patience_limited's recent activity

  1. Comment on "What the hell is going on?" A thoughtful and thorough overview of the rising entropy in society by David Perell in ~misc

    patience_limited Link
    It's an engrossing read, but I'll dispute the idea that big institutional players have ceased to have a role in shaping mass knowledge and opinion. Instead of broadcast and print journalism or big...

    It's an engrossing read, but I'll dispute the idea that big institutional players have ceased to have a role in shaping mass knowledge and opinion.

    Instead of broadcast and print journalism or big academic institutions, we've ceded the range of accessible knowledge to Google, Facebook, Apple, TenCent, Weibo, et al. (that's just starting to step outside the barriers imposed by language and nationalisms), and a shadowy network of advertisers who use their platforms.

    We're more insular due to the ability to curate our own information streams according to confirmation biases, and our biases are more easily manipulated because we don't know when we're not experts.

    As to government authorities, the power of propaganda still exists; it's just less controllable in the liberal democracies which remain.

    9 votes
  2. Comment on what creative projects are you working on? in ~creative

    patience_limited Link Parent
    A while back, I'd invested in a small kiln for precious metal clay processing - a nice compromise on the costs of a full casting setup. PMC is a pleasingly sculptable nano-particulate metal and...

    A while back, I'd invested in a small kiln for precious metal clay processing - a nice compromise on the costs of a full casting setup. PMC is a pleasingly sculptable nano-particulate metal and polymer material which can easily emulate most metal and ceramic fabrication methods (alloying, shibuichi and shakudo, cloisonne', stamping, photo-etching, etc.).

    But PMC is a really vexing material if you're attempting to build precise architectural forms - it's a little too plastic and slumps, or dries too quickly and cracks. I haven't seen 3-D fabrication tools that can take advantage of the extrudable clay easily or in a cost-effective manner. So I'm looking at outsourcing the casting for the 3-D parts of what I have in mind, and hand-fabricating or PMC'ing the rest, with a benchtop oxyacetylene setup for the soldering.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on what creative projects are you working on? in ~creative

    patience_limited Link Parent
    This is actually something I'm quite interested in, now that I'm going to have time to get back to jewelry work! I won't have workshop space for a while, but wanted to start with the 3-D design...

    This is actually something I'm quite interested in, now that I'm going to have time to get back to jewelry work! I won't have workshop space for a while, but wanted to start with the 3-D design packages, and maybe outsource the initial prototype manufacturing to Shapeways or the like.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on What is the human cost to China's economic miracle? | Head to Head in ~news

    patience_limited (edited ) Link
    Though it's not precisely on the topic of "human cost", this is a quite aggressive and fact-based refutation of Chinese propagandists' talking points, and worth watching. The manifestation of...

    Though it's not precisely on the topic of "human cost", this is a quite aggressive and fact-based refutation of Chinese propagandists' talking points, and worth watching.

    The manifestation of China's potential to become the most thoroughly anti-liberal, totalitarian state in human history is chilling. Hearing Chinese state intellectuals casually discard the rights of millions of people, with the excuse of the harmony of 1.4 billion under one imperial leader, should trouble your sleep.

    The discussion doesn't spend enough time on the sustainability and "human cost" questions - though it examines the cost of corruption in broad terms, there's little consideration of non-existent worker rights, the health effects of environmental degradation and toxic work, or the impacts of mass dislocation.

  5. Comment on Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown in ~life

    patience_limited Link Parent
    Pretty much a similar life story to yours, including the racist, sexist, homophobic, homogenous small Detroit suburb that I ran the hell away from in the '80's. But the place I'm moving back to is...

    Pretty much a similar life story to yours, including the racist, sexist, homophobic, homogenous small Detroit suburb that I ran the hell away from in the '80's.

    But the place I'm moving back to is a moderate-sized (15,000), moderately diverse town in an otherwise rural area. There's a significant, visible LGBTQ+ population. There's also a vocal, rabidly Christian conservative population.

    But yes, even though I grew up middle-middle class, I won't deny that it's a mightily privileged choice. It's definitely not one that everyone can make safely everywhere. We have the luxury of moving to a place where we fell in love with some people, the culture (which is at least somewhat old-school Midwestern egalitarian), and the scenery a long time ago. It's a case of intentionally seeking refuge from a city culture which has its own problems of affluence, racism, and privilege.

  6. Comment on What are you doing this weekend? in ~talk

    patience_limited Link
    Cleaning out a couple of rooms to allow finish work for selling the house. Shopping for some garden plants to buff up curb appeal for selling the house. One "treat" restaurant dinner to celebrate...
    1. Cleaning out a couple of rooms to allow finish work for selling the house.
    2. Shopping for some garden plants to buff up curb appeal for selling the house.
    3. One "treat" restaurant dinner to celebrate a major life change in progress.
    4. Getting some brain rest for the long journey ahead.
    2 votes
  7. Comment on The strongmen strike back in ~misc

    patience_limited Link
    This is a must-read if you want a broad view of the current global political trends and their antecedents. Read it with due consideration of the double game being played - an essay that talks...

    This is a must-read if you want a broad view of the current global political trends and their antecedents.

    Read it with due consideration of the double game being played - an essay that talks about political systems with barely a hint of economics is likely incomplete or deliberately obscure; this story takes the goodness of unfettered capitalism (classical liberalism) for granted.

    The article's careful avoidance of the words "plutocracy" and "kleptocracy" are (likely intentional) blind spots, since the accumulation and defense of wealth are co-factors in the rise of authoritarianism.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on Could We Run Modern Society on Human Power Alone? in ~misc

    patience_limited Link
    Paulo Bacigalupi's science fiction novel, The Windup Girl, posits a greenhouse future where there are few remaining usable sources of stored chemical energy, little solar/wind, and just barely...

    Paulo Bacigalupi's science fiction novel, The Windup Girl, posits a greenhouse future where there are few remaining usable sources of stored chemical energy, little solar/wind, and just barely enough dangerous biotech. Human-powered clockwork and biomechanical energy storage are the primary functioning power sources for industry and transportation, and there's not quite enough food to keep humans fueled.

    While we might do better than that ghastly dystopian hellscape, it's important to remember that what needs to be powered is much more far-reaching and interconnected than the tasks a small people-powered village can accomplish.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on Does anyone else get huge aimless bursts of inspiration? in ~talk

    patience_limited Link
    One of the toughest things I encounter in mindfulness meditation is the sudden upwelling of what seem like great ideas, that I'm supposed to just let go of. Returning to focus on the breath is...

    One of the toughest things I encounter in mindfulness meditation is the sudden upwelling of what seem like great ideas, that I'm supposed to just let go of. Returning to focus on the breath is very, very hard when the impulse to scurry off and do something is monkey-chattering away.

    It's been a journey to unclench the fear that those inspirations will never return again. But it's the constant sense of hurry and worry which is at the root of blocked energy to act on those inspirations.

    I'm now filling a meditation journal. Sometimes I'll look at an idea afterward and realize the emotional response to the inspiration was greater than the good that could come from it, or the energy needed to execute it properly. Others, I've lined up priorities to work on, so that I'm not diluting the results or setting up failures by trying to do everything at once. Most successful artists are better at choosing which inspirations to follow than I've been, and so this is a useful discipline for me to learn.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on Go Home to Your ‘Dying’ Hometown in ~life

    patience_limited Link
    It's been a couple of weeks of weirdly coincidental Zeitgeist stories in the media, about something I've been planning to do for a while and just set in motion. Quit the high-stress,...

    It's been a couple of weeks of weirdly coincidental Zeitgeist stories in the media, about something I've been planning to do for a while and just set in motion.

    Quit the high-stress, high-alienation city job and move back to the country, reconnect with people, the land, and a sense of locality? Yep.

    I've got hopes that I've learned to be a little more patient in working with the insularity and parochialism of small-town life. It's not going to be that much different from the same concerns in corporate culture. I've worked on enough big things not to be intimidated by the need to GTD with micro-budgets.

    So it's going to be an interesting move.

    There are bourgeois issues, of course. I'm going be bringing more money to a burgeoning little blue island of liberal gentrification culture that's erasing "small town values", and hipsterizing what made the place unique. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, REI, and other "alternative" chain stores have already arrived where I'm going, so that tells you something about the kind of American demographics involved.

    The article describes a place that's on the brink of this transition. There's an academic assumption that a nation's economic progress depends first on agrarian collapse, where mechanization of agriculture hollows out rural population and concentrates people in industrial cities. Then there's a national transition to high value services, and collapse (or export) of dirty industry. Somehow, the magnification of network effects in densely populated cities is supposed to benefit everyone. Yet there's no longer so much practical reason for that kind of physical proximity, with remote work and the increasing dysfunctions of American urban infrastructure. It can be just as isolating, if not more so, to be on the Internet or stuck in traffic in a city of millions, as in a town of thousands, or a village of hundreds.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on Stop telling women to fix sexist workplaces in ~life

    patience_limited Link
    While this article talks about "creative industry", I can affirmatively state that it applies just as much to IT operations. I've recently been privileged to understand exactly how much I've been...

    While this article talks about "creative industry", I can affirmatively state that it applies just as much to IT operations. I've recently been privileged to understand exactly how much I've been punished for:

    1. Not leaning in/being too aggressive/abrasive.
    2. Asking for too little salary/asking for too much salary.
    3. Having too many ideas/not presenting solutions.
    4. Doing too much/doing too little.
    5. Showing too much initiative/showing too little initiative.
    6. Being too verbose/not communicating enough.
    7. Not being collaborative enough/not being independent enough.

    While I may be ignorant of the unwritten rules for this stuff, all I know is, the spouse and I started at exactly the same place in IT, we're both managers, and I'm making less than 70% of what he does. F*ck this noise.

    10 votes
  12. Comment on Ketamine: Now By Prescription in ~health

    patience_limited Link
    Oh, good grief. Speaking as one of the treatment-resistant, who's tried and failed nearly every damn thing, including the enantiomer of the week (e.g. Cymbalta vs Lexapro, Effexor vs Pristiq), I...

    Oh, good grief. Speaking as one of the treatment-resistant, who's tried and failed nearly every damn thing, including the enantiomer of the week (e.g. Cymbalta vs Lexapro, Effexor vs Pristiq), I was sort of looking forward to a ketamine trial.

    This is utterly ridiculous, and I'm just going to keep on with the psilocybin microdosing because at least I don't have to pay pharma prices.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on American asking - how does your country's healthcare system perform for you? in ~health

    patience_limited Link Parent
    There's another difficult piece to this though, and it's the limited number of healthcare providers who accept (or are permitted to accept) Medicaid or CHIP payments. This is part of the territory...

    There's another difficult piece to this though, and it's the limited number of healthcare providers who accept (or are permitted to accept) Medicaid or CHIP payments. This is part of the territory I work in, and the process physicians have to go through to qualify for participation in these payment programs is atrocious. It can take 6 months to a year for a provider to qualify, particularly for CHIP.

    At that point, there's such a scarcity of enrolled healthcare providers that it's an additional layer of rationing on top of the low reimbursement rates and blocks to participation. However many participants there may be in Medicaid and CHIP, it's very difficult for them to find doctors who will actually accept the plans.

  14. Comment on American asking - how does your country's healthcare system perform for you? in ~health

    patience_limited Link Parent
    Curiously, I had a related experience at the time I had the best health insurance I'm likely to ever have again. I worked for a university hospital system, in a school with a fantastic student...

    Curiously, I had a related experience at the time I had the best health insurance I'm likely to ever have again. I worked for a university hospital system, in a school with a fantastic student health service.

    Bike crash, showed up in the ER with what sure as heck felt like a broken elbow, hip, wrist, and some other things. The hospital ER was an 8 hour wait, with a bunch of student doctors parading through, giving my arm a shake and saying "That's not broken!". The X-ray developer was having problems, so it took three passes through to be told nothing was wrong.

    Follow up at the student health clinic a few days later - broken elbow, torn knee ligament, and an assortment of other diagnoses.

    The great health insurance through the university paid for nearly everything, including a couple of rounds of physical therapy, but the quality of care was wildly uneven.

  15. Comment on American asking - how does your country's healthcare system perform for you? in ~health

    patience_limited Link Parent
    I'm definitely not saying "what a monster!" As I mentioned elsewhere, I know exactly how badly I treated myself for fear of those massive, unknown costs. My life would be very different (I'd be a...

    I'm definitely not saying "what a monster!"

    As I mentioned elsewhere, I know exactly how badly I treated myself for fear of those massive, unknown costs. My life would be very different (I'd be a doctor), if $20k in healthcare debt hadn't intervened.

    Right now, I'm insured through my spouse's work, at a cost of around $5,000/year, and still paying about $350/month in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

    I suppose the insurance did pay for itself, if one can accept that the spouse's shoulder reconstruction surgery cost nearly $250,000, by the hospital's reckoning, and only about $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses. [The devastating thing about this is that people who have insurance pay a heavily discounted cost, while those who have no insurance would be on the hook for the entire amount, assuming they'd been allowed the care in the first place.]

    I haven't gone for basic preventive care in a few years, because the in-network primary care doctors in my area are either awful or booked months in advance. I know what my employer charges for family plans that can still leave thousands of dollars in deductibles uncovered.

    This is an insane, Kafka-esque nightmare of a system, and again, I'm planning to devote considerable time in the coming year to political action.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on Triton is the world’s most murderous malware, and it’s spreading in ~tech

    patience_limited Link
    Bloody hell, we've known SCADA systems should be maintained air-gapped or on separate networks for decades. They're mostly treated as unpatchable, regardless of stated EOL. It's been over a decade...

    Bloody hell, we've known SCADA systems should be maintained air-gapped or on separate networks for decades. They're mostly treated as unpatchable, regardless of stated EOL. It's been over a decade since Bruce Schneier started reporting on known hacks.

    And yet it's soooo convenient to permit remote access.

    There's a long list of vendors who've refused to secure their products, particularly Siemens. This casual disregard in the industrial space has basically set the benchmark for consumer IoT security as low as possible, even though your typical PLC may be part of a multi-million dollar piece of equipment. Though there's growing security consciousness about the risks, there's still little national security impetus to hold SCADA vendors accountable. At least until something blows up or melts down.

    6 votes
  17. Comment on 'Our goal is to halve the male suicide rate’: why no-frills therapy works for men in ~health

    patience_limited Link
    It's an interesting proposition that troubled men are helped by face-to-face group emotional "reality checks" without stigma or much prescribed process; something different from text-based...

    It's an interesting proposition that troubled men are helped by face-to-face group emotional "reality checks" without stigma or much prescribed process; something different from text-based discussion boards and formal therapeutic environments.

    The article doesn't go deeply into the rationale behind Andy's Clubs, whether they're particularly successful or just subjectively "helpful".

    So it's ask time - do you think this kind of discussion group would be helpful for you, have you done something like it?

    2 votes