patience_limited's recent activity

  1. Comment on Emily Ratajkowski - Owning my image in ~design

    patience_limited
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    It seems there's ample precedent for publication of photos without consent, even to the obvious detriment of the subject.

    It seems there's ample precedent for publication of photos without consent, even to the obvious detriment of the subject.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on What factors have made Germany relatively successful in managing the coronavirus crisis? in ~health.coronavirus

    patience_limited
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    While I'm suspicious of broad generalizations about national character, it's worth studying nations provably successful in coping with COVID-19 without resort to authoritarian tactics. I'm in...

    Good governance; high skills; solid public finances; regional strengths; social solidarity — and a new-found characteristic, compassion. The Germans have shown the world how these attributes help deal with the crises they have faced, of which Covid-19 is only the latest.

    The measure of a country — or an institution or individual for that matter — is not the difficulties it faces, but how it surmounts them. On that test, contemporary Germany is a country to be envied. It has developed a maturity that few others can match.

    While I'm suspicious of broad generalizations about national character, it's worth studying nations provably successful in coping with COVID-19 without resort to authoritarian tactics.

    I'm in Michigan, where a Merkel-like state governor is battling loons and corrupt incompetents fostered on the U.S. right-wing. (For a telling example, Republicans have stalled all attempts to ban guns, even assault rifles, from the state legislature building...)

    We're just barely keeping case counts steady, with ongoing high mortality in majority-Black and poor communities.

    I'd love to hear from anyone whose regional or national government seems to have been doing things right. Also, comments from any Germany residents on their public perception of government competence, regionalism, and systemic strengths/flaws in the COVID-19 response.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Thoughts in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    Again, 100% not an expert here, but my suspicion is that what I think of as "hyperlearning disorders", or excessive capacity to absorb and act on information, are at the root of addictions and...
    • Exemplary

    Again, 100% not an expert here, but my suspicion is that what I think of as "hyperlearning disorders", or excessive capacity to absorb and act on information, are at the root of addictions and other mental health issues. We're accustomed to people who, for one reason or another, simply can't master some learning tasks; why not people who are prone to grasp information quickly, thoroughly, and permanently?

    "Using drugs makes the pain go away" is a pretty compelling nugget of knowledge, as are memories of trauma for the 25% of the population who report PTSD-like symptoms. These learnings are so salient and persistent that they tend to warp the whole structure of a person's cognition around themselves.

    Likewise, the compelling stories woven in religion, conspiracy theories, propaganda, ideologies, rituals, cultures, are meant to embed themselves in such a way that the learner (with or without initial consent) can say , "This is known, and I don't have to waste energy thinking about it anymore."

    A lot of what I've absorbed from professional counseling involved versions of, "Here are new ways of thinking, so that you might absorb broader information again, which can explain your ongoing experiences differently than the story you've been telling yourself". Regaining and maintaining mental plasticity and resilience to traumatic experience has been hugely beneficial, even if it means I'm not as permeable to negative information as I used to be.

    We've talked about "confirmation bias" elsewhere on Tildes, and it's another natural human tendency that we're far more comfortable with knowing than with perpetual uncertainty. Even if "knowing" involves constantly digging for validation that you're a bad person, or that life is bad and hopeless, or that world-ending disaster is imminent, or that taking another dose is the only way to make the pain stop. Again, it's learning disorder territory when you're foreclosing access to new information that might lead you to healthier behaviors.

    P.S. - Any AI/ML experts here who might have relevant comment on models of reinforcement learning?

    6 votes
  4. Comment on Need help raising funds for a friend in ~misc

    patience_limited
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    Though /u/monarda had suggested hospital charitable programs, they're nearly impossible to access unless you're under age 18 (and more difficult to get into than they should be for children's...

    Though /u/monarda had suggested hospital charitable programs, they're nearly impossible to access unless you're under age 18 (and more difficult to get into than they should be for children's healthcare).

    What does work is asking for a payment plan. For an amount like $1,800, it may be possible to get it down to a nearly manageable monthly cost like $15 - 25 with income indexing. Even if it would take years to pay off at that rate, hospitals prefer structured payment plans to getting ten cents on the dollar in collections.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on Thoughts in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    I've been volunteering with Crisis Text Line for a while, and your story is a familiar one. [Please note that I'm not writing here as a representative or advocate for that organization, and I'm...
    • Exemplary

    I've been volunteering with Crisis Text Line for a while, and your story is a familiar one. [Please note that I'm not writing here as a representative or advocate for that organization, and I'm not a mental health professional.]

    It's common for people who suffer from unbearable stresses to seek relief in self-medication with alcohol, or distraction in porn or games. Those actions arise from an understandable desire for respite, even when they're self-harming or injurious to others.

    It may be difficult to acknowledge that even the behaviors and traits you despise in yourself are actually signs of resilience, toughness, and creativity. You write with intelligence, wit, and verve even when expressing self-loathing.

    As I've had some experience with these depths of despair, I can say that in retrospect, one of the worst and most self-reinforcing aspects is the salience of negative recollections. I won't go into the body of research on this, but there's a clear evolutionary bias to gather, store, and retrieve painful memories much more easily than pleasant ones. For basic animal survival, it's most important to have propulsive painful emotions at the hint of any threat, rather than lingering in happy recollections and speculations about rewards. With our advanced capacity for abstraction, "threat" becomes so diffuse and ubiquitous that we're constantly prone to perceiving danger (e.g. "what if people don't respect me?"), and perennially helpless to respond to it effectively.

    In the absence of balanced, accurate perception and recall, it's easy to create a downward spiral of negative memory, negative acts to suppress or distract from painful feelings, leading to more negative recollections, and eventual exhaustion or despair. The good news is, there are ways to interrupt this circular descent if you're willing to accept that memory is biased and faulty, and that the narrative you've created from it is incomplete.

    Again, I'm not a professional, but one of the most immediately useful self-help tools I've found is a simple phone app called Woebot. It's not a substitute for professional interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy or EMDR. However, Woebot does let you track negative thoughts and helps you to consider alternative explanations for what you've perceived. It's not force-feeding you happy feel-good crap, it's just a reframing process that's more creative than being stuck going in the same old circles.

    I will say, based on having lived through multiple periods where I felt the way you do now, that the desires for meaning and purpose can be fulfilled in many ways that don't involve religious faith. What is required is suspension of the disbelief that we can be meaningful to other people in positive ways.

    12 votes
  6. Comment on Fitness Weekly Discussion in ~health

    patience_limited
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    Well, I've gained back the strength I lost (no gym access due to COVID-19 lockdowns) in weightlifting, and then some. All my numbers are up 30 - 40% with eight weeks of diligent effort, plus a...

    Well, I've gained back the strength I lost (no gym access due to COVID-19 lockdowns) in weightlifting, and then some.

    All my numbers are up 30 - 40% with eight weeks of diligent effort, plus a bunch of heavy lifting at the winery. The exception is leg adduction/abduction at only 10% improvement. That's pretty much expected with one hip replaced and the other pending surgery at some time in the next year.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on What is clean wine and should you care? in ~food

    patience_limited
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    Link Parent
    No, sediment in wine is a completely natural phenomenon. It can be anything from tartaric acid (naturally present in grape juice) crystals, to precipitated grape pigments, to yeast residue. One of...

    No, sediment in wine is a completely natural phenomenon. It can be anything from tartaric acid (naturally present in grape juice) crystals, to precipitated grape pigments, to yeast residue. One of the mentioned ingredients in "industrial" wine, bentonite clay, is also used to refine sediment particles out. There's a lot of discussion among winemakers about whether mechanical filtering methods strip out flavor, and the consensus seems to be that traditional flocculants (egg white powder, clay, etc.) are less damaging to natural flavor profiles.

    The dimple (punt) in the bottom of the bottles used for some wine varietals, e.g. Pinot Noir, is there to allow the sediment to settle out of, and separate from, the wine, as well as strengthening the bottle for effervescent fermentations.

    I'm kind of crazy about wine chemistry and production methods these days, and will rattle on at excessive length if provoked.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on If you had to teach a class on literature, what books would you put on your syllabus? in ~books

    patience_limited
    Link Parent
    Gods yes, this is a fantastic list. I'll confess that when I had to take a college English Literature class, the instructor thought that the relentlessly cheerful (/s) classics Jude the Obscure,...

    Gods yes, this is a fantastic list. I'll confess that when I had to take a college English Literature class, the instructor thought that the relentlessly cheerful (/s) classics Jude the Obscure, Northanger Abbey, and Bartleby, the Scrivener would somewhat enrich our grasping little minds. To the best of my knowledge, there were no student suicides that semester, but it was a near thing.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on If you had to teach a class on literature, what books would you put on your syllabus? in ~books

    patience_limited
    Link Parent
    For those interested in this topic, I'd also have to recommend Mary Pipher's nonfiction Women Rowing North, as much for the potential of examining its flaws during a classroom session, as for its...

    For those interested in this topic, I'd also have to recommend Mary Pipher's nonfiction Women Rowing North, as much for the potential of examining its flaws during a classroom session, as for its virtues in exploring the challenges of aging for women. [The self-help and positive thinking book genres are worth literary analysis and exploration in their own rights, I suspect.]

    I hate to bring up the old staple, Death of A Salesman, in this context, but it does grasp the nettle of mortality and the smallness and intimacy of an individual's life.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on What is clean wine and should you care? in ~food

    patience_limited
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    From the article: Personal note: My summer of playing hooky from professional life by working at my favorite winery's tasting room is coming to its end, so I thought I'd post some of the more...

    From the article:

    Actress Cameron Diaz and her business partner, the entrepreneur Katherine Power, have been all over various media promoting their new product Avaline, a white wine and a rosé, which they bill as “clean wine”. This has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy. Here is how they describe this very sanitary liquid:

    Winemakers are legally required to disclose very little about their wines. Those disclosures only reveal information such as growing and bottling locations, whether the wine contains sulfites, and the percentage of alcohol. There’s no obligation to tell you how their grapes are grown or to name any of the more than 70 additives that are used in the winemaking process to alter the taste, color, and mouthfeel of what is in your glass.

    We believe in holding our wine to a higher standard. Here’s to a new class of beverage: delicious taste, clean ingredients, bold transparency.

    Wine writer Alder Yarrow calls this a “commercial scam” and most serious wine enthusiasts are treating this notion of “clean wine” with a good deal of skepticism.

    Personal note: My summer of playing hooky from professional life by working at my favorite winery's tasting room is coming to its end, so I thought I'd post some of the more interesting reading I'd found along the way.

    For those who aren't aware, vegans who are conscientious about food production may avoid most commercial wine. Powdered egg white or gelatin additives are commonly used to remove fine suspended sediment, resulting in wine with greater clarity and somewhat less aggressive tannins.

    At the end of the day, alcoholic beverages should be considered heavily processed foods, subjected to extensive mechanical, thermal, and chemical manipulation at every stage of production. Even though yeasts occur naturally, they're biochemical manufactories capable of turning grape juice (itself processed) into numerous toxic substances, alcohol among them. As the article notes, the grapes may be organically grown, but any health or ethical benefits of "clean" wine are strictly notional.

    6 votes
  11. Comment on The 2020 Democratic National Convention has concluded. What are your thoughts on it? in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    Link Parent
    There are also plenty of left-wing or Democratic-leaning Christians who simply don't get as much news coverage as the loonier denominations. Even Mormons are pretty disgusted with Trump, if Mitt...

    There are also plenty of left-wing or Democratic-leaning Christians who simply don't get as much news coverage as the loonier denominations. Even Mormons are pretty disgusted with Trump, if Mitt Romney's pronouncements reflect the Church consensus. If they have to be told the Democratic Party's tent is welcoming even with the fundamental disagreements on policy, then the gesture has been made.

    10 votes
  12. Comment on The 2020 Democratic National Convention has concluded. What are your thoughts on it? in ~talk

    patience_limited
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    Link Parent
    Dunno about you, but my social circles include at least 5 Republican college-educated women who now reject the party whole-heartedly due to Donald Trump, and will vote for Biden. They're never...

    Dunno about you, but my social circles include at least 5 Republican college-educated women who now reject the party whole-heartedly due to Donald Trump, and will vote for Biden.

    They're never going to be comfortable with the Democratic Party's platform in its entirety. But they're very cognisant that the party they've adhered to, often life-long, has become unrecognizable and abhorrent. They recognize the value of stable and functional institutions in a democracy. They're utterly horrified by incompetence and naked corruption. To the extent that the convention extolled the virtues of well-considered and executed policy, they'll be satisfied.

    edit:sp

    4 votes
  13. Comment on The 2020 Democratic National Convention has concluded. What are your thoughts on it? in ~talk

  14. Comment on In 100 years' time, what do you think society will look back on and view with distaste? in ~humanities

    patience_limited
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    A few not-previously-mentioned selections from my 2120 society's rear-view mirror: Future citizens will be utterly baffled by our blindness to systemic fragility, and lack of planning for...

    A few not-previously-mentioned selections from my 2120 society's rear-view mirror:

    Future citizens will be utterly baffled by our blindness to systemic fragility, and lack of planning for resilience. E.g. "They knew the Earth's magnetic field could collapse or the sun could flare, and they didn't harden electronics? Old nuclear reactors could melt down, and they located them near cities? The stock markets could crash on a mere glitch? There were no medical and food reserves for plagues? Every possible resource was used to the capitalist maximum, with no slack or planning for surges and declines in demand? There was no meteorite defense system? One person could launch a nuclear weapon strike? Only a single genetic library of plant seeds?" You get the idea, and I'm assuming our descendants (presuming survivors) will have had to clean up the results of one or more catastrophes along these lines.

    2120 may have a science of cognitive toxicology, and they'll wonder at how we came to consume an informational diet of junk food memes, radioactive ideologies that harm multitudes and are impossible to clean up, plus synthesized viral propaganda. It will be mandatory to discard any data that lacks a verifiable quantum-unbreakable hash and blockchain of source history. Personalized (and personally verifiable) AI curation will filter and ration your feeds to ensure your long-term mental health remains sound and connected to objective reality. There will be legally specified limits on work exposures to traumatic content, and paid time to recuperate in natural settings without connectivity.

    7 votes
  15. Comment on What are the warning signs of an imminent project crisis? in ~comp

    patience_limited
    Link Parent
    I reported directly to a CIO for a couple of years, and my experience was like sliding down a razor blade. Things could fall either in your desired direction or away, but they might be vital parts...

    I reported directly to a CIO for a couple of years, and my experience was like sliding down a razor blade. Things could fall either in your desired direction or away, but they might be vital parts you'd definitely miss.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on In 100 years' time, what do you think society will look back on and view with distaste? in ~humanities

    patience_limited
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    Tangentially related, I'd like to believe that in 100 years, we'll have a more nuanced approach to age-appropriate sex education and affirmative consent.

    Tangentially related, I'd like to believe that in 100 years, we'll have a more nuanced approach to age-appropriate sex education and affirmative consent.

    4 votes
  17. Comment on What are the warning signs of an imminent project crisis? in ~comp

    patience_limited
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    Impending sign #2: C-suite level involvement. Your project scope will change like the weather, for reasons you cannot fathom, and against which you have no ability to push back. The smoke of your...

    Impending sign #2: C-suite level involvement. Your project scope will change like the weather, for reasons you cannot fathom, and against which you have no ability to push back. The smoke of your burning deadlines will outline vast and terrible corporate gods who do not wish you well.

    Impending sign #3: The Attack of the Killer Accountants. A random bean counter will yell for the fainting couch when you submit a project expense line item which has been utterly unremarkable during your entire tenure. Long-standing vendor contracts will be scrutinized, every conceivable involved busybody will suddenly have to render judgment on a critical spending component of your plan which nonetheless represents <1% of the budgeted outlay. +25% to your project's delivery date.

    Impending sign #4: A change in fashionable project models. You will be invited to do everything via Scrum methodology when your project is genuinely waterfall due to critical dependencies, or Kanban when breaking things down into tasks will literally take longer than completing the project itself.

    I've got a few of these little nuggets. I did not set out to be a project manager; project management hunted me down, bit me in the neck, and I woke up like this.

    12 votes
  18. Comment on What are the warning signs of an imminent project crisis? in ~comp

    patience_limited
    Link Parent
    Heh. The best project decision I ever made was to explicitly identify who didn't need to be in the room, and tell them so politely. It was a big hospital contract where two different corporations...

    Heh. The best project decision I ever made was to explicitly identify who didn't need to be in the room, and tell them so politely. It was a big hospital contract where two different corporations (one publicly traded and one religious) owned the involved hospitals and clinics. The project went from phone calls and meetings with 70+ attendees, down to two from each partner. The remaining attendees were high enough in their respective food chains to coordinate the necessary staff, without those staff having to be in attendance.

    Because reasons, we didn't have a remotely sensible timeline, and got the job done anyway. Trimming the management and communication overhead was absolutely essential.

    7 votes