deing's recent activity

  1. Comment on How do you choose a desktop wallpaper? in ~tech

    deing
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    I really don't change my wallpaper, it's been Bliss or (rarely) a hue-shifted variant of it since 2018 or so, on all devices including my smartphone. It makes me chuckle internally a bit every...

    I really don't change my wallpaper, it's been Bliss or (rarely) a hue-shifted variant of it since 2018 or so, on all devices including my smartphone. It makes me chuckle internally a bit every time i see it, and it really is a damn good wallpaper.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on The Beigeness, or How to Kill People with Bad Writing: The Scott Alexander Method in ~misc

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    This is an (in style for the subject matter, fairly verbose and long-winded) takedown of Scott "Alexander" Siskind, a prominent blogger in the "rationalist" community-slash-cult recently covered...

    This is an (in style for the subject matter, fairly verbose and long-winded) takedown of Scott "Alexander" Siskind, a prominent blogger in the "rationalist" community-slash-cult recently covered in the New York Times. The author mostly focuses on two of his essays: "I Can Tolerate Anything Except the Outgroup" and "Untitled", coming to these conclusions:

    Scott Siskind [suggests] that criticism of Gamergate is basically the same as antisemitic conspiracy theories, that criticisms of misogyny in nerd culture are fundamentally out of bounds, that in fact it’s the feminists that are making these criticisms who are the real villains. And doing it all in his long-winded, pseudo-intellectual style, making it all seem so bland and anodyne and harmless.
    This sounds extreme. That’s because it is. Scott Siskind provided intellectual legitimacy to a movement that led directly to a fucking fascist coup.

    Were you to take to Twitter and accuse Scott Siskind of poorly supported conclusions or of dangerously shoddy thinking about apartheid his defenders would immediately show up demanding citations. And it’s nearly impossible to give them, because the damage isn’t done by what he says (which is as always very little), but rather by what he doesn’t, or by the way in which he stretches the act of not actually supportng his claims over several paragraphs. There’s no smoking guns; it requires the sort of 2500 word exegesis I just engaged in to point out. [emphasis mine] Indeed, this is crucial to the rhetorical strategy of Siskind and his ilk (a strategy shared by Yarvin/Moldbug and Yudkowsky, who could just as well have been the subjects of very similar essays). When they’re arguing for their own claims the structure is this sort of elongated non-speech.

    Siskind is extremely popular in silicon valley tech circles—a point made clear in the New York Times profile. And while I can’t draw a causal link […] I cannot imagine consequences of an intellectually dishonest eugenicist and rape apologist being tremendously influential among tech CEOs to be good, y’know? It doesn’t seem like telling the CEOs of social media companies that feminists shouldn’t be listened to is gonna have great consequences for how online abuse is handled. It doesn’t seem like telling the CEOs of big data companies that poverty is hereditary and eugenics are a good idea is going to lead to good things.
    I don’t have a big, stunning conclusion here. Or, rather, I’ve already made it, back when I wrote the book that was why Cade Metz got in touch with me for his article. Scott Siskind is yet another example of extreme stupidity that’s nevertheless extremely dangerous—one that ties in directly to neoreaction, to the rise off the alt-right, to the malevolence of Peter Thiel, and to everything else I talk about in that book. We aren’t any less fucked, and I still don’t know what I can do other than point all of this out.

    Now, when I see articles posted by him or other "rationalist" talking heads, from their own domains, LessWrong or Substack (who are apparently busy attracting bigots that managed to be openly bigoted enough to get banned from twitter as a public figure, with six-figure advance bonuses) on here, it deeply concerns me. Tildes is perhaps uniquely at risk for being infiltrated by this group, both by demographic — we are a site that's mostly cis-male, us-american and tech-affine — as well as the site's philosophical goal of civil discussion, while, as we've seen here, a whole load of impressive-seeming non-content can very easily be used to blandly, boringly, even "civilly", advocate for absolutely heinous things without ever calling someone "cunt" or the n-word or whatever.
    If we don't want to wind up having people here trying to discuss the value of "scientific" racism, or whether there's a causal link between attractiveness and IQ, or whether feminists really have been the real nazis all along, or whether The Poors In Shithole Countries really simply should've chosen to not be so destitute, and along the way also want to avoid the bemusement that is reading uneducated people wildly extrapolating their weird hypotheses to invent Pascal's Wager But In Space from first principles, we need to be careful with which content we share here.

    25 votes
  3. Comment on Spain's new gender bill will allow self-id, without a requirement for medical treatment in ~lgbt

    deing
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    I'm delighted to see self-identification becoming the default in more and more countries, and changes like this allow me to retain mild optimism even as the legal situation gets markedly worse in...

    I'm delighted to see self-identification becoming the default in more and more countries, and changes like this allow me to retain mild optimism even as the legal situation gets markedly worse in other countries. Here (Germany), a handful of movements towards updating our horrifically antiquated trans legislation have been gaining traction too, but i don't have a whole lot of confidence there'll be any success before the next general election this fall. I'd like to eventually have my data changed, and for reasons that will hopefully become obvious in the next sentence i have no plans of using the currently officially sanctioned path for that.
    The 1981 "transsexuals law" regulating the name and gender change process poses an impressive list of demands (that used to include mandatory sterilization before it was declared unconstitutional, like about half of the law by now) before you can have yourself declared "trans enough" in court proceedings for a measly sum of around 1000-1500€, depending on how much time your two "expert opinions"¹ take to procure. Fun times! There's also a newer law making all of this a matter of declaring your desired gender and name to the local records office, but of course that's intended exclusively for intersex people, and while plenty of trans people just went ahead and got an attestation for an unspecified intersex condition (all that's legally required), it's somewhat of a legal grey area².
    For quite a while, there's also been a push, lately supported by more or less the progressive half of parliament, to wholly replace the "transsexuals law" with one based on self-identification and no gatekeeping. The conservatives in charge don't seem partial to that approach for some reason. So, for about one and a half years now, the grand coalition has been in a state of firm and principled indecisiveness about the matter³, but a few days ago a replacement draft from the conservative-staffed interior ministry was leaked and considering its origin it's actually fairly good. It's still gatekeeping, but less so, and either significantly cheaper or entirely free. Of course, it's a leaked draft, so who knows where we'll end up eventually.


    ¹ As we all know, gender is a quality measurable by any sufficiently old and creepy psychologist.
    ² German jurisprudence is, in part due to the lack of terms cleanly separating "sex" and "gender", very confused on the whole affair. There is precedent for being trans being legally considered as a specific intersex condition (yes, you read that right), but all of the judicial discourse on the matter is usually buried in highly specific and inaccessible court decisions.
    ³ Which seems to be what people keep electing them for, in all fairness.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    deing
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    Well, as promised, Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks. It was very good (and very long!), and is, broadly speaking, about dead people. There's multiple deeply intertwined subplots: Hell is real, at...

    Well, as promised, Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks. It was very good (and very long!), and is, broadly speaking, about dead people. There's multiple deeply intertwined subplots: Hell is real, at least for a rather large number of societies. It's a VR environment where the mind-states of the dead are tortured to threaten the living into good behavior. We get to extensively see into one of them. Lededje Y'breq is also dead, but got better (courtesy of a Culture ship) after being murdered by her slavemaster, an amalgamation of Musk and Bezos with significantly more resources and rather fewer moral qualms about his activities (both of which are rather impressive). She wants revenge, the Culture doesn't want her killing people (as we've gotten used to, for reasons beyond the immediately obvious), so the ship dispatches a drone to keep watch on her as she returns to her home world.
    In the bigger picture, the virtual hells are fairly unpopular with a great deal of people. For decades, an entirely virtual war has been raging back and forth between pro-hell and anti-hell forces, after an agreement to make the decision to switch off or keep the hells on based on the war's result. We follow Vatueil (an interesting name, wouldn't you agree), a soldier in the anti-hell forces, through a large variety of simulated combat environments from medieval siege warfare over automated space marine battles to completely incomprehensible hyper-jellyfish combat. The situation for the anti-hell forces looks increasingly dire though. They discuss cheating and escalating the virtual war into the real world.
    There are many factions within and beyond the Culture involved, and multiple twists at the end do actually keep these two paragraphs fairly spoiler-free, haha. I recommend it!

    After this, i'm taking a break from Culture books for now and starting the next week with Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand Of Darkness, which i don't know much of anything about other that it's a classic of feminist sci-fi, so i'm excited!

    1 vote
  5. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    deing
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    So far i've read (in order) The Player of Games, Use of Weapons, Excession, Consider Phlebas, Inversions and The State of the Art, all of them as eBooks. Consider Phlebas probably is my least...

    So far i've read (in order) The Player of Games, Use of Weapons, Excession, Consider Phlebas, Inversions and The State of the Art, all of them as eBooks. Consider Phlebas probably is my least favorite full-length novel of those; Excession was much more to my liking. Despite the intricate conspiracies, looming threat of the OCP, and weird human part of the story, i found one notion in particular from the book oddly reassuring: even for hyperspatial godlike AIs beyond our comprehension¹, the comment sections… still suck.
    Actually, i'm currently waiting on a collection with physical volumes of all novels². It's been delayed a bit because it's shipping from the UK (had i noticed the books a few months earlier the wait now probably would be shorter, haha). Of the remaining ones i'll probably read Surface Detail first, then!

    Update: they've arrived! Started reading Surface Detail. So far, rather enjoyable.


    ¹ Noticed just now that the only times so far that i actually got to see "inside" Minds or independent drones was when they were damaged enough that they're more or less running on the last-ditch backups of their backup processing units.
    ² Even though i consume most media (books, music, film, shows…) digitally, i still very much like having physical artifacts around that actually remind me of the stuff that's buried somewhere on my hard drives.

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

    deing
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    One of my christmas gifts was Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which i completed earlier this month. It's not the first Culture novel i've read — that'd be The Player Of Games, somewhere in late...

    One of my christmas gifts was Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons, which i completed earlier this month. It's not the first Culture novel i've read — that'd be The Player Of Games, somewhere in late June 2020 — but it combined the delightful prose, epic worldbuilding and meaningful political and moral commentary that i already loved about Banks with a twist that in my opinion just makes you reevaluate everything you think know about the story until that point. I'd really rank it as one of the best books i've ever read.

    Use of Weapons spoilers, don't open especially if you're near the end and are convinced that no major surprise could possibly come up now

    Learning that the badass dude you've happily followed along in flashbacks and the forward storyline doesn't just have a Suitably Mysterious And Probably Dark Past, but is himself the Chairmaker that haunts his memories, the one that did the worst of conceivable things simultaneously to his (not-quite) sister and (not-quite) brother, was a real gut punch for me, especially as i didn't see it coming at all.

    I expected some subversion, of course, and did find quite a few hints, for example in the initial poem, but they lead me to a completely wrong set of assumptions¹ on what was awaiting me. It's a reveal that forces you to completely reexamine your opinion of "the young man Cullis had called Zakalwe" and it's … beautiful, really. Few books have fucked with my emotions like this one.

    Reading it a second time, it feels almost blindingly obvious at times what you missed the first time. For example, the two only mentions of the phrase "use of weapons" happen in these bits (although one might get distracted by the expressiveness and emotionality of the text)

    Chapter VIII

    And [the flashback POV character] had two shadows, it was two things; it was the need and it was the method. The need was obvious; to defeat what opposed its life. The method was that taking and bending of materials and people to one purpose, the outlook that every­thing could be used in the fight; that nothing could be excluded, that everything was a weapon, and the ability to handle those weapons, to find them and choose which one to aim and fire; that talent, that ability, that Use of Weapons.

    Chapter I

    Intending to rub his eyes, he raised one hand and found the pistol in it.
    He put it to his right temple.
    This was, of course, he realised, exactly what Elethiomel wanted him to do, but then, what chance did one have against such a monster? There was only so much a man could take, after all. […] Such consummate skill, such ability, such adaptability, such numbing ruthlessness, such a Use of Weapons when anything could become weapon...

    You also get a bunch of early exposition on how Elethiomel is so much more more cunning and ruthless than Cheradenine. The main flashback POV character plans like two or three decapitation strikes before your POV switches to Cheradenine immediately before he dies from to another (or rather, the first) of the sort.

    The use of weapons permeates this novel so much that i can't really come up with a more apt title — Elethiomel uses weapons of incredible versatility, is used as a weapon himself (and lets himself be used that way, in a combination of atonement and that being the only thing that he really can do, probably), once he "stops working" at the end we see Diziet just going on and grabbing a new gun for SC.


    ¹ For example i assumed Zakalwe would turn out to be some sort of Changer and/or betray the Culture!

    Still at a loss for words, there's so much more i'd like to write about this. There's a podcast reading and discussing this novel (as well as the other Culture novels) in five parts, i'd recommend that too.

    7 votes
  7. Comment on Becoming physically immune to brute-force attacks in ~comp

    deing
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    Interesting, short, and frankly, fun, paper related to this: Ultimate physical limits to computation. A few of the concepts explored are beyond my understanding, but the conclusion is rather...

    Interesting, short, and frankly, fun, paper related to this: Ultimate physical limits to computation. A few of the concepts explored are beyond my understanding, but the conclusion is rather memorable: the "ultimate laptop", the most capable vaguely computer-esque system conceivable with a mass-energy of one kilogram, is essentially an expanding cloud of superheated plasma.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Share a link to good singing in a language that you don't understand in ~music

    deing
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    Oh, this got bumped, so i'm going to use the opportunity to sneak another one in :) Did you know that before the revolution, Iran had pretty good rock music? Kourosh Yaghmaei - Havar Havar

    Oh, this got bumped, so i'm going to use the opportunity to sneak another one in :)

    Did you know that before the revolution, Iran had pretty good rock music? Kourosh Yaghmaei - Havar Havar

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Share a link to a song that tells a story in ~music

    deing
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    Emerson, Lake & Palmer — Karn Evil 9 (1973) (lyrics @ genius) This one's separated into three "impressions" and comes in at about half an hour in total, depending on what version you're hearing....

    Emerson, Lake & Palmer — Karn Evil 9 (1973) (lyrics @ genius)
    This one's separated into three "impressions" and comes in at about half an hour in total, depending on what version you're hearing.
    Its storyline is set in the grim, dark future where there is only war and all traces of humanity's past glory are artifacts of decadence paraded around in a circus-like event. Then it goes downhill from there.
    Despite this fairly depressing outlook, it's one of my favorite pieces of all time. Part of that is definitely the fairly unique instrument organ, which ELP's done wonders with.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on We Lost The Sea - Departure Songs (2015) in ~music

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    This album has very calming music even (or perhaps especially?) if you don't know the backstories, summarized from the link below: The first track, A Gallant Gentleman, is about Lawrence Oates, an...

    This album has very calming music even (or perhaps especially?) if you don't know the backstories, summarized from the link below:

    Our latest record ‘Departure Songs’ is inspired by failed, yet epic and honorable journeys or events throughout history where people have done extraordinary things for the greater good of those around them, and the progress of the human race itself. Each song has its own story and is a soundtrack to that story. The songs are a celebration of lives lived and lost.
    Album Artwork Commentary

    The first track, A Gallant Gentleman, is about Lawrence Oates, an antarctic explorer who (ineffectively) sacrificed himself to buy his companions more time; the second one, Bogatyri, is dedicated to three vitally important clean-up workers in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster who died from extreme radiation exposure. The third, The Last Dive of David Shaw, deals with the eponymous dive, in which Shaw attempted to rescue a prior diver's body from a particularly tricky cave, only to succumb to the same fate in the end. The final, two-split, song is about the Challenger explosion and has a long sequence about dreams underscored with sampled speeches.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Help Packaging Elmer FEM for Nix in ~comp

    deing
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    I copied over your expression and looked into the build, scrolling up in the output a bit I found why make failed: /build/source/matc/src/str.c: In function 'str_sprintf':...
    • Exemplary

    I copied over your expression and looked into the build, scrolling up in the output a bit I found why make failed:

    /build/source/matc/src/str.c: In function 'str_sprintf':
    /build/source/matc/src/str.c:85:5: error: format not a string literal and no format arguments [-Werror=format-security]
       85 |     sprintf(str_pstr, fmt);
          |     ^~~~~~~
    cc1: some warnings being treated as errors
    

    Nix by default enables some hardening options, you can disable the specific one causing this error by adding hardeningDisable = [ "format" ]; to your mkDerivation arguments.
    Obviously there's always one more problem. This time, it was

    In file included from /build/source/build/ElmerGUI/Application/ElmerGUI_autogen/UVLADIE3JM/moc_convergenceview.cpp:9,
                     from /build/source/build/ElmerGUI/Application/ElmerGUI_autogen/mocs_compilation.cpp:5:
    /build/source/ElmerGUI/Application/src/convergenceview.h:55:10: fatal error: qwt_compat.h: No such file or directory
       55 | #include <qwt_compat.h>
          |          ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    compilation terminated.
    

    You already had correctly specified qwt as a dependency, but for some reason the qwt package doesn't include that particular header. So I used nix-locate qwt_compat.h to find out that it's present in the qwt6_qt4 package. Replace it and your project should build correctly!

    8 votes