Leonidas's recent activity

  1. Comment on A guide to potential liability pitfalls for people running a Mastodon instance in ~comp

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    Absolutely. There's a weird dichotomy between what people trying to join Mastodon are told ("it's just like email, don't worry what instance you pick!") and the typical response when issues occur...

    Absolutely. There's a weird dichotomy between what people trying to join Mastodon are told ("it's just like email, don't worry what instance you pick!") and the typical response when issues occur later on ("it's because you're on a huge instance, you should switch to a smaller one ASAP!"). The fact of the matter is that the instance you choose is absolutely important, because even if you do decide to move later on, not all of your connections may get transferred if the place you're moving to has different federation policies. This also ties into the moderation issue, since mastodon.social was essentially running with no moderators except Eugen himself for a few months up until this surge of new users. Many smaller instances have chosen to silence mastodon.social and even completely suspend communication with it in some cases, simply for fear that its recent efforts to build a moderation team are too little, too late.

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

    Leonidas
    Link
    Well, this year's Spotify Wrapped just came out, so I've been having a good time listening to that. My most listened songs for this year were: Enough by Angelo Mota In Yer Face by 808 State...

    Well, this year's Spotify Wrapped just came out, so I've been having a good time listening to that. My most listened songs for this year were:

    Overall, I'd call this a good mix of genres. I'm not sure if there's a common thread for any of these, except being pretty electronic-heavy? My most listened artist was Tame Impala, so no surprise there either.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Kanye West praises Hitler, Nazis in openly antisemitic rant: 'I like Hitler' in ~music

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    I think it's partially that, but keep in mind that many of these far-right figures are experts at obfuscating the full truth of their ideas and rhetoric, maintaining deniability while signaling to...

    I think it's partially that, but keep in mind that many of these far-right figures are experts at obfuscating the full truth of their ideas and rhetoric, maintaining deniability while signaling to their audience what they really want. Kanye is just saying this stuff completely out in the open, which makes things awkward since they want to maintain their audience but not lose credibility by not pushing back against a guy who literally praised Hitler.

    5 votes
  4. Comment on Kanye West praises Hitler, Nazis in openly antisemitic rant: 'I like Hitler' in ~music

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    And Pete Davidson has Jewish ancestry (although he doesn't identify as such), so...yeah.

    And Pete Davidson has Jewish ancestry (although he doesn't identify as such), so...yeah.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on North America always gets this wrong when building transit in ~design

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    I've read that cities like San Francisco have been trying to incentivize denser development near transit links for this reason, as well as the diminishing returns of building it when the...

    I've read that cities like San Francisco have been trying to incentivize denser development near transit links for this reason, as well as the diminishing returns of building it when the population it ostensibly serves is so spread out. It's ironic that suburbs are "walkable" in the sense that they generally have sidewalks, trees, and other design aspects that are good for pedestrians, but there's practically nowhere to walk to.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What have you been eating, drinking, and cooking? in ~food

    Leonidas
    Link
    I finally got the chance to try a poke bowl, which is a Hawai'ian dish with rice or noodles, protein like raw fish, and lots of vegetable toppings. The best way I can describe it is "sushi, but...

    I finally got the chance to try a poke bowl, which is a Hawai'ian dish with rice or noodles, protein like raw fish, and lots of vegetable toppings. The best way I can describe it is "sushi, but big" and as a major sushi enjoyer, I liked it a lot.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on What did you do this weekend? in ~talk

    Leonidas
    Link
    This weekend was the tail-end of spring break at my university, so I mostly spent it getting ready for classes (and trying to avoid that fact as much as possible). I emailed a bunch of offices...

    This weekend was the tail-end of spring break at my university, so I mostly spent it getting ready for classes (and trying to avoid that fact as much as possible). I emailed a bunch of offices about preparing to get an summer internship, dropping second-half classes I won't have time for this semester, and seeing if I can study away in a different state for a semester next year. I feel like I'm trying to make up for lost time since I'd originally planned a lot of these ideas freshman year right before COVID hit, and I don't know whether it'll be possible to make everything work like I envisioned it. However, I think actually talking to the relevant individuals to see what my options are will be a lot more helpful than just pondering all the unknowns and potential roadblocks for what I want to accomplish.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on Daily megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 5 in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    That's true, Zelensky has been active in giving a human face to the struggle his country is facing. It hasn't been hard since popular perceptions of Russia in the US were never positive to begin...

    That's true, Zelensky has been active in giving a human face to the struggle his country is facing. It hasn't been hard since popular perceptions of Russia in the US were never positive to begin with, but that's a whole different issue. My point about what's fundamentally wrong here is that the international community reacts totally differently when Russia invades Ukraine versus when the US invades countries in the Middle East. Your example of Belarus is also worth noting. What types of unjust violence are we conditioned to accept?

    2 votes
  9. Comment on Daily megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 5 in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    That's true, there's certainly a compelling narrative aspect to how the conflict has been presented. However, I don't think it's accurate to say that one type of conflict is more or less...

    That's true, there's certainly a compelling narrative aspect to how the conflict has been presented. However, I don't think it's accurate to say that one type of conflict is more or less complicated than another. There's plenty of room to analyze where NATO and the US went wrong in the buildup of tensions with Russia without just blaming the Ukrainians for everything. More to the point, there are plenty of similar "David vs Goliath" stories where the US is the giant imposing its will on a smaller country, but for some reason, nobody would've gone to bat for Cuba's right to exercise self-determination and join the Warsaw Pact. I don't think that's purely due to racism, but the double standard exists regardless. Bringing up examples like that tends to be labeled as "whataboutism," and even if I disagree with that characterization, it's true that two wrongs don't make a right.

    With that in mind, the West's humanitarian response to the plight of the Ukrainian people is not what needs to be criticized. What is worthy of criticism is that all of the empathy, heroism, and mobilizing on display in recent weeks still manages to overlook people in the global south who are apparently not worthy of receiving that largesse. It's not that those conflicts are so complex no one can ever understand them, it's that people just don't care enough to put in the effort (or more accurately, the media doesn't even bother) because they're used to seeing "shithole countries" getting destroyed.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Daily megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 5 in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    I wouldn't give that much credit to social media for giving this conflict so much more visibility. How many times has video been shared of bombings in Yemen, Palestine, and elsewhere that is...

    I wouldn't give that much credit to social media for giving this conflict so much more visibility. How many times has video been shared of bombings in Yemen, Palestine, and elsewhere that is simply ignored by people in the West? As far as I can tell, the reason the violence in Ukraine is held up to this high standard of visibility while acts of equal or greater violence in other parts of the world is quite simply because most of the people being affected are white. (Not all, though—note the discrimination against Nigerians trying to leave Ukraine by guards on both sides of the border with Poland.) There have already been pundits saying the quiet part out loud and lamenting how "blond, blue-eyed children" are being killed and that a "civilized European city" is under attack. And of course, there's been plenty of misinformation and falsely captioned content spread on social media, sometimes leading to unintentionally revealing results, like this retraction by AP: "Photo shows Israeli air strikes in Gaza, not Russia attack on Ukraine" (emphasis mine). This war has been a masterclass in how the media spins wars when they serve the West's interests. I have a really hard time stomaching this outpouring of sympathy on social media when it's so blatantly selective.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~misc

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    There are a lot of good points here. Since Kiev had previously stated outright that they wouldn't observe the Minsk agreements and kept shelling the separatist regions, I don't know that you can...

    There are a lot of good points here. Since Kiev had previously stated outright that they wouldn't observe the Minsk agreements and kept shelling the separatist regions, I don't know that you can put the blame solely on either side for failing to observe the ceasefire. For all Russia may have had pretenses of being the honest broker between Ukraine and the separatists, anyone could see they had vested interests in the region. I don't know what would have been acceptable to all parties short of direct UN involvement as an observer and peacekeeping force. Nobody wants to be the first person to put down their gun without some kind of assurance of reciprocity, which is (IMO) why the agreements were extremely optimistic. At any rate, I'm not a military expert so I can't speak to the specifics in this case.

    However, military action is one thing, political action is a different beast entirely. To be more specific, the Minsk agreements required acknowledgement of the particularities of Donestsk and Luhansk, namely acceptance of their self-government, withdrawal of paramilitaries from those territories, and a program of economic recovery implemented for the region. The government of Ukraine ended up doing the opposite, and the last eight years have been marked by constant shelling, harassment, and ethnic persecution against these regions. You might argue that doing so is an attempt to avoid the same "capitulation" which led to the Maidan uprisings in 2014 and started this conflict in the first place, and obviously Russia isn't acting on principle here, but treating the separatists like nothing more than Russian puppets appears to have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on What everyday foods are 10/10? in ~food

    Leonidas
    Link
    Kraft mac and cheese is my go-to. It's low effort and tastes good either right out of the box or with whatever you want to add in there. (I used to love mixing in ketchup as a kid for whatever...

    Kraft mac and cheese is my go-to. It's low effort and tastes good either right out of the box or with whatever you want to add in there. (I used to love mixing in ketchup as a kid for whatever reason.) Really, what more can you ask for?

    3 votes
  13. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~misc

    Leonidas
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    The most significant issue I'm aware of is the repeated violations of the Minsk agreements, which were made in 2014-15 in an attempt to stop the fighting in Donbas. While the goal was to...

    The most significant issue I'm aware of is the repeated violations of the Minsk agreements, which were made in 2014-15 in an attempt to stop the fighting in Donbas. While the goal was to demilitarize the region and give the separatists autonomy within Ukraine, the ceasefire was barely even given a second glance before the fighting continued. One might argue that Ukraine would never have shelled Donetsk and Lugansk with Western acquiescence if not for Russia continuing to arm the separatists in the first place, or vice versa, that there would be no attempt at breaking away whatsoever if not for the lack of autonomy given to those provinces. Either way, it's clear that the Minsk agreements were the best chance to avoid the feedback loop of strikes and counter-strikes that eventually led to this moment. Sadly, this choice was not in the hands of the ordinary Ukrainians who are suffering the most from this war.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~misc

    Leonidas
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I don't mean to sound rude or dismissive here, but really all this talk of "rights" just makes me ask: so what? Rights are only real to the degree that they are enforced, and international...

    In my view it's obvious that any country has the right to determine that they don't want to be under the thumb of a large power.

    Blaming NATO implicitly asserts that small countries have no right to self-determination, and that larger powers have rights and responsibilities that overrule sovereignty.

    I don't mean to sound rude or dismissive here, but really all this talk of "rights" just makes me ask: so what? Rights are only real to the degree that they are enforced, and international relations is one of the areas where this is most obvious. "Self-determination" was ultimately an excuse for the Entente to dismember Austria-Hungary, no matter how piously Wilson may have opined about it. They never applied the same standard to their own empires, so attempting to call them out for hypocrisy rather than analyzing their actions through a lens of realpolitik is a waste of time. In the modern day, it's a historical fact that the US did renege on its agreement to not expand NATO eastward and that this has provided Putin the pretense to wheel out the tanks on the basis that his invasion is somehow a defensive response to encroachment. There is no higher authority to appeal to here, as much as we'd all like there to be one. The closest thing is the atom, which hasn't been the US' sole domain since 1949.

    I can't just say that I feel threatened by your country asserting its actual defense, and then demand that you stop building an effective defense of your own country because I feel threatened. Accepting such an argument creates a position where the status quo gives the right to eternally bully neighbors.

    I mean, does the Monroe Doctrine ring any bells? The Cuban Missile Crisis? This is how it's always been, and I wish I had any idea of how to escape this destructive paradigm. The biggest lesson to the West from all this this is that when the other side holds all the nuclear-tipped cards, it's better to negotiate based on reality and make concessions where necessary than to talk a big game about "democracy and freedom" that can never be realistically defended. Dangling NATO membership in front of Ukraine and giving them false confidence was a big mistake. Either give it to them and be prepared to commit or don't act shocked when stuff like this happens.

    8 votes
  15. Comment on Texas Governor Greg Abbott orders state agencies to investigate gender-transitioning procedures as child abuse in ~lgbt

    Leonidas
    Link
    This is extremely troubling news that's part of a broader trend of legal attacks on trans youth. Even if it ultimately gets blocked, it seems clear that the real goal of this strategy is to create...

    This is extremely troubling news that's part of a broader trend of legal attacks on trans youth. Even if it ultimately gets blocked, it seems clear that the real goal of this strategy is to create a chilling effect that makes trans kids and their parents feel that they won't have the same protections as anyone else. Similar to the draconian attempts to criminalize abortion providers and anyone who's remotely connected to them, this directive is trying to hold anyone who even comes in contact with a trans kid, like their doctors, teachers, and even just members of the general public liable if they don't report them for "child abuse." This has led some trans advocates on Twitter to recommend that parents of trans children start creating "safe folders" of content showing evidence of their child's persistent gender identity and testimony from other adults that they aren't abusive parents. Thankfully, it looks like some Texas DAs are refusing to enforce this directive, and hopefully we'll see more resistance in the future.

    13 votes
  16. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    The Francafrique was established by De Gaulle as a way to give France's African colonies independence on paper while maintaining a tight leash by keeping their currencies tied to the franc and...

    Can you elaborate?

    The Francafrique was established by De Gaulle as a way to give France's African colonies independence on paper while maintaining a tight leash by keeping their currencies tied to the franc and basing large numbers of troops in the region. It's largely a carrot-and-stick relationship which keeps local elites in power to ensure "stability" and punishes leaders that try to decrease French influence in their countries. For example, when Guinea refused to sign the accords tying it to the Francafrique, France immediately stopped aid to the country and withdrew all of its colonial employees, who destroyed as much infrastructure and equipment as they could in reprisal. Numerous leaders like Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso and Sylvanus Olympio in Togo have been targeted by French-backed military coups. These activities have been extremely profitable for political-business networks in France, with hundreds of thousands of euros gained from debt, aid, and resource extraction or drained through French importing monopolies. Although the Francafrique has been weakened in the post-Cold War era, it still has high influence over large portions of West and Central Africa.

    I thought they were supporting the internationally recognized government against Iran-backed rebels?

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been bombing and blockading Yemen for years, which has led to famine and massive civilian casualties. The Houthi government is in near-total control of Yemen, which makes the sanctions placed against it by the United States even more devastating for civilians. Since Yemen is not integrated into the U.S.-dominated global economy, these sanctions do not affect the Houthis' ability to wage war, but they affect ordinary people there who are already living through a massive humanitarian crisis. The Biden admin is flirting with reviving the Trump-era designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, which would make it much harder and more expensive for Yemenis to obtain food, medicine and other vital imports and could make it impossible for Yemenis abroad to send money to relatives still living there. Overall, it seems clear that the US' involvement has only made the situation worse and allowed the Saudis and Emiratis to push the conflict to new heights.

    3 votes
  17. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    Sadly, it seems like negotiation has already failed, since that was the goal of the Minsk agreements which were signed in 2015 but have largely been ignored since then. Probably too late for any...

    Sadly, it seems like negotiation has already failed, since that was the goal of the Minsk agreements which were signed in 2015 but have largely been ignored since then. Probably too late for any trust to be rebuilt in the separatist regions with how badly decentralization has failed. There's already been low-level fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk for years, so a ceasefire was never truly on the cards.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    I would highly suggest reading this analysis of Putin's speech from yesterday. It frames the last century of Russian history in terms of three major betrayals: first, the Bolshevik revolutionaries...

    I would highly suggest reading this analysis of Putin's speech from yesterday. It frames the last century of Russian history in terms of three major betrayals: first, the Bolshevik revolutionaries for creating SSRs that contradicted "Great Russian" national chauvinism; second, the Communist Party elites for pandering to nationalist sentiments that eventually broke up the USSR; and third, the United States for reneging on its promise not to induct eastern European countries into NATO and maintain friendly relations with Russia. While it's obviously false to claim that everyone in Russia agrees fullheartedly with these sentiments, it's at least a good barometer for what Putin feels will play well with his supporters.

    11 votes
  19. Comment on Putin recognises Ukraine rebel regions, sends troops on what Moscow calls peacekeeping mission in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    And even then, it's not like the "civilized nations" of Western Europe are above this when it's not in their backyards. The Francafrique, for example, is a key tool of French neoimperialism in...

    And even then, it's not like the "civilized nations" of Western Europe are above this when it's not in their backyards. The Francafrique, for example, is a key tool of French neoimperialism in West Africa. Alternatively, look at what the United States and Saudi Arabia are doing to Yemen. The more you learn about international relations the more depressing it gets.

    6 votes