AFineAccount's recent activity

  1. Comment on Proposals for new groups - July 2019 in ~tildes.official

    AFineAccount
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    It could help by avoiding the term 'science' altogether. Instead of using ~socialscience, where conversations would naturally be framed around 'harder' research methods found in hard sciences, it...

    It could help by avoiding the term 'science' altogether. Instead of using ~socialscience, where conversations would naturally be framed around 'harder' research methods found in hard sciences, it may be better to have a group specifically for qualitative research.

    A name like ~qualitativeresearch would immediately differentiate itself from traditional notions of 'hard' research and could do a better job at framing conversations around topics like economics or psychology. From there, topics could just be organized by subgroup. For example, ~qualitativeresearch.psychology.

    The only problem I can think of is that these topics do also use quantitative research, and the group would exclude those. Maybe a ~quantitativeresearch group would be good too.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on What are you doing this weekend? in ~talk

    AFineAccount
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    Mostly the same as I’ve been doing for every weekend for the past few months now. I’m going to write a few articles for work, apply to some more jobs, and get absolutely plastered before playing...

    Mostly the same as I’ve been doing for every weekend for the past few months now. I’m going to write a few articles for work, apply to some more jobs, and get absolutely plastered before playing AMP (tabletop game) on Sunday.

    Except for tomorrow. My mom recently discovered she actually has a family, and the half-brother she got in contact with (my half-uncle) is coming down to visit. Family’s a sensitive issue for me, and I’m approaching this guy with caution, and I probably won’t spend more than an hour with him. But it’s nice to know that I do in fact have blood-related family beyond my immediate one.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on Boris Johnson will be the UK's new prime minister in ~news

    AFineAccount
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    Yikes. This isn't going to be good for the UK, or Europe as a whole. They only have three months before Johnson's ego collides with political and legislative reality. However, this may also...

    Yikes. This isn't going to be good for the UK, or Europe as a whole. They only have three months before Johnson's ego collides with political and legislative reality.

    However, this may also provide an interesting glimpse into the inevitable consequences far-right leaders across the world will have to face after reality sets into their administrations. I'm curious to see if the UK will be able to negotiate a deal out of sheer necessity to avoid a hard Brexit. I'm even curious if people will decide now is the time to start finding ways to rebel against an out-of-control administration.

    Anything is possible now. We live in interesting times.

    9 votes
  4. Comment on Elementary education has gone terribly wrong: In the early grades, US schools value reading-comprehension skills over knowledge. The results are devastating, especially for poor kids in ~life

    AFineAccount
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    I'd be interested to see how much of the gap between low-income students and high-income students who have both been exposed to similar comprehension-focused materials comes down to a matter of...

    I'd be interested to see how much of the gap between low-income students and high-income students who have both been exposed to similar comprehension-focused materials comes down to a matter of digital illiteracy. Lower-income homes typically do not benefit from the same internet connection quality that upper-income homes do, and have fewer skills when it comes to verifying and trusting the information they find online.

    This digital divide may hinder children's ability to acquire the knowledge they need to perform at similar levels as upper-income students. Basically, as upper-income students have increasingly greater access to information and knowledge than lower-level ones, it doesn't matter how much comprehension skills either group has. The digital gap between them will grow.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    AFineAccount
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    I love your insights on postmodernism. Although I haven't read the Postmodern Condition yet, it's on my list now. Most of my understanding of postmodern thought comes from secondhand cultural...

    I love your insights on postmodernism. Although I haven't read the Postmodern Condition yet, it's on my list now. Most of my understanding of postmodern thought comes from secondhand cultural critics like Zizek (I know, it doesn't help my case).

    However, House of Leaves does dabble with some of the things you wrote about. While there are kinds of knowledge which can never be reduced to denotative statements, that doesn't mean they inherently share the same meanings across individuals. Everyone intuitively 'knows' what justice is, for example, but few realize that one person's understanding of justice isn't the same as another's. And that's the vital function of meta-narratives: to transform knowledge into shared understanding. The metanarrative around justice provides what people need to understand their own personal definition of justice, and how it relates to other people's definitions of it. Metanarratives give knowledge a purpose and a place in the world, and without that level of utility, the pursuit of knowledge is self-destructive.

    Knowledge that can't be used, and can't be transformed into understanding, is madness. The pursuit of it is a race into the recesses of one's own mind, where without the guidance of meaning, one can be lost. Metanarratives provide the tools with which people can use knowledge, and therefore prevent insanity.

    To use an example from House of Leaves, the hallway that suddenly appears in Navidson's home can be thought of as a raw representation of knowledge itself. The hallway is impossibly placed, and its nature defines the rules of the reality which Navidson and his family inhabit — much in the same way knowledge of banal genocides in Yugoslavia or even the Holocaust defies the metanarratives defining human nature. In my opinion, these are kinds of events are what most contemporary notions of postmodernism find their foundation in. And when Navidson explores the hallway, or when people try to understand the Holocaust, they become lost. There is no guidance, no map or metanarrative they can use to trace back to reality or to other people. The hallway and the Holocaust innately lack definition, because they lack a narrative they can be understood in.

    In my opinion, postmodernism shouldn't cast incredulity towards metanarratives. Instead, it should be about exploring their boundaries, as you mentioned. Postmodernism should be thought of as a framework in which new narratives can be constructed to provide understanding in a world where knowledge increasingly lacks definition and people are feeling increasingly lost within it. As much as I hate to use the word, it should be thought of as a toolset where meta-metanarratives can be built, so as to provide understanding to the increasingly insane knowledge found in the world.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    AFineAccount
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    It actually makes sense for youth turn away from the military internationally. This generation is awash in so many new ideas and conceptions of the roles states should play in people’s lives that...

    It actually makes sense for youth turn away from the military internationally. This generation is awash in so many new ideas and conceptions of the roles states should play in people’s lives that conscription would naturally come under question. Unfortunately, I’m speaking from a purely US perspective, and here the military is continually revered as a force for absolute good.

    With the rising costs of higher education, and the falling value of degrees, the military is seen as a good way to acquire practical, marketable skills while also paying for a four-year degree. People are joining the military for the specific purpose of going to college afterwards, since it’s the only way they can afford it. Most people here see the military as a way to start a career, which is the most valuable thing anyone can have in the country.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    AFineAccount
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    I agree that much of the book comes from a very twisted viewpoint. I can also understand how Hedges would have developed those perspectives, too. He spent a lot of time covering wars, and many...

    I agree that much of the book comes from a very twisted viewpoint. I can also understand how Hedges would have developed those perspectives, too. He spent a lot of time covering wars, and many chapters usually fall into personal anecdotes about the Serbian genocide. At some points, the book feels like less a project to share his own philosophies about war, and more of a way to process some of the trauma he must have endured as a war journalist.

    At the same time though, I think it's hard to argue against the notion that most first-world societies depend on constant war in some way to function normally. The military is increasingly becoming the only way lower classes can hope to advance into higher socioeconomic positions, in my opinion. War is also becoming a political tool instead of a consequence of failed politics; it's something representatives can use to rally voters. Even first-world society's media seems increasingly fascinated by war, as stories about it find more space in both fiction and nonfiction.

    I enjoy that more thought is being given to the role war plays in modern society, but I also agree that Hedges may be taking the wrong approach and may have arrived at incorrect and potentially dangerous conclusions.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on What are you reading these days? #22 in ~books

    AFineAccount
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    For me, it's back to the classics. I'm reading House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, which is turning out to be exactly what I need. It's a landmark postmodern title in literature; on the surface,...

    For me, it's back to the classics. I'm reading House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, which is turning out to be exactly what I need. It's a landmark postmodern title in literature; on the surface, the story is a horror tale about a house that eats people. Thematically, it's a thoughtful masterpiece about the downfall of tradition and value itself — it's about the failure of the values that we hold dear to keep us sane in the complex, contemporary world.

    It's exactly what I need because I just finished War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, by Chris Hedges. This war journalist elegantly argues that war is a necessary part of contemporary life — it's an essential commodity necessary to keep the world running. He goes on to argue that war is the only thing that gives our lives meaning in a society as commercialized and hedonistic as ours. It begs the question that if the search for meaning only ever results in pain, what's its worth? Why search for meaning in your life if it will only be found through pain?

    I don't like to think about the arguments Hedges proposed in his book, but since postmodernism is inherently about doubting the existence of truth and meaning, House of Leaves has been comforting to me. It heralded the rise of postmodernism, and so its uniquely capable of comforting people who doubt the value of meaning in their lives.

    1 vote
  9. Comment on What is a scam that people should know about? in ~life

    AFineAccount
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    Ahh, I miss New York. Don't forget to include all the people dressed as Spiderman, Big Bird, or anything else in Times Square. They'll goad you into taking a picture with them, and then claim you...

    Ahh, I miss New York. Don't forget to include all the people dressed as Spiderman, Big Bird, or anything else in Times Square. They'll goad you into taking a picture with them, and then claim you owe them money because they have copyright over it since it has their likeness or something like that. And if you refuse, they'll threaten legal action.

    If you're in a public space, you don't have a say in what anyone does with our picture. These people prey on the fact that people don't know that. Nobody has any reasonable expectation of privacy in a place as public as Times Square.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Revealed: the Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right in ~news

    AFineAccount
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    I love the implication that this isn't the democratic process, even though the U.S. has been operating with this model every since Citizens United V. FEC. Can we even call the U.S.'s politics...

    Former US Democratic Senator Russ Feingold described our findings as “frightening” and called on European leaders to act to protect the democratic process

    I love the implication that this isn't the democratic process, even though the U.S. has been operating with this model every since Citizens United V. FEC. Can we even call the U.S.'s politics democratic anymore?

    1 vote
  11. Comment on After Pentagon ends contract, top-secret scientists group vows to carry on in ~science

    AFineAccount
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    I’d be interested to see how much this group looks into information-warfare style and influence campaign threats. With the 2020 election just a year and a half away, I definitely think it’s a...

    I’d be interested to see how much this group looks into information-warfare style and influence campaign threats. With the 2020 election just a year and a half away, I definitely think it’s a little shady for the Pentagon to start cutting intelligence sources.

    Then again, this is just one group of academics in an unseen sea of intelligence agents and other intelligence organizations. Losing one, however skilled they may be, probably won’t damage overall counterintelligence operations. Yet, it’s still a sign that other cuts may come, and that makes me nervous.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~news

    AFineAccount
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    I don't know when people will realize that true threats are not constitutionally protected speech. If someone posts something that demonstrates an intent to cause immediate violence, that person...

    I don't know when people will realize that true threats are not constitutionally protected speech. If someone posts something that demonstrates an intent to cause immediate violence, that person needs to be dealt with before people get hurt, such as with this.

    It doesn't matter if they hide behind a thin veil of anonymity, and the platform's stance on privacy certainly doesn't matter. If a person uses a platform to post a true threat and the platform doesn't alert the authorities or take proper steps to deal with it, that platform needs to be held accountable as well as the person that posted it. I just don't get why platforms like 8chan haven't been prosecuted yet, and why they're still allowed to stay online after demonstrating their unwillingness to deal with threats like these.

    6 votes
  13. Comment on What are you doing this weekend? in ~talk

    AFineAccount
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    It’s 4/20 today, so obviously I’m going to do my duty as a responsible citizen of a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana in any capacity and avoid all cannabis while helping improve my community...

    It’s 4/20 today, so obviously I’m going to do my duty as a responsible citizen of a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana in any capacity and avoid all cannabis while helping improve my community and collectively work towards a utopian vision of tomor... yeah no I’m getting high and replaying Bloodborne.

    Then on Sunday I’ll play D&D with my usual group. Overall, it looks like this will be a chill weekend. I may write a bit for a short story I’m working on, but that just comes down to whether I’m feeling like it. I have enough time during the week to finish it up, anyway.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on What song are you currently addicted to? in ~music

    AFineAccount
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    I thought I was the only person on the planet to listen to clipping. You should also listen to Air 'Em Out, Isombard - clipping. remix, or their story songs. It's very different from The Deep, but...

    I thought I was the only person on the planet to listen to clipping. You should also listen to Air 'Em Out, Isombard - clipping. remix, or their story songs. It's very different from The Deep, but they're still lyrical masterpieces.

  15. Comment on What song are you currently addicted to? in ~music

    AFineAccount
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    Right now, it's been Jackrabbit by San Fermin on loop. They're trained in classical, but branch out into some experimental rock stuff. The true value in this album is found in the lyrics. I'm...

    Right now, it's been Jackrabbit by San Fermin on loop. They're trained in classical, but branch out into some experimental rock stuff. The true value in this album is found in the lyrics. I'm convinced they'll resonate with anybody lonely enough to listen to them.

    It's betweem that and The Moss by Cosmo Sheldrake. A friend introduced me to him recently, and I'm astounded by his ability to merge lyrical masterpieces advocating for the value of folklore over fact while maintaining an adequately mellow rhythm.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Major for-profit college chain abruptly announces closure of dozens of schools in ~humanities

    AFineAccount
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    Honestly, good. "Colleges" like this are just scams to try and sell people fake tickets into the upper classes. They drive people into debt on false promises. And also, just to clarify the...

    Honestly, good. "Colleges" like this are just scams to try and sell people fake tickets into the upper classes. They drive people into debt on false promises. And also, just to clarify the article, the ACICS (the Education Corporation of America's accredititing agency, which was itself unrecognized recently and then re-recognized by the department of education. They also suspended the ECA's accreditation with intent to withdraw, which means this is almost certainly a final nail in the coffin for the company. They don't have much of a hope of reclaiming their accreditation.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on What are you reading these days? #8 in ~books

    AFineAccount
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    I found a new book, Unsheltered by Barabara Kingsolver which has kept me pretty busy recently. Kingsolver basically took the end-of-the-world feeling permeating our modern world and inserted it...

    I found a new book, Unsheltered by Barabara Kingsolver which has kept me pretty busy recently. Kingsolver basically took the end-of-the-world feeling permeating our modern world and inserted it into stories throughout time. It opens pretty fast, and you lose hope for these characters pretty fast only to grab it again, then lose, and grab it again and again and again.

    Unfortunately, I think her writing style is a bit pompous and bombastic. It manages to tell the stories, but it calls attention to itself and I just don't like that. It's worth it to read through the style, though.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on What have you been listening to this week? in ~music

    AFineAccount
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    I have a few. I live in Tennessee, and there are a few super-local artists who like to rap about the state. It's super underground music that doesn't have the benefit of the professional recording...

    I have a few.

    I live in Tennessee, and there are a few super-local artists who like to rap about the state. It's super underground music that doesn't have the benefit of the professional recording equipment, but I think some of them have potential.

    • Easy Money Music: They just dropped a new album, Bounce, which I haven't listened to yet. But if it's anything like they've done before, it should be good to just put on in the background while getting work done.
    • Keneff Sparrow: I'm pretty sure he's part of the above group. But he has the potential to stand on his own. He released a song, Tennessee, which offers a new perspective on the state other than just Elvis and Dolly Parton.

    My Spotify end-of-the-year-thing said that Science Fiction by Brand New was my most listened to album, and I believe it. The album is a kind of emo-punk-rock that I haven't heard in a while, and it focuses on spiritualism rather than anything like heartbreak, mental illness, or any other themes in the genre.

    I've also been listening to a lot of Book of Bad Decisions by Clutch and, what can I say? They're Clutch, they're their own record-label so they do whatever they want. They're just cerebral-alternative and downright awesome.

    Finally, I've been listening to a lot of synth stuff like After the Disco by Broken Bells or Need Your Light by Ra Ra Riot which are both just great albums if you want to feel something without fully understanding what. The lyrics are super-powerful, and the synth is great for helping you focus on studying, working, or really anything. Neither are new albums, but they're still just so good.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on Reddit is changing the r/popular algorithm so that more discussion-focused subreddits and posts gain visibility in ~tech

    AFineAccount
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    That's a really good point. I hadn't considered that they might be thinking of getting acquired. An IPO seems a bit extreme, but either way nobody (or at least, most people) aren't interested in...

    That's a really good point. I hadn't considered that they might be thinking of getting acquired. An IPO seems a bit extreme, but either way nobody (or at least, most people) aren't interested in buying a platform for hate speech.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on Reddit is changing the r/popular algorithm so that more discussion-focused subreddits and posts gain visibility in ~tech

    AFineAccount
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    I don't think this is so much a move in some incoherent long-term plan. Instead, this is probably a tactic to curtail extremism on smaller subs. I remember a while back spez was talking about how...

    I don't think this is so much a move in some incoherent long-term plan. Instead, this is probably a tactic to curtail extremism on smaller subs.

    I remember a while back spez was talking about how Reddit was trying to combat disinformation campaigns, and in most of his /r/announcement threads, people usually just try to goad him into finally addressing hate on his platform, directly. With this new platform, smaller subs will rise quicker and be exposed to more light. I imagine the Reddit team is hoping that more exposure means less disinformation and hate.

    But at the same time, you're right. I'm already using the app less and less. They may have just committed metaphorical suicide in an attempt to act in the social good. People are going to lose their platform less and less, and they're going to start bleeding money.

    2 votes