Atvelonis's recent activity

  1. Comment on When was the first time you felt different? in ~talk

    Atvelonis
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    I had a relatively sheltered childhood. The first time that I felt as though I was different from my peers was right after getting to college, when the imposter syndrome slammed me in the face. I...

    I had a relatively sheltered childhood. The first time that I felt as though I was different from my peers was right after getting to college, when the imposter syndrome slammed me in the face. I had gotten into a highly ranked liberal arts institution, and it felt as though literally everyone around me was miles ahead in every conceivable way. It didn't help that the Dean of Admissions, in his welcoming speech to the first-year class, listed about a hundred "interesting achievements" that people in my class had made: started a successful international charity, been the first author on a major work of astrophysical research, worked on important political campaigns, been the first in their entire community (in rural Africa!) to go to college, etc. Nothing I had done was on there, and that made me feel pretty bad, and a little terrified.

    It was far from a competitive environment, but in the moment, with all of these insane accomplishments whirling around my head, I felt as though my presence at this institution was a mistake, and that I was doomed to fail. I was a legacy, and I was applying ED, giving me an unfair advantage in the admissions process. I had done relatively well in school, but my academics certainly weren't my hook. For various reasons I felt as though I hadn't really earned either of my recommendations, and that I had largely advanced in my extracurriculars by circumstance. The only achievement that I would say I had actually earned was Eagle Scout, and even for that, I had the socioeconomic means and familial support (however vague) to pursue such things as a teenager.

    Things have more or less worked out since then, thank God, but I'm never going to forget the feelings of ultimate insignificance and inadequacy I went through at the time.

    13 votes
  2. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    Atvelonis
    Link
    I just finished reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not really sure what the right word is, but I walked away feeling a bit directionless, or apprehensive. It was a good read probably...

    I just finished reading Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not really sure what the right word is, but I walked away feeling a bit directionless, or apprehensive. It was a good read probably for that reason. The narrator is sort of dulled to life; he has interests, but goes through the motions like a machine. School, work, eat, repeat, with his hobbies almost as a distraction, but with no actual purpose. He can talk to people well enough to hold a conversation, but doesn't have many real friends; when he interacts with another person, other than the romantic interests of the story, he makes almost no effort to engage with them intellectually. The fact that they are autonomous creatures like him, with their own lives and their own perceptions, is barely something he recognizes. When he does make a new friend, he does so almost as an instinct or habit, or out of boredom, not because he actually cares about them. He simply responds to input.

    It's depressing to witness in the story and personally hits me kind of hard because, lately, I've been feeling as though that's the way I often end up interacting with people. What is this person saying to me? What can they offer me? Who should I talk with to get this emotion I want? The novel's desensitized take on sex is a little disillusioning and I found myself becoming more and more disgusted with the narrator as the novel progressed, sexually and emotionally. Everything he does just makes his situation morally worse, somehow, even if what's happening isn't even really a bad thing. His character resonates with me in a way that I don't like because his life feels variously pointless, or wasted, or just hopelessly wrong in a way that can't even be defined by words.

    I'm glad that I read Norwegian Wood, but I think I need to go for something a little happier next!

    7 votes
  3. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    I finished 2312 this summer and felt similarly. Kim Stanley Robinson's worlbuilding is the strongest part of the novel. Not just the colonies and the terraforming technologies and such (I've not...

    I finished 2312 this summer and felt similarly. Kim Stanley Robinson's worlbuilding is the strongest part of the novel. Not just the colonies and the terraforming technologies and such (I've not read very much science fiction, so I don't know how original the idea is, but the whole structure with Terminator on Mercury is so interesting to me!), but as you said, also the commentary on gender and biological changes to humanity in general.

    I thought that the story was useful because of its discussion about the impermanent/vulnerable nature of space exploration, but it did feel sort of secondary to the systems that KSR was designing.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on When do you feel the most alive? in ~talk

    Atvelonis
    Link
    I'm a fencer, and participate in competitive tournaments throughout a large duration of the year. I had this realization sometime in this past winter; I distinctly remember finishing a bout and...

    I'm a fencer, and participate in competitive tournaments throughout a large duration of the year. I had this realization sometime in this past winter; I distinctly remember finishing a bout and thinking to myself, "This is what I live for." I have a lot of hobbies, but fencing is the only one of mine that really combines the adrenaline rush you get from physical exercise with the tactical and technical considerations of outsmarting an opponent one-on-one. As much as I enjoy playing video games, for example, they're on a completely different level.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on The 50 best video games of the 21st century in ~games

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I find it strange that The Witness wasn't listed, and indeed very telling about what kind of video game players the authors are. The issue here is that the authors do not have a thesis about what...

    I find it strange that The Witness wasn't listed, and indeed very telling about what kind of video game players the authors are.

    The issue here is that the authors do not have a thesis about what exactly constitutes a "good video game." There is no introduction to this article; it simply begins listing titles. There are plenty of ways to rank such artistic works in a way that respects the subjective nature of the medium, but you actually have to start from somewhere. Is the best game one that provokes creativity in the playerbase? Intellectual and philosophical growth? Problem-solving? Introspection? Meta analysis of the video game industry? A combination of some or all of these? I don't know! The issue isn't any particular choice of popularity, but rather the ambiguity in the article about which route they decided to take.

    I am continually surprised by how highly Skyrim ranks in these lists despite its being literally incomplete, deeply buggy, and having extremely repetitive, simplistic gameplay—and how every video game critic who has ever lived has somehow also come to the consensus that the game's story is "unmemorable." (The game does have a sandbox allure, but you kind of have to ignore every detail in the entire game to consider its story and worldbuilding, which are inherently intertwined, boring.) Skyrim isn't on here because it has merits in and of itself that qualify it as the 11th-best game of all time, it's on here because it sold very well and has remained in the public consciousness for nearly a decade. This is not really a representation of the "objective quality" presumed by the article (not that that's a real thing), just marketability. It happens to have been ported to a lot of platforms and is very accessible, both culturally and in terms of gameplay. I think the authors are aware of this, but just don't care. This list isn't supposed to measure artistic value; it measures raw popularity slightly balanced for Metacritic scores, i.e. it is supposed to generate clicks for the newspaper. Because the author's rankings are therefore going to align closely with those of the general consumer base of video games, you end up with a somewhat generic/predictable list.

    I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with thinking that the best games out there are the ones that have stuck around in our memories for the longest time. This is a big part of the way that I decide which books from days of yore to read; there are too many to choose from, so I start by looking at the big sellers/perpetually culturally significant works from a given time period and narrowing down from there based on actual characteristics. What I dislike about this article in particular is that it doesn't even admit that this is its approach. The trope on the internet is that you're not allowed to like popular things, so of course they wouldn't state it outright, but it still cheapens any meaning that they tried to get through.

    11 votes
  6. Comment on I finished playing through The Witness. in ~games

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    I played the game a little while ago, so I've forgotten some of the details, but I do remember that the "normal" ending with the mountain was deceptively simple. There's a good amount more, and I...

    I played the game a little while ago, so I've forgotten some of the details, but I do remember that the "normal" ending with the mountain was deceptively simple. There's a good amount more, and I would absolutely recommend diving back in. The "Challenge" achievement is aptly named. I think it's worth it. That's separate from the alternate/secret ending mentioned above, though, just to be clear.

    I got the impression while playing The Witness that Jonathon Blow was not very interested in adhering to the typical or banal expectations you have for a video game. There's a general sort of structure with finishing each section and then going to the mountain for that final sequence, but the game doesn't give you stupid rewards to encourage you to finish puzzles or anything. i.e. there's no artificial progression system, which is nice. It means that you can play simply because you enjoy the puzzles, not because you feel pressured to be a completionist for no reason. I rather wish more games were like this.

    On that note, if you want to finish all of the environmental puzzles because you like them, go for it! I agree that they're satisfying to complete. But you shouldn't feel like you have to do them, if they start to feel like a chore. Personally, I love all of the puzzles in The Witness, but puzzle fatigue is a real thing. I think it's a gorgeous game, visually, aesthetically, philosophically, the whole kit and caboodle. It might be the best game I've ever played? If not, it's definitely up there. Have fun with it. :)

    4 votes
  7. Comment on Proposals for new groups - July 2019 in ~tildes.official

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Tildes is approximately 85% male. This is not unusual for online communities, which is problematic. I think it's more than worthwhile to acknowledge the inherent maleness of the internet insofar...

    This would also inevitably imply that the rest is a male space. [...] This here is basically some sort of gender segregation, and it presupposes what men would be interested in.

    Tildes is approximately 85% male. This is not unusual for online communities, which is problematic. I think it's more than worthwhile to acknowledge the inherent maleness of the internet insofar as the flow of discussion may be negatively affected by a lack of diverse perspectives. Like it or not, the internet is already awfully gender-segregated, and ignoring the issue is not going to solve it. The value of "girl talk" communities is not to somehow segregate anyone further, but to introduce spaces where the voices of women are better represented in places where they are most certainly underrepresented as it is.

    I'm also really averse to the illogical "if you're not X, you can't comment on topics that regard X", which would be encouraged by the existence of a group like this.

    /r/TwoXChromosomes, rooted in a similar concept, notes regarding male participation in their FAQ, "All are welcome. It's not really about who you are, but about the quality of the discussion you'll generate. Absolutely feel free to comment." A "girl talk" subreddit doesn't inherently imply that men are unwelcome, but rather that they need to take their participation much more seriously than they would in a subreddit whose focal point is not about representation from a traditionally underrepresented group.

    This doesn't just apply to the internet. When I got to university I was right next door to a women's college, the existence of which would only raise an eyebrow if your perspective of equality is entirely theoretical. The reason that spaces like this exist not only online but in real life is because women are in fact underrepresented nearly everywhere, most importantly in powerful political/economic positions. Spaces led by women encourage thoughtful discourse about women's issues/perspectives in a way that spaces dominated by men—the default on Tildes or almost any other website—inherently cannot.

    18 votes
  8. Comment on Oregon will allow students to take “mental health days” just as they would sick days, expanding the reasons for excused school absences to include mental or behavioral health in ~health

    Atvelonis
    Link
    The article brings up the flimsy opposition to the bill ("they'll just use it to cut"), and this quote from one of the students who introduced the legislation is an excellent counterpoint: This is...

    The article brings up the flimsy opposition to the bill ("they'll just use it to cut"), and this quote from one of the students who introduced the legislation is an excellent counterpoint:

    “Why should we encourage lying to our parents and teachers?” she said. “Being open to adults about our mental health promotes positive dialogue that could help kids get the help they need.”

    This is really important! So many people in this country delude themselves with the idea that mental health problems are things that can just be ignored. "What do you mean, 'I'm depressed'? Have you tried being a little happier?" The criticizing parents are correct to say that students could just pretend to be physically ill if they really need to stay home, but that only further encourages this cult of ignorance surrounding mental health. (If you can't see it, it must not be real!) With the advent of the internet I think there's been a certain amount more discussion about mental health entering the public consciousness, although we still have a long way to go. Hopefully other states will follow suit in this regard in the foreseeable future.

    11 votes
  9. Comment on What’s left of liberalism?: Why the left and right both seem to agree that liberalism has failed us. in ~misc

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    Thank you for the links! I'll have to read up on this more, evidently.

    Thank you for the links! I'll have to read up on this more, evidently.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on What’s left of liberalism?: Why the left and right both seem to agree that liberalism has failed us. in ~misc

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    That's true, and I agree that this sort of pessimism will probably encourage more proactive behavior by young people in the long term. However, I think that the smug "old, conservative people will...

    That's true, and I agree that this sort of pessimism will probably encourage more proactive behavior by young people in the long term. However, I think that the smug "old, conservative people will just die off if we give it time" sentiment is nevertheless staggeringly prevalent among Gen Z. The phrase "old, white men" is used in nearly every conversation about politics on a college campus, and not without reason, but what is missing from these discussion about the domineering class is that it is not a static entity.

    These old men were young once, and their children are going to inherit not only their raw wealth, but the socioeconomic perspective that comes alongside it. Simply observing that young people tend to be more liberal and older people tend to be more conservative is not enough; one must also recognize that the process of becoming older and more ingrained in the capitalist system naturally pushes people from the left to the center. And leftism, focused on a utopia that has never actually been achieved, is too academic to take precedent over the moderate's dream of an eternal status quo.

    5 votes
  11. Comment on What’s left of liberalism?: Why the left and right both seem to agree that liberalism has failed us. in ~misc

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    I think by "liberal-left alliance" he meant "everyone who isn't on the right." Not that a Marxist and a neoliberal necessarily agree on very much, but that they have a fundamental expectation that...

    I think by "liberal-left alliance" he meant "everyone who isn't on the right." Not that a Marxist and a neoliberal necessarily agree on very much, but that they have a fundamental expectation that they will be able to outlast the "conservative generations" as time continues, hence his elaboration upon the flares of the surprisingly high number of right-leaning members of Generation Z. This is bound tightly to the inclination of modern peoples to believe that things simply "get better" as time goes on, which is both unreasonable and simply false.

    It's true that demographic shifts in the United States have led, generally speaking, to a more left-leaning populace. More Americans are moving to diverse and densely-populated cities, hubs of anti-conservative sentiment, or at the very least areas in which it is significantly harder to remain completely encapsulated by long-held opinions. Cities, if nothing else, develop the way people perceive each other; more groups of people interacting with each other more often means fewer misunderstandings between them. Any significant movement to the left in America has been caused by this, which was itself caused by changing economic tides; there are simply more opportunities for success in cities.

    The problem here is that both leftists and neoliberals anticipate that this shift is going to continue indefinitely, by virtue of time being the independent variable, when in fact it is being slowed by the newfound ability of conservative groups to coordinate ideas more cohesively than they could in the past. Before the internet allowed the ideas of literally anyone on the planet to proliferate undeterred, the best way to provoke change was in a place with a lot of people. Cities, leaning to the left, are great for that. It would follow that as cities inevitably grow and rural areas inevitable decline, this lean to the left will become a leap.

    But this is not what is happening. Because a person in Manhattan can now just as easily read a tweet from rural Nebraska as they can Brooklyn, this passive political shift to the left is starting to actively be reversed. Neither leftists nor liberals, each convinced that anything other than the right will prevail in time, are doing much to counter the rise of conservatism online. This is the fundamental problem that everyone left of center is facing.

    10 votes
  12. Comment on Reddit's 'Manosphere' and the Challenge of Quantifying Hate in ~tech

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link
    I appreciate the general message that this is sending, but it doesn't mention any of the subreddits that exist to counter the misogynistic take that /r/TheRedPill and other such communities have...

    I appreciate the general message that this is sending, but it doesn't mention any of the subreddits that exist to counter the misogynistic take that /r/TheRedPill and other such communities have taken. My favorite one is /r/MensLib, which takes a far more nuanced and less circlejerk-y approach to any and all discussions of "men's issues" than /r/MensRights et al. From the sidebar:

    Welcome! /r/MensLib is a community to explore and address men's issues in a positive and solutions-focused way. Through discussing the male gender role, providing mutual support, raising awareness on men's issues, and promoting efforts that address them, we hope to create active progress on issues men face, and to build a healthier, kinder, and more inclusive masculinity. We recognize that men's issues often intersect with race, sexual orientation and identity, disability, socioeconomic status, and other axes of identity, and encourage open discussion of these considerations. We consider ourselves a pro-feminist community.

    Emphasis mine. This is a productive way to engage in discussion about these topics, yet it gets staggeringly little media attention, or even from Redditors themselves. Even many users on Reddit who do not actively participate in toxic subs still identify more strongly with the kneejerk reactions and paranoid rants about women that happen in redpilled communities than they do with the legitimate, level-headed, and thoughtful discourse that exists in bluepilled ones. Hence, /r/MensLib has 70,000 subscribers, and /r/MensRights has 225,000. The later is older, certainly, but the author of this article is still completely right to state that the tone of men's issues has shifted in the past few years, and not for the better. Redditors make it worse by turning a blind eye.

    17 votes
  13. Comment on The Culture War Has Finally Come For Wikipedia in ~tech

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I agree that they're certainly not insignificant per se—2% of administrative actions is a large absolute value—but because of how big Wikipedia is, I'm not convinced that any of these hits are big...

    I agree that they're certainly not insignificant per se—2% of administrative actions is a large absolute value—but because of how big Wikipedia is, I'm not convinced that any of these hits are big enough to be seriously concerned about in the long term.

    My comparatively tiny wiki took a major user rights hit a few years back (petty drama, mostly). From August 2014 to January 2015, we lost 12 administrators. Of those 12, only 5 were at all active, but after this mass exodus we had exactly 2 remaining administrators, 0 of whom were active in any meaningful capacity; that is effectively a 100% decrease in administrative actions (or, at best, 83%). And yet, by some miracle, the wiki stands today, and functions perfectly well! We're a bit short on the old guard, naturally, but enough institutional memory was preserved through other staff members and written documentation that the community was able to regroup and get back to work. Nowadays, I think we are actually one of the better-functioning wikis out there.

    These things do become exponentially harder to manage as the scale of the site increases, but I think that Wikipedia's remaining userbase is still more than equipped to handle this.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on The Culture War Has Finally Come For Wikipedia in ~tech

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    I personally think this is actually not as big a deal for Wikipedia as it is being made out to be by the media and themselves. While 21 resignations is not insubstantial, it is also important to...

    I personally think this is actually not as big a deal for Wikipedia as it is being made out to be by the media and themselves. While 21 resignations is not insubstantial, it is also important to note that Wikipedia still has 1132 users with the "administrator" right. Some of these users are more inactive than others, but admins are procedurally culled for inactivity, so most of these users are either somewhat or very active on the site.

    Wikipedia will be perfectly fine. Given the issue at hand here, the people leaving are very likely somewhat toxic themselves, or lack the proper judgment to hold a leadership role.

  15. Comment on The Culture War Has Finally Come For Wikipedia in ~tech

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I'm surprised I missed this thread. I've been editing a sizable wiki for just under five years now, and have been an administrator on it for four of those, bureaucrat for three. While my community...

    I'm surprised I missed this thread. I've been editing a sizable wiki for just under five years now, and have been an administrator on it for four of those, bureaucrat for three. While my community is generally much sweeter than Wikipedia's, being so much smaller, we have run into the "he's a good editor, so we'll give him another chance" issue on more than one occasion.

    At a certain point, a bureaucrat just has to put their foot down. You're completely right to say that toxic behavior drives away future editors; admins need to think about these things in terms of "net gain" and "net loss," not short-term benefit. It doesn't matter how prolific one single editor is; the site is made up of many, and if that one editor is discouraging a lot of people from editing, their net contribution is negative, regardless of how many beautiful pages they create.

    Most community leaders do not put much consideration into administrative theory, especially on wikis. This is a mistake. If you cannot recognize bad behavior, then you are part of the problem. The issue is not really structural insofar as the idea of centralizing power among specific people can and does work in other environments. At work, for example, your boss can fire you. Someone who is in the same position as you cannot do that. There's a certain capacity for misuse here, but in a well-managed company with thoughtful hiring strategies, a dictatorial boss is not an issue. The boss is instead a philosopher-king for his work, so to speak.

    Wikis are exactly the same; they just need to become more established, and go through a tougher selection process for staff. Currently, I believe that the process for user rights requests on Wikipedia is incredibly loose. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia's "requests for adminship" page:

    There are no official prerequisites for adminship other than having an account, but the likelihood of passing without being able to show significant positive contributions to the encyclopedia is low. The community looks for a variety of factors in candidates and discussion can be intense.

    The problem here is that the community doesn't actually do a very good job of vetting candidates in a public vote. They look at their contributions, see that they're good, and then glance at their talk page. If the aspiring sysop has not made any cartoonishly offensive remarks in the past few months, they give it the go-ahead. Some users ask probing questions during the application, but they are rarely hard to answer and most voters do not think about them for more than a minute. The only time that someone in the wider community opposes a request for adminship is when they have personally been affected by misbehavior, or it is incredibly obvious that a candidate is undeserving of the role they are applying for. What Wikipedia needs is a much more thorough staff selection process; it needs specific behavioral guidelines, probably a private interview with a panel of bureaucrats (I've held them on my wiki; they work wonders), and, importantly, an emphasis on kindness just as much as pragmatism. The expectation must be that they are pleasant.

    The idea of giving out "many small permissions" is interesting, and I know that at least one of our sister wikis is considering taking a baby step in that direction. However, there are some permissions that are simply not tenable in large groups; the most salient of these is user blocks. It's not really like a social shunning, where people simply refuse to engage with someone toxic. That already happens on wikis. Blocking is a step up from almost any other permission because it literally changes the makeup of the community; there's no way for a permission like this to exist in MediaWiki and work in a decentralized fashion. It would take a complete revamp of the system to work, and, if completely decentralized, would still be subject to mob mentality.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on Oregon governor sends police to find missing Republicans, bring them to Capitol in ~news

    Atvelonis
    Link
    This is nice and all, but someone who makes six figures is not going to care about such a small fine, especially if they're in hiding as a political stunt. I don't see why lawmakers are so...

    Senate Democrats also announced that missing GOP lawmakers would be fined $500 per day. The money will be deducted from their per diem and salary.

    This is nice and all, but someone who makes six figures is not going to care about such a small fine, especially if they're in hiding as a political stunt. I don't see why lawmakers are so hesitant to apply bigger fines to the uber-rich. It's the same for massive corporations: what's $1 million to a company that makes that much in an hour?

    7 votes
  17. Comment on Harvard rescinds admission to Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv over past comments in ~news

    Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Not that I disagree with you, but the way that the media picks up on incidents like this makes it seem like the use of racial slurs in American high schools is uncommon. This is absolutely untrue;...

    Not that I disagree with you, but the way that the media picks up on incidents like this makes it seem like the use of racial slurs in American high schools is uncommon. This is absolutely untrue; I made a comment on the topic here several months ago. In my anecdotal experience, students who throw around racial slurs pass off such language as "just a joke." They're considered weird by their classmates, but because these are the kids who have been acting annoying since kindergarten, many students simply accept that they're just goofing around.

    Those who are a little more keen will obviously disapprove of such language, and may comment on it in private, but it's pretty rare for them to actually call anyone out on it. There are social reasons for this: it doesn't matter how much moral high ground you have, in a closed social environment like a school, especially smaller ones, starting any kind of drama leads to an incredible amount of backlash, spite, and general discomfort. If you call out people for racism, you will get a reputation for being pushy or obnoxious, even if people agree with what you're saying.

    High schoolers aren't stupid. They understand that racial slurs are bad. They use them because they think they're funny. Their classmates see this, recognize that it's problematic, and continue to act as bystanders because the action of calling out someone for bad behavior, especially someone with a lot of friends, is an instant way to invite four years of nastiness upon yourself.

    6 votes
  18. Comment on Comment vote counts are now visible again in ~tildes.official

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    I also really liked not being able to see votes. Personally, I'd prefer if votes were hidden to everyone other than the creator by default for a certain period of time, perhaps a week, so that you...

    I also really liked not being able to see votes. Personally, I'd prefer if votes were hidden to everyone other than the creator by default for a certain period of time, perhaps a week, so that you could eventually receive feedback on your comments, but wouldn't have to deal with the social pressures associated with a popularity dynamic in internet comments while actively engaging with the community. I felt like my comments were less composed and more naturally spoken when I wasn't thinking about that.

    14 votes
  19. Comment on DOOM Eternal – Official E3 Story Trailer in ~games

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    Honestly, the story isn't the thing that compels me to play DOOM, it's the visceral action (the power behind the guns, the effects in combat, etc.) combined with the visual aesthetic and the...

    Honestly, the story isn't the thing that compels me to play DOOM, it's the visceral action (the power behind the guns, the effects in combat, etc.) combined with the visual aesthetic and the soundtrack that really make it stand apart. I would play DOOM even if it didn't have a narrative at all beyond killing demons. It's just fun.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on It is official, the smoking age will be 21 in Texas in ~news

    Atvelonis
    Link Parent
    You're right that smoking isn't great for brain development, but I don't think that's the full picture. In the case of alcohol, in my anecdotal experience, underage drinkers actually tend to be...

    You're right that smoking isn't great for brain development, but I don't think that's the full picture. In the case of alcohol, in my anecdotal experience, underage drinkers actually tend to be the most unhealthy about it. There's a certain risk factor or coolness associated with alcohol that appeals to teenagers, so going all-out and getting completely wasted is the best way to stick it to the man and have fun. However, I don't think this holds true once you reach the arbitrary age of 21 and alcohol becomes legally accessible. At that point, I think most people start to drink less because there's no element of illicit behavior anymore. It's just drinking.

    I will say that it's pretty insane how accepted straight-up alcoholism is on college campuses (for example) in this country, especially in fraternities and sports teams. Administrators will make an effort to cut down on underage drinking to avoid legal liability, but the students never care, and do it anyway. It doesn't help that they'll usually get in trouble for reporting a safety incident if there's any alcohol involved, despite what admin says.

    9 votes