Atvelonis's recent activity
Comment on Whale hunts have been branded inhumane by activists and authorities as Icelandic report finds they suffer a long and painful death in ~enviro
Comment on Half of America’s banks are potentially insolvent – this is how a credit crunch begins in ~finance
AtvelonisI'm not qualified to speak about economics, but it's never made sense to me that banks are legally permitted such a low reserve requirement when lending. I realize that this limit being variable...
I'm not qualified to speak about economics, but it's never made sense to me that banks are legally permitted such a low reserve requirement when lending. I realize that this limit being variable can give regulators finer control over monetary policy, but I see little value in operating a banking system that repeatedly collapses over liquidity deficits. FDIC insurance is nice and all, but it would be better if financial institutions weren't encouraged to put themselves into a position of insolvency in the first place.
Comment on Buying my first car and want some advice in ~talk
AtvelonisOther commenters have provided useful advice about identifying your needs vs. wants. Here's something not explicitly mentioned: make sure you can actually afford this vehicle. The true cost of car...
Other commenters have provided useful advice about identifying your needs vs. wants. Here's something not explicitly mentioned: make sure you can actually afford this vehicle. The true cost of car ownership is dramatically higher than the cost of the vehicle itself: be sure you have carefully budgeted for the cost of taxes, insurance, routine maintenance, fuel, registration, parking, tolls, and other fees. Cars are true budget killers for the financially unsophisticated because much of their lifetime cost is separate from the sticker price.
Paying in cash isn't completely unreasonable with interest rates as they currently are. If you have a good credit score, there's technically an "opportunity cost" to doing this instead of taking out a loan, because you could theoretically get a higher return from investing most of the cash in an index fund (like 7–8%) than the interest rate of the auto loan (like 5–6%). Over a long period of time, this is not an insignificant amount of money. But honestly, so-called "good debt" is overrated—if you already have the cash ready, there's nothing like owning your assets outright. It certainly keeps your life simpler, even if it's not mathematically ideal.
Because purchasing a vehicle is a lifestyle change, you may also want to consider the cost of trips that you'll begin to take now that you can more easily travel. This is a form of "lifestyle inflation"—it's not inherently bad, you just have to be aware of how you're spending your money. It would also be prudent to consider how this affects your decisions on where to live as well as quantitative and qualitative effects stemming from that.
Best of luck!
Comment on The return of silvopasture in ~enviro
AtvelonisI was interested to read about the agricultural technique discussed in this article, "silvopasture," which supports local biodiversity, ecological resilience, and rainwater infiltration by...
I was interested to read about the agricultural technique discussed in this article, "silvopasture," which supports local biodiversity, ecological resilience, and rainwater infiltration by symbiotically linking animals, trees, and semi-wild grasses (pasture) in fields otherwise dominated by monocultural grasses and lacking tree canopy. It has the capacity to make a significant dent in global carbon emissions, offering "more than three times the emissions reductions possible with a transition to electric cars."
Unlike many changes to agriculture proposed by environmentalists, such as growing fewer water-intensive crops and eating less meat, silvopasture requires no adjustments to lifestyle by the consumer, just the adoption of more holistic and sustainable growing practices by cultivators. The practice is ancient, but not widely adopted in modern commercial farms in the United States, supposedly because the domestic agricultural industry—shielded by federal subsidies—has little economic pressure to recharacterize its strategy. Additionally, silvopasture requires specialized approaches in climates stricken by drought and other weather phenomena resulting from climate change.
Fortunately, when implemented carefully, silvopasture is not only environmentally preferable to separating crops from animals, but financially so—farmers engaging in the practice can significantly increase their per-acre output while reducing the need for manual ploughing and expensive chemical fertilizers and also giving their animals greater freedom of movement. Ongoing educational initiatives about silvopasture in the agricultural sector as well as greater awareness of the practice by constituents may encourage farmers and policymakers alike to sponsor the practice across the country.
The return of silvopasture8 votes
Comment on The age of average in ~design
Atvelonis(edited )LinkThank you for sharing this article. I value analyses like this, though deriding "sameness" in architecture is less new than I imagine the author believes, and also only part of the story: There is...
Thank you for sharing this article. I value analyses like this, though deriding "sameness" in architecture is less new than I imagine the author believes, and also only part of the story:
Cities once felt rooted in time and place. The Victorian grandeur of London. The Art Deco glamour of New York. The neon modernity of Tokyo. But with anodyne architecture spreading across the United States, cities are beginning to lose their contextual identities. They are all starting to look the same.
There is some irony in suggesting that these unified styles of architecture somehow lacked internal "sameness." Regardless, the "authenticity" that these designs apparently have mostly comes from their being from the semi-distant past (not too close, not too far); a time in our cultural history that we value, at least superficially. However, if you read old architectural critiques, New York's now-beloved brownstones were considered hideous by many eminent persons when they were proliferating. Frankly, I don't see why five-over-ones are different. They are pretty boring, but they operate in the same paradigm that "architecture represents cultural values" as any historical style.
In the 21st century, we do value a streamlined "sameness" in daily life, so it should come as no surprise that we (sometimes) live in buildings that represent this. It's a physical manifestation of capitalism. We intentionally structure our lives in a way that highlights efficiency and claims to maximize it because we believe that there's a correlation between productivity and "success." (Where happiness fits into the picture is murky.) The aesthetically spurious utilitarianism of modern architecture is not just a cultural fad but a natural outgrowth of a choice to prioritize construction velocity and affordability over "grounding" aesthetics. There is some merit to that, and I understand why it's become prevalent.
Admittedly I'm taking the above a bit out of context, because I do like the quote that follows:
Institutional developers march forward, ignorant of what makes Portland, Maine different from Portland, Oregon, or Philadelphia from Kansas City. Unique local traditions? Completely different climates? Hah! Joke’s on us. A box fits just as well in any of these places.
The author's concern with "sameness" seems to be less about sameness as a concept but rather its scope. I sympathize with the premise that the entire nation is being swept by merely one trend, because I think five-over-ones are kind of ugly, but the reality is that this is just one instance in a historical pattern: larger, but deceptively so. Two hundred years ago, the city you lived in was effectively the entire world. Technology has since expanded the scope of an individual's "world" such that what your city meant in 1823 is equivalent—for the privileged audience of this article—to what a whole state, country, or continent means in 2023. It shouldn't be surprising that the individual's desire for quotidian sameness in their environment has extended correspondingly.
From an individual's perspective, the Victorian design philosophy in a given city encroaches on established neighborhoods in the same way that the Capitalist Minimalist design philosophy in a given country encroaches on established cities. Aesthetic diversity can exist on infinitely granular levels; you just get used to what you have access to. This article is implicitly concerned with cultural erasure happening on a large scale, which I obviously agree is a concern, but this is only intelligible if we understand our sense of relativity. If we exclusively use a bird's-eye view framing of scale, then we actually miss out on the experience of people embodying a particular culture at a particular time. The idea of "everywhere" is not an absolute figure, so we should try to engage with the idea of something appearing or disappearing "everywhere" using an understanding of what our "everywhere" as privileged people in the West in 2023 is. It's not a universal constant; it's entirely contextual.
In this vein, the author doesn't spend much time on what I find the most important specific critique in this article, which is that architecture ought to serve a functional purpose for its physical context, but modern design is somewhat more focused on aesthetic for its own sake than utility (i.e. that capitalism is more interested in the veneer of utilitarianism than the real thing). This is really an environmental critique and is best exemplified by the tendency in American culture to value living in large homes on isolated, "picturesque" plots of land accessible only by salt-drowned asphalt roads; often built in floodplains; and with little consideration of rainfall patterns, wildlife, and native flora. The "sameness" of this design choice is problematic like that of a five-over-one, but I would draw the distinction that one of these has a relatively small environmental footprint for the number of people it houses and the other has a relatively large one (this is efficiency talking); and that environmentalism is more important than aesthetics (this is ethics talking). There's some unstated nuance here.
My takeaway isn't that people following trends in home décor, design, architecture, and fashion ought to be undesirable, and certainly not that boxy minimalism shall beget the end of times. Rather, we should understand why trends happen and how our understanding of trends is, in fact, a kind of "trend" in itself—a dynamic representation of our cultural values in the present moment. The optimist within me also tries to recognize that there is and will always be a surprising amount of diversity within a culture that is supposedly dominated by one value, belief, architecture, or design. If everything truly feels exactly the same, we aren't looking at it in the right way.
Comment on Cities Skylines 2 | Official announcement trailer in ~games
AtvelonisIf you're asking about realism, fair enough—though skyscrapers going up in three seconds is more of an eyebrow-raiser as far as I'm concerned. I would be potentially be interested in advanced...
If you're asking about realism, fair enough—though skyscrapers going up in three seconds is more of an eyebrow-raiser as far as I'm concerned.
I would be potentially be interested in advanced construction mechanics, with different building techniques being required for different zoning areas, road access, terrain, climate, etc. For instance, skyscrapers require different kinds of street access than low-density residential homes or small mixed-use buildings. After all, you don't need cranes or particularly heavy machinery to build a house, even though it's sometimes convenient.
I would be interested in genuinely making use of alternative transportation infrastructure for this stuff: you can transport bricks in a wheelbarrow, so I don't see why an electric cargo bike or micro delivery truck—which might use different infrastructure than heavy vehicles—can't do the same. Simulation games bore me when they forbid the player from reimagining things we take for granted as necessary.
On the extreme end, it would be remarkable to be able to construct a fully disconnected building by delivering materials via helicopter. Perhaps more complex techniques like this would incur a special cost. In the general case, the player's choices to prioritize infrastructure for small vehicles as opposed to large ones could conceivably affect the construction and maintenance costs of buildings.
If your whole city is designed for vehicles on the order of cargo bikes, even those with industrial purposes, perhaps construction using this method of transportation can decrease in cost as it scales. Conversely, if your city is designed for heavy vehicles and one random street is only accessible by small vehicles, that design choice could require you to pay more to construct a particular building in that hard-to-access area.
I doubt this mechanic would ever be introduced, but it's interesting to think about.
Comment on Cities Skylines 2 | Official announcement trailer in ~games
AtvelonisI just hope the new game offers-mixed use zoning and a "default" way to structure your city around something other than cars. In the original game, pedestrian pathways are basically decorative;...
I just hope the new game offers-mixed use zoning and a "default" way to structure your city around something other than cars. In the original game, pedestrian pathways are basically decorative; buildings require roads for cars, which is a shame. You can get around this by creating a car-free district but I would rather be able to control it more granularly. I'd also be nice if commercially zoned buildings didn't automatically generate an unlivable amount of noise. In real life, most commercial properties are pretty quiet; vehicles are loud.
Looking forward to the graphical enhancements, though I built my computer in 2015 and it already struggles with the first game, so an upgrade is probably necessary. :P
Comment on What’s something you’ve noticed about getting older? in ~talk
AtvelonisOut of curiosity, how do you identify holistic personal growth in someone? What exactly distinguishes "people truly invested in learning/growing in all aspects of their life" from those who...
Out of curiosity, how do you identify holistic personal growth in someone? What exactly distinguishes "people truly invested in learning/growing in all aspects of their life" from those who practice growth in only a "few dimensions"? Which dimensions do you find people overinvest in at the expense of the greater whole?
Reflecting on my past, I see periods of intense focus and momentum drifting through a cosmos of relative aimlessness. At some times I would be revolutionizing my ideals, routines, and long-term goals, and it very much seemed that improvement in one area coincided with and/or propelled improvement in another. On different occasions I would undergo long stretches of quieter existence; sometimes complacency, but also reflection, or maybe regression (adaptation?). I continued to mature either way—the differentiating factor was that the "fast" times represented material changes to my actions, knowledge, and skills, and the "slow" times represented interior evaluations of those newfound beliefs and habits after the fact.
It always appeared to me that I could only consciously focus on self-improvement in three or four areas of my life at the same time, because my brain physically couldn't process any more (nor did my schedule allow it). Whereas the only opportunity I had for technically all-encompassing growth was during those slower phases where I was mostly thinking and therefore not doing, or at least not doing much simultaneously.
I've not identified a way to reconcile my ability to conceive of a holistic set of self-improvements with my inability to tangibly realize them—which, as far as I am concerned, is what constitutes actual "improvement." In other words, even if I want to uplift my entire being, I can only ever prioritize part of me at a time. I fear that any particular choice to prioritize X over Y only reinforces the aspects of my life that I find too uncomfortable to address head-on, even if I really ought to do so, and makes me less likely to even consider them in the next "round." I would be interested to learn how to more consistently lean into enlightenment.
Comment on What is ChatGPT doing … and why does it work? in ~tech
Atvelonis(edited )Link ParentYes, perhaps I used the term too liberally. Meaning isn’t exclusively centralized in authorship. For academics, there’s substantial sociological benefit to be derived from analyzing the output of...
Yes, perhaps I used the term too liberally. Meaning isn’t exclusively centralized in authorship. For academics, there’s substantial sociological benefit to be derived from analyzing the output of these models. The machines reflect a particular image of humanity, and we can learn a lot about ourselves by taking a step back and looking at our use of language from an outside perspective. As with the models in my thesis work, the new chatbots are just a scholarly tool—not a source of truth in and of themselves.
Inevitably, as the bots output more work that appears to be “creative,” people will begin to analyze it like traditional literature. This is fine, but their analysis will be flawed if they think of the bots as authors instead of what they really are, which is more like filters. In this case the “creative” work by a bot has only or primarily latent inherent meaning—that is, meaning which is potential but inaccessible until synthesized with the scholarly interpretation (another source of meaning). The “meaningful components” fed to the algorithms of the model are there, but the process of “writing” with GPT-3 is what scholars would call distant—the writing process itself doesn’t unlock meaning in the same way or to the same extent as it would with a human author, whose placement of “meaningful components” in a larger work is informed by context. When analyzing “creative” bot work, scholars simply have to remember that the sources of meaning are now two instead of three.
I’m interested to see an entire new subfield of literary analysis emerge here. I’m sure I will also be dismayed by the public misunderstanding where the “meaning” of a probabilistic literary work comes from, though that’s far from the end of the world. What worries me more is that bad actors will use the existence of these models as a reason to devalue and defund the arts and humanities more than they already have, especially the creative arts. The social ramifications of that misguided policy will be widespread, severe, and extremely difficult to untangle. But that deserves a topic of its own.
Comment on What is ChatGPT doing … and why does it work? in ~tech
AtvelonisThanks for sharing this detailed explanation. ChatGPT reminds me a lot of Jorge Luis Borges' "Library of Babel" story from the Ficciones. It seems we have discovered a new wing of the Library,...
Thanks for sharing this detailed explanation. ChatGPT reminds me a lot of Jorge Luis Borges' "Library of Babel" story from the Ficciones. It seems we have discovered a new wing of the Library, which others call the universe.
One of my undergrad theses reviewed common deconstructive natural language processing techniques in the context of fictional literature, especially bodies of work by a particular author, for the purpose of conducting literary analysis. I was dealing with much less sophisticated models than GPT-3, but I was interested in the idea that you could use exclusively probabilistic techniques to break down "complex thought" into a series of statistically correlated relationships, groups, themes, etc. The takeaway of my research was that, however mathematically cool this technology was, it was only practically meaningful to literary analysis when a scholar provided subjective context to the categories of related terms the computer generated. The model just ran the numbers, it didn't really "know" what it was doing. That seems to have been something supported by the people who created these models too. Reading through the explanation of GPT-3 in this article, I don't think we've moved on from that caveat, even though the output has gotten more convincing.
I anticipate that these bots are going to spread quite a lot of misinformation as they proliferate. No harm meant necessarily, their output is just meaningless regardless of how polished it appears. This point has been made many times, so I won't belabor it. The Library of Babel will be the next step in the Information Age.
Many people seem to feel existentially threatened by the existence of a mathematical model that can approximate human language, sometimes for economic reasons, sometimes for philosophical ones. I understand the fear—no one wants to be displaced, whether at the office or in the grand hierarchy of the universe. But I actually have very little worry for humanity here. The truth is that, in a sense, we've always lived in the Library, but we've been able to make decent enough sense of it.
The next generation's search for truth is probably going to rely more heavily on trust than we've become accustomed. Trust in media sources; trust in scientists; trust in "I'm a real human" authentication software. I'm even tempted to call this level of truth faith. While it'll be regrettable to lose the internet as a source of authentic conversation with other humans, having collective social faith in "the wise persons" among us is an age-old practice.
Comment on What have you been eating, drinking, and cooking? in ~food
AtvelonisI've been simplifying my kitchen routine lately. Fewer ingredients, straightforward meals, no hassle. The goal is to save time, money, and effort while wasting less. Limiting my meat intake,...
I've been simplifying my kitchen routine lately. Fewer ingredients, straightforward meals, no hassle. The goal is to save time, money, and effort while wasting less.
Limiting my meat intake, especially beef, has been a longtime goal of mine for a mix of environmental, ethical, and health reasons. I'm also trying to limit processed foods where possible. I'd like to reduce the amount of questionably healthy vegetable oil, hydrogenated corn syrup, and sugar in my diet. I'm keeping it realistic rather than being an absolutist—I don't want to be a difficult guest at dinner parties.
So far, my plan is working well! It's definitely keeping me lean. I'm eating dramatically more vegetables and fruit and far less meat. My standard meal has become a plate of broccoli/spinach/green beans, some protein (usually beans, often with rice), and a side of fruit, mostly apples and berries. I save any extravagance for the weekend. I do like to snack, but I'm switching out high-calorie cookies, chips, etc. with plain rice cakes or carrots or whatever. I have some canned soup if I truly can't be bothered to cook.
My biggest problem now is that many ingredients are sold in quantities meant for families. I just can't eat a whole sack of onions before they go bad. I like lettuce and tomato on sandwiches, but I don't eat enough to get through them all. A bulb of garlic is reasonable; maybe not a pack of five (sometimes my only option). I need to get more creative with the highly perishable stuff, which probably means more soups and stews.
Comment on Analysis: Walkable US cities that won't bankrupt you in ~design
Atvelonis(edited )Link ParentPhiladelphia's regional rail corridors are nice because lots of them largely predate the automobile era. If I were to move back into a suburb, these are pretty high on my list. SEPTA and local...
Philadelphia's regional rail corridors are nice because lots of them largely predate the automobile era. If I were to move back into a suburb, these are pretty high on my list. SEPTA and local governments have missed a lot of opportunities for better transit-oriented development in recent projects, like the sadly parking-oriented station at Wawa, but they're going down the right track.
I lived on the Main Line for several years and enjoyed walking around Ardmore and Narberth in particular. I don't know if I would call the whole area pedestrian-friendly, and I certainly wouldn't call Lancaster and other stroads safe to cycle on, but it's still pretty realistic to live car-free or car-lite.
I've somehow never made it to Pittsburgh, though a friend went to Carnegie Mellon and had overall good things to say. It's snowy in the winter, and there are apparently some air quality issues. Some neighborhoods are dramatically trendier than others, so a city-wide "walkability" metric might be overstating things a bit. It seems a lot more car-centric than Philadelphia. My uneducated impression is that Pittsburgh shares a lot of cultural history with other Rust Belt cities in Pennsylvania like Allentown, Reading, Scranton, and Bethlehem, except that it has the advantage of being a good bit larger and the home of a very prestigious research university, plus having active intercity rail service. I can see that the population has been on a year-over-year decline for a while, but at the rate that drop is flattening, it seems like the trend could be parabolic. There's certainly been investment in the last decade. Anecdotally, I know of at least a few technology, healthcare, and finance companies that have set up shop there because some have tried to recruit me on LinkedIn. :P
I feel that the last 4–5 years have demonstrated a renewed cultural appreciation of the urban landscape and of multi-modal and walkable communities all over the country, and particularly in the northeast. I don't have specific data to back this up, but it feels like many young people are taking greater interest in city centers, sustainable infrastructure, and accessibility. There's more energy; people are voluntarily talking about traffic patterns and zoning laws. While the Rust Belt has been struggling for decades, ever since the blue collar jobs walked out, I think there's a huge unrealized social and economic impetus to revitalize smaller urban centers like this.
Pennsylvania has been receiving small waves of white-collar New York expatriates for years; not necessarily enough to offset other forces, but with the housing market being the way it is, I imagine Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will see growth in the near future.
I would also be curious to hear perspectives of people who actually live in Pittsburgh.
Comment on This woman wants to destroy your lawn, and replace it with something better in ~enviro
Atvelonis(edited )LinkEncouraging biodiversity in residential lawns is such a critical environmental initiative! People are always going to take up space, and realistically many people are always going to live in...
Encouraging biodiversity in residential lawns is such a critical environmental initiative! People are always going to take up space, and realistically many people are always going to live in suburban or rural places with "inefficient" land uses like lawns. I love that there are people and organizations dedicated to improving the sustainability of our development patterns in little ways like this. Unlike reforming municipal zoning ordinances or acquiring funding for major infrastructure renovations—which are often Herculean hurdles even for activist-minded communities—planting a greater variety of native species on your own property and adopting more healthy gardening habits is specific, realistic, and inexpensive. That's the essence of hands-on advocacy work.
Comment on Analysis: Walkable US cities that won't bankrupt you in ~design
AtvelonisI've shared content from City Nerd (Ray Delahanty) in the past because I find his videos to be well-researched, engaging, and high-quality; and because he places a lot of emphasis on cities other...
I've shared content from City Nerd (Ray Delahanty) in the past because I find his videos to be well-researched, engaging, and high-quality; and because he places a lot of emphasis on cities other than the ones you hear about in the news all the time. Many of these low-profile cities are excellent places to live.
In this week's video, Delahanty runs a linear regression on walkability and housing costs (monthly rent), indexing walkability data from two datasets to create a final, normalized score based on both. He then plots these values against the cost of housing for those cities. He analyzes only municipalities with a population of 200k+ and with median rents below $2000/mo in order to find the "best cities for your buck." Delahanty also takes a qualitative, anecdotal look at neighborhoods with high clusters of affordable units to get a sense of the urban character of the area. Several honorable and dishonorable mentions are included to provide upper and lower bounds to the analysis.
Personal comment: he is so right about Northern Liberties in Philadelphia.
Analysis: Walkable US cities that won't bankrupt you5 votes
Comment on Urbanism: Not just a big city thing! in ~design
AtvelonisInteresting! Probably closer to how roads used to be. Is your city in Europe? I'm curious if they install bollards or other barriers to stop drivers from driving out of a designated/painted...
Interesting! Probably closer to how roads used to be. Is your city in Europe? I'm curious if they install bollards or other barriers to stop drivers from driving out of a designated/painted lane—or is it really a free-for-all? I live in North America and most of the roads here are so wide that I would be hesitant to technically give drivers free rein; I've always had the impression that when drivers and pedestrians are on equal footing, the metal monsters win. However, I can imagine this concept working pretty well in a place with inherently narrow and bendy streets and lots of things on those streets, like marketplaces, seating, etc., because drivers wouldn't have a visual/spatial expectation to hit top speed.
Comment on Urbanism: Not just a big city thing! in ~design
Atvelonis(edited )LinkThe ideology of "urbanism" among city planners often conjures up imagery of New York City, Tokyo, London, and other massive, extremely high-density megacities. However, urbanist concepts like...
The ideology of "urbanism" among city planners often conjures up imagery of New York City, Tokyo, London, and other massive, extremely high-density megacities. However, urbanist concepts like multi-modal transit; and dedicated infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, buses, trams/trolleys, ferries, and so on; curb extensions, raised crosswalks, and other traffic calming measures are applicable to nearly any city of even modest size. Walkability, accessibility, and safety don't require skyscrapers—just good design.
Urbanism: Not just a big city thing!4 votes
Comment on Why the ground under Colorado solar panels is ripe for growing food in ~enviro
AtvelonisAn interesting article about the potential for more sustainable "agrivoltaic" farming practices, making rural land use more efficient by combining solar plots with farms for lower-light plants....
An interesting article about the potential for more sustainable "agrivoltaic" farming practices, making rural land use more efficient by combining solar plots with farms for lower-light plants. Shade offered by solar panels can be a boon to both plants and livestock that prefer to minimize harsh daylight, especially during heatwaves. This dual-use infrastructure can generate renewable electricity while encouraging the growth of a diverse microclimate of crops, pollinators, and earthen microbiota. Water scarcity in the west makes this solution increasingly appealing across the political spectrum.
Herman Melville's description of the whale's death by harpoon in Moby Dick is slow, violent, and agonizingly brutal—bloody, disgusting, truly repulsive; the act was shocking. I wish that upon no living creature. A contemporary explosive harpoon can hardly be considered humane either. Ishmael recounts stunning anecdotes of beautiful, playful, nearly familial connections between the sailors and whales fortunate enough to be left in peace. The two entities share an awe-inspiring but tenuous spiritual bond; however gracefully the beasts swim and how much love they inspire, the economic imperative of the whaling ship provides little room for morality. Whaling in the modern day is gratuitous and immoral.