papasquat's recent activity

  1. Comment on My college students are not ok in ~life

    papasquat
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    It's certainly a factor. I can identify with what you're feeling myself as well. In my case it's not even so much workload is it is poor management. I work for a massive company, and I know that...

    It's certainly a factor. I can identify with what you're feeling myself as well. In my case it's not even so much workload is it is poor management. I work for a massive company, and I know that there are things that need to get done, but I don't know how to do them. Knowledge management is an absolute disaster at my organization, and most people desperately try to grasp what the current situation and next steps on any project are by blasting out an absolute ton of meetings and emails, so most peoples' jobs just becomes sitting in meetings and reading/writing emails.

    It's a pretty soul crushing way of working, and when all you're doing is collaborating, you're not actually getting any sense of fulfillment by actually creating things or helping people. I've learned this is a pretty common occurrence at large organizations. Maybe that's not exactly what you're going through, but I know I've used caffeine and prescribed amphetamines as crutches trying to desperately stay engaged.
    Just my myopic limited view of things from my own little foxhole.

    I hope your workload starts lightening up soon or you're able to move to a job that doesn't leave you so drained. That sounds like a pretty awful thing to have to deal with.

    5 votes
  2. Comment on My college students are not ok in ~life

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    There’s something to be said about the idea that sex, for many people is uniquely personal and vulnerable in a way that other physical activities aren’t. While someone being forced by economic...

    There’s something to be said about the idea that sex, for many people is uniquely personal and vulnerable in a way that other physical activities aren’t.
    While someone being forced by economic realities into a job they don’t enjoy definitely isn’t ideal, someone being forced into sex work specifically will be uniquely dehumanizing for many people. After all, there’s a reason why society treats sexual and non sexual assault differently.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on My college students are not ok in ~life

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    You haven't seen much research around it because not a lot of research has been done into it. Anecdotally though, from speaking to male and female friends my age and younger, it's caused problems....

    You haven't seen much research around it because not a lot of research has been done into it. Anecdotally though, from speaking to male and female friends my age and younger, it's caused problems. I know of multiple relationships that have ended because of porn addiction/obsession. Female friends of mine have talked about how guys expect them to do things in bed that 10 years ago would have been really out there and niche, now it's an assumption that that's how sex is supposed to go. I've talked to men who are in otherwise happy relationships but lament that their partners don't look like the ones from porn. I have female friends who have done sex work on onlyfans a few years back to make extra cash because it seemed like everyone was doing it, but now regret that that content is out there forever. I've seen multiple people fired because they were looking at porn at work.

    I can't really speak to whether these things have caused mental health issues in the people I've talked to about it, but it has caused real world impact, and I can't help but think that if a lot of these people weren't habitually watching porn from a very young age, those problems wouldn't exist to the degree they do now.

    I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with creating or watching porn from a moral standpoint as long as the people involved consented to it (really consented to it, ie; weren't pressured by intimidation, social/economic pressure, and were fully informed about the nature of the content they're creating and the likelihood of its longevity).

    I do however think that exposure to it from a young age, and habitual, normalized use of it, along with the tropes common in it leaking into normal human sexual interactions are an overall harm to society though.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on My college students are not ok in ~life

    papasquat
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    This is part of a worrying trend I've noticed across society, not just in college, and it started before the pandemic. People just aren't mentally well. Maybe it's just my own vantage point from...

    This is part of a worrying trend I've noticed across society, not just in college, and it started before the pandemic. People just aren't mentally well. Maybe it's just my own vantage point from having my own personal struggles over the past few years, but it seems like society in general is just sort of spiraling. Most people I know have some form of depression, anxiety, bipolar, or some other sort of personality/mental health disorder. Everyone seems lonely and miserable most of the time except for brief spurts of mania which they post about on social media.

    I don't know what it is, but it didn't always seem like this, and it's not just immature coming of age angst on my part, I'm in my mid 30s, and things didn't seem nearly as bad 10 years ago. It just seems like people are checking out of society, not out of rebellion or rage, but out of pure exhaustion; most of their effort is spent merely keeping their own lives together, which leaves very little left over other than doing the absolute bare minimum.

    I can't really offer an explanation other than the usual suspects that get blamed for most of modern society's ills: rising income inequality, the prevalence of social media and all of the unhealthy patterns it encourages, widespread proliferation of porn at a very young age, online dating, anxiety about climate change, extreme polarization in politics, microplastics and other environmental contaminants, and yes, the pandemic, but as I said, most of these trends are things I started noticing beforehand as well.

    I don't know, but it really sucks.

    14 votes
  5. Comment on When is a ‘tank’ not a tank? in ~humanities

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    The point that the author was making is that form follows function, essentially. A wheeled "tank" can't be a tank, not because it has wheels, but because the light weight that would be required...

    Wheeled tank destroyers like the Centauro and the AMX-10 RC ? Sure, they could be used as tanks in a pinch.

    The point that the author was making is that form follows function, essentially. A wheeled "tank" can't be a tank, not because it has wheels, but because the light weight that would be required for it to have wheels would necessitate either light weaponry, or light armor, which would no longer make it capable of doing its job as a tank, which is to take and deal a ton of punishment in order to push through enemy lines. Tanks of course usually have turrets, but a turret isn't strictly required to do its job, gunlaying can be done via traversing the vehicle or a gun mantlet. Presently, we don't have a technology for a vehicle with heavy weaponry and armor to be able to move cross country without tracks though, so if you don't have tracks, you're not a tank.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Slow Social, a social network built for friends, not influencers in ~tech

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    Yeah, when I was an idealistic young nerd, I naively assumed that widespread access to communication would level the playing field and that regular people would have access to reach huge swaths of...

    Yeah, when I was an idealistic young nerd, I naively assumed that widespread access to communication would level the playing field and that regular people would have access to reach huge swaths of the population, and that good ideas and concepts would naturally bubble up to to the top based purely on their intellectual merit. I failed to realize that A. the proliferation of how far those ideas and concepts spread are still largely controlled by huge corporations, and B. Ideas/memes don't spread based on any sort of logical or rational merit. They spread based on how effectively they tap into extreme human emotions like empathy, sadness, fear, or anger.

    It's shaped a lot of my politics honestly. I used to think that given an absence of an oppressive framework of control, human society would just naturally shape itself into something that's rational, peaceful, and sustainable. Looking at the internet as a microcosm of human society at large, I've come to realize that maybe all those tens of thousands of years of sociological theorists, religious leaders, politicians, and philosophers may have known a thing or two that I didn't.

    6 votes
  7. Comment on Slow Social, a social network built for friends, not influencers in ~tech

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with it on an individual basis, but its appeal comes from hijacking one of the most base instincts humanity has, and those mechanisms in general have an...

    I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with it on an individual basis, but its appeal comes from hijacking one of the most base instincts humanity has, and those mechanisms in general have an extreme propensity to be used for exploitation. In the specific case of porn, it would be hard to argue that widespread, unfettered proliferation has resulted in anything resembling a net good for the world.

    My feelings on porn in general are kind of complicated and all over the place though, going deep into it would be a big tangent.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on Slow Social, a social network built for friends, not influencers in ~tech

    papasquat
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    Really neat idea. I think me from 15 years ago would have really loved the idea and been 100% onboard. I've gotten much more cynical about the internet and technology in general the more I've...
    • Exemplary

    Really neat idea. I think me from 15 years ago would have really loved the idea and been 100% onboard. I've gotten much more cynical about the internet and technology in general the more I've dealt with it and lived with it though.

    The most popular sites on the internet are so popular largely because they've been able to hijack flaws with the way the human brain processes information. Rage fuel, clickbait, misleading headlines, popups, suggestion algorithms, hard sell signup campaigns, sexual imagery or just straight up porn are all part of the top 10 sites in the world, and that's not a coincidence. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that on the modern internet, the only way for a website to be successful (success defined as a large user base with regular engagement) is to exploit these flaws in the human mind. We're not rational beings, these companies know this, and they exploit that fact to get clicks and ad views.

    I liked the internet a lot better 15 years ago when sites like the one linked on this post could become popular, but I've come to realized that the internet of 1990-2006 was a transitory phase where the people with large amounts of capital were experimenting and trying to figure out how to exploit this massive potential for reaching absolutely huge amounts of people with virtually no oversight. The internet as it is today is the stable equilibrium where it was always eventually going to head to. I don't have a lot of optimism for the future of the mainstream internet. I think it will largely stay the way it is now, with a blip every now and again where someone figures out how to exploit people's irrational tendencies even more effectively (which has happened a few times during the modern internet, starting with facebook, then youtube and twitter, then instagram, then vine, now tiktok, each site coming up with a new way to exploit people's attention and keep them hooked, and then the predecessors adopting those tactics as well).

    I would absolutely love for a site like this to take off, unfortunately I'm not super optimistic about it, because the network effect is a monopolists wet dream, and without a good vanguard of users that are extremely engaged with a site, usually because of exploitative attention grabbing tactics, a new social media site has very little chance of long term success.

    27 votes
  9. Comment on Hi, how are you? Mental health support and discussion thread (April 2022) in ~talk

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    I feel ya brother. No advice or helpful suggestions, but I feel the same way very often.

    I feel ya brother. No advice or helpful suggestions, but I feel the same way very often.

    4 votes
  10. Comment on FTC sues to stop “deceptive” TurboTax “free” ad campaign in ~finance

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    Its classic rent seeking behavior. Tax preparation is almost entirely a made up, wasteful exercise in banality. The tax code could be streamlined and simplified. There are so many credits,...

    Its classic rent seeking behavior. Tax preparation is almost entirely a made up, wasteful exercise in banality. The tax code could be streamlined and simplified. There are so many credits, loopholes, and caveats that do very little towards what they're designed to do (incentivize certain types of behavior). A simplified, streamlined progressive tax scale would make the entire tax prep industry pointless and save millions of man hours, billions of dollars, and an immeasurable amount of stress every year. The government already knows how much 90% of the people in the country makes because their employer files W2s on their behalf. The only reason there needs to be any sort of interaction from the taxpayer is to report any additional income, and for deductions. Eliminate the deductions, and allow people to voluntarily report additional income if they have it enforced by random audits, but otherwise, people would have to do nothing, their taxes could be automatically filed, we wouldn't have to worry about additional withholding nonsense, and we could go about our lives without wasted dozens of hours shuffling pointless paperwork around every year.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on the stage of The Oscars in ~tv

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    That's the thing about empathy though, you can really only know things from your own point of view, you can only really guess at others'. I would argue that hair is particularly meaningful to...

    The talking point derives from the source of the joke, Jada's hair and her alopecia. Generally speaking there is an idea that hair is particularly meaningful to black women (and not just women in general), and that the loss of a black woman's hair is particularly damaging to her emotionally.

    That's the thing about empathy though, you can really only know things from your own point of view, you can only really guess at others'. I would argue that hair is particularly meaningful to everyone, it's a huge part of how people perceive you. When I started losing my hair around 10 years ago, it was absolutely devastating. It completely changes people's perceptions of you, and places you in a different "category." I will say that because its so much more common in men than women, maybe it would have been worse if I were a woman, but ascribing some sort of special status to black women or women as a whole, or any other group of people, where you can't joke about this thing otherwise it's ok for people to slap you is just nuts.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on the stage of The Oscars in ~tv

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    I'm a straight guy who hangs out with gay folks a lot, and the difference in our sexual/romantic landscapes always makes me sad. Obviously there are big problems in the gay and lesbian "sexual...

    I'm a straight guy who hangs out with gay folks a lot, and the difference in our sexual/romantic landscapes always makes me sad. Obviously there are big problems in the gay and lesbian "sexual marketplace" as well and I don't want to minimize those, but overall it's always strikes me as so much friendlier.

    When I go out at night at a straight bar or club, every woman is immediately extremely suspicious of me and trying to figure out if I'm a predator or creep. Every man is sizing me up and trying to assess how to best belittle me or physically attack me if necessary. It's ridiculously hard to have even a friendly nonsexual interaction with people because everyone tends to be on edge and in hunting/guarding mode. It feels more like stalking through the jungles of khe sanh looking for snipers than having a fun night out sometimes. I mostly prefer just hanging out with my gay friends at gay places nowadays, with the unfortunate realization that if enough straight people think the same way as me, those places will become straight places too.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on Will Smith slaps Chris Rock on the stage of The Oscars in ~tv

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    That's certainly a take... I grew up as a white people around white people who largely would have responded the same way, and would certainly think it was entirely justifiable to respond to...

    That's certainly a take...
    I grew up as a white people around white people who largely would have responded the same way, and would certainly think it was entirely justifiable to respond to someone saying something you don't like with physical violence. It's very obviously not something that's exclusively the domain of black people.

    I think painting the issue as some sort of black cultural thing where in black culture, it's acceptable to respond to speech with violence is incredibly racist.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on What examples of Goodhart's law have you encountered in your own life? in ~talk

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    Even then, it's really not a great metric. You get what you measure, and what you're measuring is how quickly techs are closing tickets. Not necessarily how quickly issues are being resolved, or...

    It might have been great to use this as a target metric if what you are after is happy customers.

    Even then, it's really not a great metric. You get what you measure, and what you're measuring is how quickly techs are closing tickets. Not necessarily how quickly issues are being resolved, or how satisfied the customer is with the resolution. This results in things like the ticket "my mouse stopped working" being closed via a note on the ticket "Get a new mouse". Or long running issues being closed and reopened to "avoid escalations", when that destroys the entire point of long running tickets being escalated. If customer happiness is what you're after, that's what you should measure. Using other metrics as a proxy for what you actually want to measure usually doesn't work out when people are involved.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on Four dead after US military plane crashes in Norway – MV-22B Osprey was taking part in NATO exercise 'Cold Response' in ~news

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    This is true. Also, the sheer number of moving parts on a helicopter is mind boggling. An airplane is mostly a solid sheet of metal, formed in an aerodynamic, lift producing way, with something...

    This is true. Also, the sheer number of moving parts on a helicopter is mind boggling. An airplane is mostly a solid sheet of metal, formed in an aerodynamic, lift producing way, with something pushing it forward, and slight movements in those aerodynamic surfaces let you maintain control.

    A helicopter is a mish-mosh of rotating parts spinning between 800 and 9000 RPM all throughout the system. Complicated sets of swash plates, PC links, hydraulic control systems, bearings, driveshafts and gearboxes all work in concert to keep the thing aloft. Any one of those systems stops working and you're screwed. Working on helicopters for many years has given me a great respect, fear, and distrust for any complicated system. For helicopters, that unholy mess of complexity is worth it for the ability to hover, land, and take off vertically. For other systems, maybe not.

    12 votes
  16. Comment on What examples of Goodhart's law have you encountered in your own life? in ~talk

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    I agree, it's not really an accurate saying. I've heard an alternative, maybe less negative variation of it, which is "You get what you measure". I think in certain circumstances with commonly...

    I agree, it's not really an accurate saying. I've heard an alternative, maybe less negative variation of it, which is "You get what you measure".

    I think in certain circumstances with commonly measured metrics, that's fine. Your example is a classic one. Salespeople are often, and sometimes exclusively measured based on their sales performance. That's because that's the one thing the company values from them.

    The more sales a salesman makes, the better they are at their job. The company doesn't care about how happy the customers the salesman closes deals with are, how comfortable they are coming into the store, how well the salesperson gets along with the rest of the staff or virtually anything else besides how many sales the salesman brings in. If the salesman does that with a charming personality, hard sell intimidation tactics, or by convincing all of their friends and family to buy from the store, the company doesn't really care. They got what they want. That incentive works well for the most part.

    When you have a project manager who is evaluated based on how quickly they completed a project, however, things get a little more dicey.
    While yes, you do want project managers to complete projects quickly, that's not all you want from them. You want the projects to come in at or below budget, you want the products they create to be fit for task, you want the products to be maintainable, you want to retain the workers used to make the product, and not have them be completely burnt out and quit after the project is over.

    If you're just measuring project managers on completion speed, you'll get quickly completed projects at the expense of every other consideration. You get what you measure.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on What examples of Goodhart's law have you encountered in your own life? in ~talk

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    True, but not always necessarily. Bad targets don't always require lying or dishonesty to be bad. I have a good example of this. Long ago, when I started my career in technology, I worked for a...
    • Exemplary

    I think a big differentiating factor is how easy it is to lie about something vs how rewarding the target is. In your example, lying to a fitbit is extremely easy.

    True, but not always necessarily. Bad targets don't always require lying or dishonesty to be bad. I have a good example of this.

    Long ago, when I started my career in technology, I worked for a small managed service provider as a technician. I always had a knack for technology and was interested in computers and networking from a young age, so I came into the job already knowing quite a bit about small and medium business networking. As a result, I fell into an escalation role, I'd handle issues that the other techs couldn't figure out which required in depth research, packet captures, network changes, etc.

    The issue is that the techs were evaluated based on ticket closures. The more tickets you closed, the more productive you were and the more valuable you were as a worker. While to management this sounds good on paper after a cursory thought, in reality, it became a mess.
    When a new ticket came in, a mad scramble to evaluate it and assign it to yourself was on. Techs would constantly refresh the queue, and if they saw something like "I can't find my icons" or "my task bar is gone", they'd quickly assign it to themselves, call or email the user, fix the issue in a minute, and close the ticket.

    Something like "This internal website is throwing a python error" or "we get a database error on our ERP app when this batch job runs" would either sit languishing in the queue for hours or days, or be picked up, investigated for 2 minutes, then immediately escalated to me. These kinds of issues would take me hours or days to figure out, as I was learning new technology on the fly, having to run wireshark captures, sometimes coding to fix bugs in random home brew scripts and applications and so forth. I thought I did a pretty good job there, but my evaluations were abysmal because while my coworkers were closing something like 100 tickets a week, I was sitting at more like 10. My manager understood when I complained about it, but I could tell that those number still held some sway for him because on a pretty graph, I looked like the lowest performer.

    The level 1 techs weren't lying or cheating or being dishonest, they were simply rationally acting in a manner which the company incentivized based on what they measured. Since then, I've seen this kind of stuff happening all throughout my career. Fixing lots of little small things or completing lots of little, easy projects will almost always look better to an executive than working on large complex problems.

    21 votes
  18. Comment on What's one weird thing about yourself? in ~talk

    papasquat
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    A normal human doesn't have an IQ of 200, and even if it were possible to measure an IQ up to 400, I'm kind of doubting you're the smartest person in the world to ever be tested.

    A normal human doesn't have an IQ of 200, and even if it were possible to measure an IQ up to 400, I'm kind of doubting you're the smartest person in the world to ever be tested.

    5 votes
  19. Comment on What are your failed hobbies? in ~hobbies

    papasquat
    Link Parent
    Am Jewish, and a common misconception among non jews is that the word "jew" is somehow in it of itself offensive. It's not. A jew is just a person who happens to be Jewish, just like an Italian is...

    Am Jewish, and a common misconception among non jews is that the word "jew" is somehow in it of itself offensive. It's not. A jew is just a person who happens to be Jewish, just like an Italian is a person that happens to be from Italy or a painter is a person who happens to paint things.

    Obviously I can't speak for all jews, but "jew's harp" isn't offensive to me at all. Sure, it doesn't actually have anything to do with jews or judiasm, but that never stopped french fries, chinese checkers, or mexican standoffs.

    6 votes
  20. Comment on Putin is trying to take down the entire world order, the veteran Russia watcher said in an interview in ~misc

    papasquat
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    The sheer open level of entitlement displayed by the Russian leadership about this whole thing is something you don't see too often in developed countries nowadays. Its really very jarring.

    The sheer open level of entitlement displayed by the Russian leadership about this whole thing is something you don't see too often in developed countries nowadays. Its really very jarring.

    3 votes