ICN's recent activity

  1. Comment on How do you distinguish between masculinity and toxic masculinity? in ~talk

    ICN
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    Personally, I'm not a fan of this line of thought. It slips far too easily into a prescriptivist mindset of assigning genetic reasons to something that could very well be entirely cultural, even...

    Despite this, the way in which these traits tend to balance across the male/female population of pretty much every nation and every culture indicates that there are a set of traits that men gravitate towards more frequently than women and that the combination of these traits could be identified using a catch all term such as "masculine".

    Personally, I'm not a fan of this line of thought. It slips far too easily into a prescriptivist mindset of assigning genetic reasons to something that could very well be entirely cultural, even on a worldwide level. It's impossible to escape the impacts colonialism and imperialism have had on the world. Part of that is a deliberate, systemic effort by people who were racist and misogynistic to stamp out different cultures and impose their own values in their place. With roots this deep, things that are constructed can feel innate. A lighter example of this are numbers. I have difficulty imagining a life without numbers; if they didn't exist, it seems like they'd be developed almost immediately. But anumeric societies have existed and exist today.

    As for "positive" traits men have that women don't tend to: Men seem to have a desire to push boundaries, explore, build more, invent better, excel in whatever particular field.

    I don't buy this at all. When, in just the last hundred years or so, have women had the opportunities and resources needed to excel? Was it when they weren't allowed in universities? When they were kicked out of the jobs they'd stepped up to do in WWII? While deep cultural forces kept them in the home? But that was all in the past. #MeToo started years ago at this point after all, things much be better by now. If you want to get an idea of how awful things can be for women in male-dominated spaces, take a look at the unfolding Activision Blizzard scandal. The truth of the matter is that women have to push boundaries and excel to gain access to the spaces men are allowed by default, much less going beyond that.

  2. Comment on A letter on justice and open debate in ~humanities

    ICN
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    I find this podcast to be a pretty good breakdown of several of the issues of the letter, as well as being a good media analysis podcast all around.

    I find this podcast to be a pretty good breakdown of several of the issues of the letter, as well as being a good media analysis podcast all around.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on New platform launches to bring TV ads to console games in ~games

    ICN
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    It's kind of an unavoidable consequence of wealth inequality. IIRC, a study came out that showed that ~40% of people in the US couldn't afford a $400 emergency; this was pre-pandemic. Businesses...

    It's kind of an unavoidable consequence of wealth inequality. IIRC, a study came out that showed that ~40% of people in the US couldn't afford a $400 emergency; this was pre-pandemic. Businesses go where the money is. But that's kind of the lighter side of the coin. The other is that these practices are exploiting vulnerable people for money they can't afford on things that won't help.

    8 votes
  4. Comment on The Amazon that customers don’t see in ~life

    ICN
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    I'd say it's kind of both. The systemic problem is that morally bankrupt people like Bezos are put in charge. The pervasive and entrenched issues we face today can be seen as the product of...

    I'd say it's kind of both. The systemic problem is that morally bankrupt people like Bezos are put in charge. The pervasive and entrenched issues we face today can be seen as the product of centuries of a system that gives the worst people the most power.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on How should we understand the warnings about artificial intelligence? in ~science

    ICN
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    Because once you have one AGI, it'll be much easier to have multiple AGI. You really just need 1 expansion focused AGI to make it a priority, and that AGI could very well out compete the others...

    Because once you have one AGI, it'll be much easier to have multiple AGI. You really just need 1 expansion focused AGI to make it a priority, and that AGI could very well out compete the others due to greater access to resources.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Is there anything considered pseudoscientific/unscientific that you suspect has some truth to it and might be re-examined in the future? in ~talk

    ICN
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    To expand on this some, I think overpopulation is a frequently racist bogeyman used to obfuscate or divert attention from what actually needs to be done. IIRC, the USA emits more than 10x the...

    To expand on this some, I think overpopulation is a frequently racist bogeyman used to obfuscate or divert attention from what actually needs to be done. IIRC, the USA emits more than 10x the amount of carbon per capita compared to Africa as a whole. You'd need ~3.2 billion people in Africa to match the carbon emissions of the USA; projected population for Africa in 2050 is 2.49 billion In that context, it's clear that the USA is overpopulated, yet whenever the topic is brought up it's nearly always about Africa.

    The natural counterpoint is that African nations will start using much more carbon as they develop, which is what the actual problem is. The focus has to be on developing responsibly, with an eye towards justice considering western nations emit the most per capita carbon and released the vast majority of it historically. That was already what needed to happen though, regardless of population.

    Potentially more significantly though, there has to be a major focus on decarbonizing western countries. mrnd's noting of education and accessible birth control are things that could save humanity some trouble 20 years down the line, but reducing emissions from the big polluters is something that needs to be done as soon as possible and will show effects far sooner than population increases in developing nations.

    17 votes
  7. Comment on Why is evil more charismatic than good? in ~humanities

    ICN
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    The Trump thing is a multifaceted issue. He's a populist. Okay; why are his ideas popular? While there would be a certain subset of the population embracing them anyways, the money being poured...

    The Trump thing is a multifaceted issue. He's a populist. Okay; why are his ideas popular? While there would be a certain subset of the population embracing them anyways, the money being poured into right wing propaganda for decades can't be ignored. Additionally, if you look at where Trump was most popular in the 2016 election, it was in areas that were highest in deaths of despair. A large part of his success was in convincing people that were being crushed to dust by the exploitative system that he would drain the swamp and help them find success again. Both of those situations are pretty directly tied to the rich, so they're plenty at fault here.

    Yes, money can't do everything, but this election cycle has some additional factors that warrant consideration. Firstly, it wasn't a case of money versus no money; it was lots of money versus even more money. A system where money is a barrier to entry is inherently going to lead to the wealthy being extremely favored. Secondly, the Democrats were essentially pushing a platform of "Trump is an anomaly; all the other Republicans are great and we should reach across the aisle, etc.", which is kind of the idea that won the election. Trump's out, Republicans stick around.

    Regarding Bloomberg, I'm not so sure about that. He didn't come close to winning the primary, but what he did do is take the heat off of Biden in the lead up to that. Previously, all the other candidates were unifying in attacks on Biden as the frontrunner, which wasn't helping his campaign any. If Bloomberg hadn't entered, would the outcome of the primary have changed? Maybe, perhaps even probably, not, but I think he got more out of his efforts than are immediately apparent.

    Billionaires are antithetical to diversity. By definition, you're going to get far more diversity if 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 people are empowered rather than a handful of people at the top. This is true even before accounting for the active efforts of billionaires who tend to deliberately crush or absorb competition, as can be seen in every facet of the corporate world.

    All in all, the negative effects of wealth inequality far outweigh any positives.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on Why is evil more charismatic than good? in ~humanities

    ICN
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    This argument is deeply flawed for a number of reasons. In no particular order: You bring up the fickleness of government as a strike against government spending, but a large contributor to that...

    This argument is deeply flawed for a number of reasons. In no particular order:

    You bring up the fickleness of government as a strike against government spending, but a large contributor to that fickleness is the rich. They lobby politicians, in essence buying them for their votes and to serve as mouthpieces to the public. They fund think tanks and research to produce rhetoric and "studies" to back up the current exploitative system. They fund advertisements. All of this has the effect of poisoning people against their own best interests and policies that would improve their lives as a result.

    You also assume good intentions for the wealthy as a whole, but that's far from the case. If anything, due to capitalism rewarding exploitation and therefore acting as a filter that pushes some of the worst people to the top, the wealthy are more likely to be selfish than the average person. You assert that at the end of the day, a few powerful people will likely determine the course of things, and imply that it doesn't matter which people those are. But the reason they're powerful matters a great deal; if it's because they succeeded in an unethical system, it doesn't bode well for what their decisions will be.

    Finally, your whole argument is based on the assumption that if the rich don't fund charitable organizations, they won't exist. IIRC, working class people donate a larger percentage of their income to charity than the wealthy. Ergo, in addition to alleviating a great many issues and lowering the need for charity in the first place, reducing wealth inequality is likely to make total charitable donations go up, and in a much more democratic way than currently.

    5 votes
  9. Comment on Credit-based communication platforms? in ~tech

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    I don't see this working, at least for social media. The first barrier is building up a large enough user base to be viable. You need a big upfront influx of new users to get things rolling, and a...

    I don't see this working, at least for social media.

    The first barrier is building up a large enough user base to be viable. You need a big upfront influx of new users to get things rolling, and a continuous stream of new users to replace existing users that cease using the product for whatever reason. This system is the most unfriendly to new users though; they're the ones least likely to get extra credits for content/money, and their first impression is a limitation on what they can do that other platforms don't have.

    The second barrier, assuming that the first one is overcome, is that I'm not sure this would even have the effect you're hoping for. IIRC, the rule of thumb about engagement is that around 90% of users mostly lurk, 9% post occasionally, and 1% post frequently. The credit system would have no mechanical effect on 99% of your users, and if it had a psychological effect would stifle discussion, both good and bad, leading back to the first problem. The 1% it would have the largest effect on would be, since this is social media, your primary content creators. One of the key drivers behind Wikipedia's success was that it harnessed the power of enthusiasts. The credit system could easily limit them, leading to less content overall and back to the first problem.

    If both those barriers are overcome, what does the final product look like? What it most incentivizes is a one and done system; no discussion, because that's penalized. No insult threads, but also no honest back and forth or Q&A. The system would almost inevitably be monetized, and then evolve into the same addiction machine every social media product strives for, except now with more exploitation of the psychologically vulnerable; people throwing money they don't have into the system because of underlying psychological issues, like gambling does today. Voices of the rich would be amplified, the people who benefit most under current world systems and therefore the least likely to say or believe that there are any underlying issues, to the detriment of those hurt by those systems who need a platform much more. Overall, even if it could reach widespread circulation, I just see it as leading to a worse version of existing social media.

    3 votes