UniquelyGeneric's recent activity

  1. Comment on World population to reach eight billion this year, as growth rate slows in ~enviro

    UniquelyGeneric
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    I know I probably lean more toward the doomer side of the fence, but I just have a hard time believing these numbers are anywhere close to accurate. They bake in generous assumptions about action...

    I know I probably lean more toward the doomer side of the fence, but I just have a hard time believing these numbers are anywhere close to accurate. They bake in generous assumptions about action against global climate change and continuation of international peace. Supply chain disruptions and inflation aside, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for developed countries to support a single child, which is causing population decline. Developing countries will be the first affected by inhospitable environments due to climate change, I can’t see their (or any) populations growing after 2050.

    This transition to sub-1% growth reads to me like capitalist click-bait, the likes of which would get Elon Musk to start selling his sperm to single-handedly repopulate the earth with his spawn. The world was gripped with fears of overpopulation 50 years ago and they got relieved by the temporary workaround of petrochemical fertilizers and increased reliance on fossil fuels.

    Ukraine and Russia are in a grain shipment crisis affecting the developing world. The ocean is overfished, acidifying, and the plankton are dying. These are not future problems, they exist today. I think it’s naive for the UN to project population growth with such a superficial take. A different group at the UN is warning that the risk of societal collapse is increasing every day. Is the left hand not talking to the right hand?

    While I don’t subscribe to a Malthusian take on global population control, as it tends to lead to racial biases and homogenization of a gene pool, I do think the modern world is careening towards a population cliff. Successful developed countries have been declining for a while (e.g. Japan, Germany, South Korea). Unsuccessful developed countries have headed the same way (e.g. Russia, Portugal, Greece). Only developing countries hitting their relative “heyday” seem to be organically growing, as even the US has propped up its own population growth through immigration from them for quite some time. China’s one child policy created a generation of unwed men with few prospects at progeny. India is going to surpass China’s population soon, yet it already has issues with accessible clean water and is a literal hotbed for future unsurvivable wet bulb temperatures.

    The UN’s report seems idealistically bound to current growth rates (the whole reason this report is even making headlines is because it departs from their original forecast). We’re expected to hit 8 billion in a few months, which is double the population of 50 years ago (and which was double the population 50 years before itself). The Paris climate accord wanted to achieve a manageable 1.5C increase by 2100…we’re expected to hit that in 10 years (or less).

    It doesn’t add up. Perhaps we could sustain a far larger population with sustainable allocation of resources, but all signs are pointing to that not happening any time soon.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on Google Stadia has reportedly been demoted in ~games

    UniquelyGeneric
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    Tangential, but this is yet another great argument for why at least the majority of NFTs are worthless. If you have already downloaded all the game content, there can always be a jailbreak of...

    The fact that users own copies of the bits that comprise the game means we have the power to ensure they live forever.

    Tangential, but this is yet another great argument for why at least the majority of NFTs are worthless.

    If you have already downloaded all the game content, there can always be a jailbreak of sorts to access it. If your ability to download said content is DRM-protected (e.g. a streaming video service), then death of a service is death of the product.

    So many games have been inspired by users having played emulators of ROMs well after their commercial lifespan, I hope we don’t limit future programmers from experiencing modern artforms in the future due to lack of access.

    Regardless, if you can download it freely, I would argue you own the art as much as anyone that lays claim to NFT ownership.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on What words would you want to see 'reclaimed'? in ~talk

    UniquelyGeneric
    (edited )
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    Tangentially related, I was walking through Washington Square Park in NYC last year when I noticed a WWI monument that contained fasces. I indulged in some dark humor musing on a fascist monument...

    Tangentially related, I was walking through Washington Square Park in NYC last year when I noticed a WWI monument that contained fasces. I indulged in some dark humor musing on a fascist monument in the middle of a liberal-Mecca.

    After reading more on the symbol, which is similarly co-opted by right-wing extremists, there is some irony in its origins implying a country stronger through unity than division[1].

    Eagles and arrows have always had a more aggressive tone (though the US eagle is balanced clutching olive branches, for what it’s worth), but the swastika was originally a symbol of peace and harmony. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to see the far-right engaging with projections of their own wrongs onto the opposition, while also co-opting leftist symbols to fit a far-right agenda. All to further villainize the left and sow seeds of division, but through a series of rhetorical smoke and mirrors to distract from their ulterior motives. I don’t think it’s long before “Unity makes strength” gets more formally used to imply “you’re with us or you’re against us”, because even that phrase has been used by a Republican president within living memory.

    ——
    [1] I know it might be offensive to some, but I was amused by the deeper level of irony behind the right’s co-opting of the fasces as this Simpsons quote so cleverly puts it. Martin: Individually we are weak, like a single twig. But as a bundle, we form a mighty faggot.

    3 votes
  4. The Matrix Resurrections: A review

    Warning: this post may contain spoilers

    Just finished watching it, and while I’m sure I need to process and reflect a little more on it, I can at least give my initial impression: meh.

    I came in not expecting much because, to be honest, the trilogy didn’t end as good as it started. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t end up a kaleidoscope of colors either, since the promotional material seemed to insinuate it might take after some of the other Wachowski’s works.

    The first hour felt like a rehash of the first Matrix. While the callbacks were good fan service, it felt uninspired and something I would expect from a Disney franchise. The second half seemed to lose the thread and the plot got rambled through to the point that you forget what the whole point of the movie was supposed to be. It basically ends as a…love story? The deeper philosophical elements of the trilogy were eschewed for predictable tropes and artificial suspense.

    The characters lacked depth, and I was particularly disappointed in the new incarnations of Agent Smith and Morpheus. The younger actors lacked the gravitas that the original duo brought to the screen. The bated, deliberate delivery that provided weight to the characters was replaced by trite, pithy lines that don’t do the original characters any justice. Neil Patrick Harris is also better suited for a comedic role rather than a dramatic one, and his character failed at both in this movie.

    The movie had a decent environment and art direction, but it got ruined by overuse of CGI and green screen. The action scenes either had stilted fights with aging actors, or had so much action that they lacked any real sense of danger (there were scenes with throngs of people attacking the main characters with bullets never seeming to hit anyone important).

    I had hoped that after 20 years there would be some real contribution to the canon, but this movie answered enough questions to explain why Neo is alive, without contributing any further philosophy into the series. It ends with a clear open ending for future installments, which would only serve as cash grabs.

    The movie started off with many meta-references to itself, making a joke about sequels being unoriginal. I had hoped this self-awareness would have translated to either a new level of meta-discussion or at least an attempt to not fall into the folly of most half-assed sequels. Apparently that line was solely a joke, and it cheapens the movie because of it.

    Was it a good movie? Not really. Was it a bad movie? Not necessarily. It was entertaining in the same way a Michael Bay explosion is entertaining, but those looking for intellectual stimulation will be left empty-handed.

    20 votes
  5. Comment on Gathering storm: The industrial infrastructure catastrophe looming over America’s gulf coast in ~enviro

    UniquelyGeneric
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    This was a nice depressing read about what’s to come. I feel like the general summary is “we know what to do, but we’re not doing it,” which seems like a climate change mantra. Outside of federal...

    This was a nice depressing read about what’s to come. I feel like the general summary is “we know what to do, but we’re not doing it,” which seems like a climate change mantra.

    Outside of federal regulation clearly being a practical solution, it does feel like the remaining options would be band-aids on an open wound.

    “For every dollar spent, we save two in what we’re protecting,” she said. “When I say it pays for itself after one storm, I’m not kidding.”

    One would hope that the financial incentives alone could shift the capitalist machine into action, but it looks like the scientists have acquiesced that it will truly take a disaster to spur corporations to action (e.g. Fukushima).

    6 votes
  6. Comment on How do you practice authenticity? in ~life

    UniquelyGeneric
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    This may not be what you were looking for, but rather than try to address the consistency issue many posts seem to be addressing, I’ll give it my initial read: identifying “who am I?” and sticking...

    This may not be what you were looking for, but rather than try to address the consistency issue many posts seem to be addressing, I’ll give it my initial read: identifying “who am I?” and sticking to it.

    My general guidance for anyone I’m giving career/life advice is an analogy of stepping stones across a river. While many are concerned about where the end up on the other side (spoiler: everyone ends up on the “other side” one way or another), you can’t easily predict the path your life will take. In fact, you usually don’t have many options at your disposal aside from the stones immediately surrounding you.

    The best heuristic for navigating a path forward will be to look into your past decisions, and seeing the general direction you’ve been headed. While this biases towards the actions you have (or have not) taken, I subscribe to the idea that your actions define you much more than any words or thoughts you may have had. I’m damn glad I’m not living the ascetic life my moody/depressed teen years longed for, and that I kept a rational head to guide me through heavy emotional periods.

    That being said, just because you made a mistake in the past, it doesn’t need to define you forever, either. As long as you learn from mistakes, you can continue to strive for a better life and grow from experience rather than be trapped by it. Your authentic self can still shine through as long as you’re true to your personal morals/ethics.

    Lastly, while the options you have may be your immediate stepping stones, that includes the stones both to the side and behind you. You don’t always need to be advancing the same narrative if it no longer fits your current perspective. Sometimes taking a step back (or making a lateral shift) can open up new pathways that enable future growth unaccessible before.

    To give some tangible examples:

    • Applying to college I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, looking back on all my hobbies I realized I had more experience with computers than anything else despite not considering myself “nerdy” enough to be a programmer. My career is in IT these days.
    • After a near death experience this year (which I swear I’ll get around to sharing), I reevaluated what I wanted out of life. I recognized that despite playing piano and writing songs for the past 20+ years, I never considered myself a real musician. I since doubled down on music and have written/produced more music in the past year than all 20 combined.

    Had I not listened to myself (through the form of identifying consistent actions/interests throughout the years), I would have been more inclined to do what was expected of me rather than who I was. I could have easily been a doctor who forgot how to play piano, but instead I feel like I’m much closer to reaching Maslow’s self-actualization: doing what I want and being all I can be.

    While my analogy probably doesn’t hold up in every individual scenario, it’s also not so rigid as to hold you accountable to every decision you’ve ever made. The only person who can truly define your authentic you is you. I don’t have great advice for how to be yourself despite adversity, but I’m sure it’s even harder if you don’t know who you are to begin with.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Jack Dorsey resigns as Twitter CEO in ~tech

    UniquelyGeneric
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    I also wonder if this is an admission that social media may be too far gone to save us from itself. Dorsey seemed the single tech CEO most concerned with addressing some of the toxic elements of...

    Twitter, I can imagine, is also the much more annoying company to figurehead - think about all the times he had to be the Congressional punching bag!

    I also wonder if this is an admission that social media may be too far gone to save us from itself. Dorsey seemed the single tech CEO most concerned with addressing some of the toxic elements of society that social media has proliferated, and yet it still seems an intractable problem nonetheless (despite some prominent moves like banning Trump).

    Why continue to lead a company that regularly has to walk the line between free speech and misinformation? Despite Twitter being Dorsey’s child, the problems are endemic to all of social media, and “solving” Twitter won’t change Zuckerbergs’s prerogative, either.

    To be honest, I feel somewhat apathetic with this departure as Dorsey seemed like a figurehead more than anything at this point, and perhaps he just needed to distance himself from it all (MySpace Tom clearly made the right move by cashing out early and enjoying life). While I’m bummed that one of the more thoughtful industry leaders is taking a step back, I’m not sure he has the answers we need any more than someone fresh off an ayahuasca trip.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on Ten years of... whatever this has been in ~finance

    UniquelyGeneric
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    When I first read the article I originally looked for a positive in how funneling money out of a bad regime could happen, but then I started to realize the most likely people capable of doing so...

    When I first read the article I originally looked for a positive in how funneling money out of a bad regime could happen, but then I started to realize the most likely people capable of doing so would be affluent/corrupt individuals, and it would likely be done to escape a collapsing country.

    Then I started to wonder about the US and if it could eventually fall into what the article considers “citizens moving money out of authoritarian regimes”. I remembered that the US is one of only 3 countries in the world to tax it’s citizens abroad, and that the biggest crossover with crypto-bros is either tech-bros or finance-bros (both with large enough wealth to be concerned with moving residence tax-free). Seems like the only part the US is missing is the authoritarian state, and it feels like that gap will get resolved in a couple years. I fear my “affluent/corrupt individuals in a collapsing country” assessment remains a little too spot on. (I welcome anyone to refute my doomerism with a realistic, positive method for others shifting money out of a country through crypto. Remittance seems like a pipe dream at this point.)

    I was an early Bitcoin proponent (bought my first before it was $10USD), I naively believed in its power to change the world and disseminate power back to the people. I assumed it would continue to evolve and address its fundamental issues. I’ve been proven wrong time and time again. Earlier this year I even had a physical trainer trying to sell me on SafeMoon a few days before it crashed…I felt like Joe Kennedy Sr. getting stock tips from his shoeshine boy. At this point I think crypto has become a victim of its own greed and the only thing that will reduce its value to zero will be a societal collapse (which if you couldn’t tell from my post, I think we’re all going to see sooner than later).

    3 votes
  9. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~health

    UniquelyGeneric
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    I’ve been meaning to write a real pandemic write-up one of these days, but I can attest to exercise lowering anxiety. During the pandemic I found cycling to be my main outlet to relieve stress as...

    I’ve been meaning to write a real pandemic write-up one of these days, but I can attest to exercise lowering anxiety. During the pandemic I found cycling to be my main outlet to relieve stress as well as to…go out.

    That being said, it’s certainly not a panacea as I definitely had a panic attack or two while in my prime of exercising daily.

    I wonder if the group setting played an important role in yielding the positive results?

    I do wonder about this as well, since I spent a lot of time alone in the pandemic and perhaps having more social interaction could have been it’s own therapy.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on The dark side of .io: How the UK is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal in ~tech

    UniquelyGeneric
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    I stumbled on this in relation to how .tv and .ai domains (also owned by island nations) have made the nations money. In the case of .tv, Tuvalu was able to afford entry into the UN due to domain...

    I stumbled on this in relation to how .tv and .ai domains (also owned by island nations) have made the nations money.

    In the case of .tv, Tuvalu was able to afford entry into the UN due to domain name sales.

    Reading how the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands have been exploited for centuries, I’m not surprised, but for how popular this domain can be for multi-million (billion?) dollar corporations (i.e. it’s a go-to for many startups is the .io domain), it’s a shame that 0% of the profits go towards native islanders (although I recognize that term may even be debatable).

    4 votes
  11. Comment on “Hacker X”—the American who built a pro-Trump fake news empire—unmasks himself in ~misc

  12. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~talk

    UniquelyGeneric
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    If I can proffer some "wisdom" gained after merely 30 personal solar revolutions, the holiday paradox relies on our brain's processing speed. Granted, I'm no neuroscientist, but I know a good...

    If I can proffer some "wisdom" gained after merely 30 personal solar revolutions, the holiday paradox relies on our brain's processing speed. Granted, I'm no neuroscientist, but I know a good amount about computers and I think we've reached a similar threshold with modern processors where the physical limits of electrical signals is more of a barrier than the density of neurons/semiconductors. This keeps a ceiling on the raw limit of information our brain can process, and in general our brains are well suited for daily survival.

    When novel events happen, however, I believe our brain tries to process so much new information that it cannot process/aggregate enough insights under the ceiling, so it stores raw data to our memories for subconscious (asynchronous) processing later...likely through dreams. Those raw memories are our mental record, and what we recall when we think "where'd all the time go?".

    I had a recent near-death experience (will make a Tildes post about it when I'm ready) while also passing the 30 milestone, which have made me reflect more than usual about my memories, and I can certainly feel an acceleration starting after 18.

    I'm not sure whether the pandemic speed up, or slowed down time for you, but for me I forced myself to introduce new experiences to keep up memory novelty in an environment (my apartment) that was going to be excruciatingly similar every day. It takes time, but I was able to pick up a new skill (guitar) and hobby (cycling) by just putting in the hours. Granted, many days were practice/routine, so those are all a blur to me, but I don't feel like time has slipped me by this year. The other years, I didn't even realize that the good/comfortable times I had enjoyed were so unremarkable that I would be forgetting them just years down the road.


    Put more simply: I live in a walk-up apartment. I joke with visitors that after a month you "blackout" the stairs so you never think about them again. However, I can remember each and every time I ever carried a heavy object up/down the stairs. If you don't want time to slip by, it seems you have to carry heavier objects.

    Your above comment that there's so much to interact with is true, and seems it will only continue to be truer going forward. Instead of getting stuck with analysis paralysis during the pandemic, I decided to focus on my strengths (music) or fill in larger gaps that I could do with little effort (cycling). Perhaps instead of feeling like the opportunity of time is slipping through your fingers, you can reframe as a prioritization of what's important enough to spend your time on. You may only be able to carry one heavy object up the stairs at a time, so focus your time on what that object should be.

    9 votes
  13. Comment on Farewell, millennial lifestyle subsidy in ~life

    UniquelyGeneric
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    In NYC cabs still serve a purpose (immediate hailing on the street, fixed price from the airport), and most of the time it’s cheaper than Uber/Lyft these days. However, there’s still a dearth of...

    In NYC cabs still serve a purpose (immediate hailing on the street, fixed price from the airport), and most of the time it’s cheaper than Uber/Lyft these days.

    However, there’s still a dearth of cabs as the cars themselves need to be inspected in order to make it back onto the roads again, and the number of inspection sites is finite. This causes an overall supply of transport to be constrained as the demand increases and therefore a rise in prices.

    I hope as the supply is able to balance out the demand over the coming months, but I fear that many of these prices will be here to stay as a sign of inflation. To the article’s point, these VC-backed businesses are becoming luxury services, which makes me concerned about further knock-on effects of growing wealth inequality.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on Bo Burnham - Welcome to the Internet (2021) in ~music

    UniquelyGeneric
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    Regarding Inside, it's definitely a certain kind of mood, but it's extremely well executed for what it is. The songs are all well produced, and the cinematography makes so much out of such little...

    Regarding Inside, it's definitely a certain kind of mood, but it's extremely well executed for what it is. The songs are all well produced, and the cinematography makes so much out of such little space.

    While the "comedy" special is certainly rife with existential dread and dark humor, it was also an insightful reflection on quarantine that feels very poignant with the US re-emerging from our collective homes. The lyrics cut deep and capture the bizarre reality we've all been living through, but the experience may not be for the faint of heart.

    It certainly put a weight on my mind afterwards that I thought I had gotten over from a year ago, so be prepared to be in a funk if you choose to see it. That being said, I am glad I did witness this magnum opus of Bo's.

    9 votes
  15. Comment on Tildes Film Festival: Final call for nominations in ~movies

    UniquelyGeneric
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    The Tragedy of Man (2011) An epic animation started in 1988 and only completed decades later, this adaptation of the most famous Hungarian play is the story of mankind. Meandering through history...

    The Tragedy of Man (2011)

    An epic animation started in 1988 and only completed decades later, this adaptation of the most famous Hungarian play is the story of mankind. Meandering through history with each era evoking a unique animation style, the passage of generations and time is broadly felt as mankind struggles to define a righteous way of living.

    Accompanied by Lucifer, an embodiment of man's primal nature and desires, mankind is forced to use his higher consciousness to make a better world for himself. However, as civilizations rise and fall, it's clear the tragedy of man is his mortal coil and the ego that emerges from the selfish desire to optimize the "one life to live" while passing the buck to the next generation.

    It's a bit psychedelic at times, and metaphysical in others, but it is steeped in philisophical prose that will keep you pining away at the meaning of life while time inevitably marches on.

    8.0 IMDB

    Free on YouTube (YT English subs on top of hardcoded spanish subs...), or
    Buy or Rent on YouTube

    3 votes
  16. Comment on The Netflix password-sharing crackdown has begun in ~tech

    UniquelyGeneric
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    MAC addresses are hardware assigned and immutable, so they’ve been seen as a privacy-invasive identifier. Device Ad IDs (IDFA / AAID) can be reset and opted-out from, however the average user...

    MAC addresses are hardware assigned and immutable, so they’ve been seen as a privacy-invasive identifier.

    Device Ad IDs (IDFA / AAID) can be reset and opted-out from, however the average user likely doesn’t change outside of the default settings (which is now opt-in with iOS 14.5).

    1 vote
  17. Comment on The Netflix password-sharing crackdown has begun in ~tech

    UniquelyGeneric
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    Netflix could use your IDFV and/or AAID associated with the most usage to set the primary user and devices. No need to rely on flippant IP address assignment. I assume they’ve trained a model over...

    Netflix could use your IDFV and/or AAID associated with the most usage to set the primary user and devices. No need to rely on flippant IP address assignment.

    I assume they’ve trained a model over months of historical usage data and now they’re looking to see any changes in behavior to help them flag the moochers.

    2 votes
  18. Comment on ‘Beeple Mania’: How Mike Winkelmann makes millions selling pixels in ~arts

    UniquelyGeneric
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    Certified Copy is one of my favorites. It also delves into relationships, love, and who we project ourselves to be. Are we the thoughts inside us, or the way we express ourselves to others? Does...

    Certified Copy is one of my favorites. It also delves into relationships, love, and who we project ourselves to be. Are we the thoughts inside us, or the way we express ourselves to others? Does it matter? Lots of good philosophy to chew on.

    There’s another movie, The Square (2017), that delves more into the question of what is art? If art’s purpose is to evoke emotion in the viewer, what separates art from reality? Does life imitate art, or the other way around? In the film a museum director grapples with post-modernism and the search for meaning in both art and life. Very meta, and tongue-in-cheek.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on ‘Beeple Mania’: How Mike Winkelmann makes millions selling pixels in ~arts

    UniquelyGeneric
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    I own a limited print of this serigraph valued at over $1,200. However, I came into possession of this artwork because someone in NYC abandoned it in my building lobby as they moved out of their...

    I own a limited print of this serigraph valued at over $1,200. However, I came into possession of this artwork because someone in NYC abandoned it in my building lobby as they moved out of their apartment (they didn't want to take it with them).

    My version does not come with a certificate of authenticity, but you can see the handwritten autograph of the artist and print number, so I don't have reason to believe it's a forgery (it doesn't seem worth the trouble). After market sales for similar works by the artist go for ~$400-500. My old roommate and I had to make an auction between ourselves on who would keep it long term as well.

    So how much is my copy worth? The market price it sells for with a certificate of authenticity? The after market price? What my roommate and I auctioned it at? Whatever anyone is willing to buy it for? Nothing? It was abandoned, after all...

    If the certificate of authenticity is essentially an NFT in this scenario, it seems the art has inherit value, but an NFT should only be a modest multiplyer of that value (not the extreme orders of magnitude difference we're seeing on these digital art pieces).

    I think it's an interesting subject, and the movie Certified Copy (2010) meditates on the intrinsic value of art and what it means to be authentic, for those who wish to explore this idea more.

    2 votes