EU can also be interpreted as Europe’s return to the Westphalian international state system that it created, spread across the globe, defended, and exemplified through much of the modern age—this time as a regional, not a national, power, as a new unit in a now global version of the Westphalian system. The outcome has combined aspects of both the national and the regional approaches without, as yet, securing the full benefits of either.
In the spring of 1947, Hassan al-Banna, an Egyptian watchmaker, schoolteacher, and widely read self-taught religious activist, addressed a critique of Egyptian institutions to Egypt’s King Farouk titled “Toward the Light.” It offered an Islamic alternative to the secular national state. In studiedly polite yet sweeping language, al-Banna outlined the principles and aspirations of the Egyptian Society of Muslim Brothers (known colloquially as the Muslim Brotherhood), the organization he had founded in 1928 to combat what he saw as the degrading effects of foreign influence and secular ways of life....Through its attempts to impose a Westphalian order on the dar al-Islam and its development of the concept of world revolution, the secular West inadvertently created a rival it cannot possibly defeat on its own. The secular West's advantages - science and technology - are readily utilized by the jihad, while its weaknesses of demoralization, apathy, multiculturalism, and demographic decline are both readily exploited and easily avoided.
The West, al-Banna asserted, “which was brilliant by virtue of its scientific perfection for a long time … is now bankrupt and in decline. Its foundations are crumbling, and its institutions and guiding principles are falling apart.” The Western powers had lost control of their own world order: “Their congresses are failures, their treaties are broken, and their covenants torn to pieces.” The League of Nations, intended to keep the peace, was “a phantasm.” Though he did not use the terms, al-Banna was arguing that the Westphalian world order had lost both its legitimacy and its power. And he was explicitly announcing that the opportunity to create a new world order based on Islam had arrived. “The Islamic way has been tried before,” he argued, and “history has testified as to its soundness.” If a society were to dedicate itself to a “complete and all-encompassing” course of restoring the original principles of Islam and building the social order the Quran prescribes, the “Islamic nation in its entirety”—that is, all Muslims globally—“will support us”; “Arab unity” and eventually “Islamic unity” would result.
How would a restored Islamic world order relate to the modern international system, built around states? A true Muslim’s loyalty, al-Banna argued, was to multiple, overlapping spheres, at the apex of which stood a unified Islamic system whose purview would eventually embrace the entire world. His homeland was first a “particular country”; “then it extends to the other Islamic countries, for all of them are a fatherland and an abode for the Muslim”; then it proceeds to an “Islamic Empire” on the model of that erected by the pious ancestors, for “the Muslim will be asked before God” what he had done “to restore it.” The final circle was global: “Then the fatherland of the Muslim expands to encompass the entire world.
To paraphrase the immortal words of LTC Tom Kratman, if you're going to wage a religious war, you damn well better bring a religion. And as one reader noted: "In 100 years, either Norway will be an Islamic republic or there will be statues of Anders Breivik in every Norwegian town."