post_below's recent activity

  1. Comment on Andrew Yang to launch a third party in ~news

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    What you're referring to (the technological ability to provide basic needs for a population so cheaply that people don't need to work as much, or at all) is absolutely true. We're pretty much...

    What you're referring to (the technological ability to provide basic needs for a population so cheaply that people don't need to work as much, or at all) is absolutely true. We're pretty much there already.

    Consolidation of wealth has sucked up all that surplus created by technology, both directly and through influence over legislation.

    Some countries have already made major steps towards remedying that by creating comprehensive safety nets, free education, healthcare, etc.. Those countries still have a capitalist economic system.

    Prior to the Regan administration in the US, the top tax rate was 70%. In the past there was a more robust tax on large estates too. Corporate and capital gains taxes have been higher in the past as well. Anti-trust has periodically been enforced more aggressively.

    At none of those points in history was the US not a capitalist economy.

    There are a lot of downsides to capitalism, but there are also a lot of ways to run a capitalist country.

    Consolidation of wealth is a separate issue. There was massive consolidation of wealth in soviet Russia, as there is in modern Russia. There is huge consolidation of wealth in China. The same is true everywhere and every when. Corruption is as, or more, rampant in non capitalist economies. How then, is the problem capitalism's fault?

    I'm not saying there aren't problems with late stage capitalism, there are all kinds of problems. But they are problems that happen in late stage anything. Problems which, for better or worse, have to be solved by the state. Capitalism tempered by socialism, I think, is the best way forward. Which is what Yang has seemingly been after.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on Andrew Yang to launch a third party in ~news

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    Capitalism is also at the root of much of the world's luxuries and high points. Leisure time as a result of capitalism's push to rapid advancement is the best example. Leisure time being the thing...

    Capitalism is also at the root of much of the world's luxuries and high points. Leisure time as a result of capitalism's push to rapid advancement is the best example. Leisure time being the thing which facilitates virtually all art, culture and science.

    I would say that consolidation of wealth, both under and outside of capitalism, is the root cause of most of the world's problems. Which is probably the sentiment you were getting at.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

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    There could have been a development I missed, otherwise with Pangolins it was all circumstantial. It could have happened, Pangolins can host coronaviruses that can also infect humans, but there's...

    There could have been a development I missed, otherwise with Pangolins it was all circumstantial. It could have happened, Pangolins can host coronaviruses that can also infect humans, but there's no evidence that it happened with sars-2 so far.

  4. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

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    Impressive article! A few things I learned... The quantity of lab leaks of serious pathogens over the years, and the resulting US moratorium on GoF funding that ended in 2017. The number of...

    Impressive article! A few things I learned...

    The quantity of lab leaks of serious pathogens over the years, and the resulting US moratorium on GoF funding that ended in 2017.

    The number of signatories of the Lancet letter who have now publicly changed their stance.

    The extreme measures by China to cover up the outbreak and then to make sure that information which could help international research was not made available. We've all heard about some of it, but this article adds to the list.

    None of which proves anything of course, but it begs investigation.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

    post_below
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    Ok, to clarify, with SARS-1 and MERS they comparitively quickly found very likely animal hosts, that has not been the case with SARS-2. Which is the key point, if we had a high degree of certainty...

    Ok, to clarify, with SARS-1 and MERS they comparitively quickly found very likely animal hosts, that has not been the case with SARS-2.

    Which is the key point, if we had a high degree of certainty about the vector this conversation wouldn't be happening at all.

    When you say there is no more evidence now for the lab leak theory, do you mean to imply that there is more evidence for another theory? All I've seen is educated speculation on all fronts.

    Yeah the conspiracy theories... Early on the support for the lab leak theory from the qanon crowd, and from Trump, combined with the Lancet letter, was enough for me to discount it entirely.

    But here we are in 2021 with no animal link. I don't see a rational reason to discount other possibilities just yet.

    Edit: I might not have been clear above, and I just read the wikipedia article. It took 14 years to find a colony of bats that harbored the specific virus. They had settled on a selection of animals as the vector far earlier, due to solid evidence.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

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    Wait what? Why would I need to mention something from the article in order to qualify to mention something missing? Didn't we all read the article? What does the article's stance on China have to...

    I'm confused that you mention literally nothing from the article while implying the absence of something you wanted mentioned delegitimizes it in some way. The article isn't exactly sympathetic to China, mentioning taking the WIV database offline and other attempts to muddy the water like their wargames explanation.

    Wait what? Why would I need to mention something from the article in order to qualify to mention something missing? Didn't we all read the article? What does the article's stance on China have to do with whether or not Peter Daszak is mentioned?

    7 votes
  7. Comment on Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak” in ~health.coronavirus

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    The lab leak theory would be a lot easier to discount if it weren't for Peter Daszak (the impetus behind the group of scientists who torpedoed the lab leak theory early on). His conflict of...
    • Exemplary

    The lab leak theory would be a lot easier to discount if it weren't for Peter Daszak (the impetus behind the group of scientists who torpedoed the lab leak theory early on). His conflict of interest was egregious and undisclosed when the letter was published, though the Lancet later published an addendum addressing the conflict.

    I'm confused that this article doesn't mention this at all. It's widely available, undisputed, information. The guy provided funding to the Wuhan lab and therefore had every reason to want to avoid being linked to a pandemic. That should preclude him from trying to be a part of the conversation. Especially when what he has to add is "nope, definitely not a lab leak, nothing to see there" without supporting evidence.

    It's remarkable that we haven't found the animal source by now, we had already long since found the source for SARS and MERS by this point.

    And it's remarkable that a lab studying coronaviruses that may or may not have been doing gain of function research was running in the same city where the pandemic started.

    Ultimately we can't know what happened because China was quick to seal everything off and refuses to share important information. You'd think they'd want to rule out the lab leak possibility and would share any evidence that would help do that.

    To be clear I'm not saying the source of SARS-CoV-2 was a lab. There's not clear evidence to support any theory at this point.

    But there is more than enough reason not to discount the possibility. And if it were to turn out to be the case, maybe it would be enough to put the idiocy that is gain of function research to bed.

    "Well if we make deadly, potential pandemic, pathogens, maybe we'll make one that could happen naturally and then we'll be ready for it. But that's pretty damn unlikely but maybe we'll learn something from our lab made viruses that will somehow be useful in combating future pathogens even though that hasn't happened so far in all the years of GoF reaearch".

    It sounds like a joke. The infinitesimal chance of useful data can't possibly be worth the risk.

    Until we have very strong evidence for, or against, a particular theory, it makes sense to keep looking at all reasonable possibilities.

    23 votes
  8. Comment on Unsecure at any speed? in ~tech

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    And also, legislators so far completely fail to understand digital technology. They want to improve consumer privacy, we get cookie popups that drain bandwidth and screenspace without...

    And also, legislators so far completely fail to understand digital technology. They want to improve consumer privacy, we get cookie popups that drain bandwidth and screenspace without accomplishing anything at all.

    They'd love the opportunity to regulate, but it would indeed be a nightmare which only the tech giants would survive.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on 'Democracy for sale': Analysis ties corporate consolidation to increased lobbying in ~misc

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    I don't know how radical I'd call what various other countries have already done: strong social programs, safety nets, free education, free healthcare. All of these things redirect some of that...

    I don't know how radical I'd call what various other countries have already done: strong social programs, safety nets, free education, free healthcare. All of these things redirect some of that excess wealth created by ever increasing automation and other technological advances to the population at large before the natural processes of capitalism suck it all to the top.

    A healthy, well educated electorate that can afford to pursue dreams and take chances is one that is much better at engaging in the political process.

    And what would any other solution look like?

    The OP report from this thread for a start. It implies that enforcing anti-trust in the way it was intended (and occasionally has been) would reduce lobbying by corporations.

    Reversing Citizens United (through legislation or an amendment) would have a big impact.

    Any of various proposals floating around for getting big money out of politics have merit.

    And finally, as I mentioned elsewhere in the thread: the larger social conversation. In some of the west, any suggestion that any aspect of capitalism is a problem draws loud and vehement resistance. But it doesn't have to be that way, many countries have already made huge steps towards addressing the problems, without ditching capitalism, and it's been working.

    The more people add their voices to the mix, the closer we get to a change in tone in the cultural conversation, which will make things easier for politicans who campaign on things like getting money out of politics. We are, of course, up against talented and well connected PR firms in the battle for public mindspace, but that hasn't stopped a lot of recent social movements from being successful.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on 'Democracy for sale': Analysis ties corporate consolidation to increased lobbying in ~misc

    post_below
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    You're leaving a lot out of the picture. The public at large sucks at lobbying because they lack time and resources. Anyone can write their representatives, sure, and if they're lucky they'll get...

    You're leaving a lot out of the picture. The public at large sucks at lobbying because they lack time and resources.

    Anyone can write their representatives, sure, and if they're lucky they'll get a form reply. To have their concerns really heard they need either money or influence, preferrably both. I think we can forgive them for taking care of themselves and their people instead.

    Whereas large financial interests have not only the resources to lobby, bribe, threaten and cajole, they have the resources to pay for as much time as they want.

    In addition to that, at this point they have decades of relationship building, revolving doors into politics, all the legislation they've already passed to favor themselves and a huge amount of general inertia.

    The general public has none of those things. It's two completely different playing fields with different sets of rules and limitations.

    In principle, and on a smaller scale, I agree with you. Businesses should represent their interests in the political process. That system used to work well. That was before 'businesses' meant conglomerates and industry groups that weild more power than many nation states.

    As time passes that kind of power can use the political system to acquire even more resources, at the expense of the public at large, making it even harder for average people to have an impact. We've witnessed this. The wealth gap isn't based on made up numbers, in many ways it fails to effectively capture the full extent of the problem.

    11 votes
  11. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    How often does a response like this happen on the internet? Cheers!

    How often does a response like this happen on the internet? Cheers!

    2 votes
  12. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    Ah right, I guess I see how that could be misread. Plants are alive too, we kill them. I don't think there's anything wrong with veganism, I think it's a great option that has a positive impact.

    Ah right, I guess I see how that could be misread. Plants are alive too, we kill them.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with veganism, I think it's a great option that has a positive impact.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on 'Democracy for sale': Analysis ties corporate consolidation to increased lobbying in ~misc

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    Good point, I think that's a big part of it. Corporate media has proven over and over that they can be influenced by the corporations which own them, and the stakeholders of those corporations. I...

    Good point, I think that's a big part of it. Corporate media has proven over and over that they can be influenced by the corporations which own them, and the stakeholders of those corporations.

    I think conversation is undervalued as a partial solution to the problem. Just as an example... What if it was common knowledge that The Washington Post (bastion of progressive thought, one time upholder of journalistic principles) is not only owned by Jeff Bezos, but has aligned with his political aims in shameless ways over and over. Ways that contrast starkly with the ideals they once represented.

    Not that lots of people don't know this, but you can get through a lot of conversations about their reporting without it coming up, when it's perhaps the most important piece of information about their credibility.

    I think as a society we need to wean ourselves of the unspoken but pervasive sense that journalism is a fundamentally ethical profession. I think it once was, and there are plenty of journalists who still have an idealistic perspective about the calling, but they aren't the ones calling the shots anymore.

    To put it another way, our parents and even moreso their parents, grew up in a time when there was this almost universal feeling that you could generally trust the reputable press, in print and on TV. That perception still has a lot of momentum.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    I had to go back and re-read my post to make sure there was nothing that could be interpreted as making this statement. There's not. There just really isn't.

    Predatory animals must kill to live, therefore veganism is unreasonable / unnatural.

    I had to go back and re-read my post to make sure there was nothing that could be interpreted as making this statement.

    There's not. There just really isn't.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on 'Democracy for sale': Analysis ties corporate consolidation to increased lobbying in ~misc

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    If only this reality captured the public imagination more readily. I think most people know this stuff, either overtly or intuitively, but somehow it never manages to hold a top spot in the larger...

    If only this reality captured the public imagination more readily.

    I think most people know this stuff, either overtly or intuitively, but somehow it never manages to hold a top spot in the larger cultural, and political, conversations the way it seems like it should.

    Pick any problem in society, from equity to environment, and you can trace it back to the ever increasing influence of financial power in the democratic process. If it doesn't directly cause the problem, then it makes it dramatically harder to solve.

    That consolidation seems to be so directly tied to lobbying is compelling. It implies a straightforward solution to at least part of the problem.

    11 votes
  16. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    I appreciate your attempt to engage. Some things to consider... You're assigning me viewpoints I haven't stated and for which you have no evidence. Factory farming, for instance, has not been...

    I appreciate your attempt to engage. Some things to consider...

    You're assigning me viewpoints I haven't stated and for which you have no evidence. Factory farming, for instance, has not been brought up, yet you keep mentioning it and seem to be implying that I'm arguing for it.

    You also make generalizations that are difficult to reply to. They aren't reasonable, but pointing that out is too likely to feel like an attack. For me when someone starts doing that it signals the end of the conversation.

    For example:

    Cancer is natural

    Sure, but the rate of cancer humanity experiences absolutely isn't. There is vast evidence that it's the result of things we've introduced to our environments that weren't present during the bulk of our evolution.

    With respect, you must be aware of this? Why then, do so many of your points use this sort of reduction? In my experience that happens most often when the line between rational and contentious has been crossed.

    I think you're looking for a conversation with someone that's anti-vegan, pro-factory farming, and a lot else besides. I'm not your huckleberry ;)

    4 votes
  17. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    I'm a little lost with some of your points, it sounds like you're continuing a larger conversation with parties unknown, rather than replying to my post specifically. I guess that makes sense in a...

    I'm a little lost with some of your points, it sounds like you're continuing a larger conversation with parties unknown, rather than replying to my post specifically. I guess that makes sense in a way, as no doubt for many this is a standing debate.

    But I don't have a stake in it :)

    There is one thing I want to reply to though...

    And animals eat their young and rape each other and all sorts of things that cause untold pain and suffering. That's how it is, not how it ought to be.

    I don't believe we're in a position, ethically or practically, to decide how nature ought to be.

    2 votes
  18. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    Some commercial orange juice has omega fortification, often sourced from animals. Some commercial bread products use L-cysteine, often sourced from animals

    Some commercial orange juice has omega fortification, often sourced from animals.

    Some commercial bread products use L-cysteine, often sourced from animals

    4 votes
  19. Comment on What's something that is, surprisingly, made with animal products? in ~enviro

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    I genuinely don't understand the argument about plants. What difference does it make if they feel pain in a way that we can relate to? They respond to tissue damage, they try to avoid it, they...

    If plants do experience pain, though, we should kill as few of them as possible

    I genuinely don't understand the argument about plants. What difference does it make if they feel pain in a way that we can relate to? They respond to tissue damage, they try to avoid it, they warn other plants. Their goal, inasmuch as a plant has goals, is the same as every other living thing. They want to keep living.

    Who are we to make arbitrary decisions about which non-human life forms are more worthy of existence?

    Note that I'm not against veganism, I just don't understand the ethical arguments. Taken to their logical conclusion, it's not ethical to keep living if you can't do it without harming something. Which is of course impossible.

    However much it might clash with modern ethos, animals have to kill to live.

    Maybe someday we'll come up with a way around that. Until then, it's just how nature functions.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on Let’s not pretend that the way we withdrew from Afghanistan was the problem in ~misc

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    Maybe 'nation building' is what a percentage of the US population believed we were doing. In reality all of the wars in the middle east have been about oil and profit. No doubt the planning for PR...

    We could have bitten the bullet and realized that when we devoted ourselves to nation building, for better or worse, it was our responsibility to actually ensure the nation was built before we left.

    Maybe 'nation building' is what a percentage of the US population believed we were doing. In reality all of the wars in the middle east have been about oil and profit.

    No doubt the planning for PR and political strategies to get us back there has already begun.

    When you have a collection of interconnected, massive, politically powerful industries that have grown reliant on endless conflict in the middle east, you can only expect them to behave one way.

    2 votes