scissortail's recent activity

  1. Comment on What old tech are you holding onto and why? in ~tech

    scissortail
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    I'm writing this post from a 2012 MacBook that I'm using as my daily driver while I'm holed up at my SO's place, away from my ~'06 (iirc) tower desktop. Running Debian on both, and they suit me...

    I'm writing this post from a 2012 MacBook that I'm using as my daily driver while I'm holed up at my SO's place, away from my ~'06 (iirc) tower desktop. Running Debian on both, and they suit me just fine--I don't do much in the way of gaming, and I'm too poor and cheap to build a powerful setup on the off chance I get back into making computer music. Newest piece of tech I have is a 2016 Galaxy J3 that doesn't even have a SIM card in it--that dubious honor goes to my BlackBerry Curve (roughly 2010).

    I also have a Sansa Fuze running RockBox, which is a really nice little machine. With a fat SD card you can have a ton of music on that thing.

    5 votes
  2. Comment on What are your favorite CLI tools/applications? in ~comp

    scissortail
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    I adore ffmpeg for quick and easy conversion of audio files. I've only just started with alpine but am liking it pretty well as a mail reader. bc works well as a simple calculator but is...

    I adore ffmpeg for quick and easy conversion of audio files.
    I've only just started with alpine but am liking it pretty well as a mail reader.
    bc works well as a simple calculator but is apparently stupid powerful, with applications well beyond my ken.
    cmus is my preferred music player.
    rsync is great for backups or pushing changes to remote servers via ssh.
    wordgrinder is a simple little word processor that can export to various file formats.
    pandoc is good for changing programs between file formats.
    tty-clock is good if you like tiling window managers and don't like status bars.
    tuir is good if you're still nursing a reddit addiction.

    EDIT: youtube-dl is incredible too!

    7 votes
  3. Comment on The history of the Seattle Mariners in ~sports

    scissortail
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    Man I don't give a rat's behind about any sport with -ball in the name, but I'll watch a Jon Bois video on any topic. The dude is a wizard.

    Man I don't give a rat's behind about any sport with -ball in the name, but I'll watch a Jon Bois video on any topic. The dude is a wizard.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on Home bakers have created an international yeast shortage. Shelves are empty, but stores say it’s temporary in ~food

    scissortail
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    as Wulfsta mentioned in their comment, it's a great time to get a sourdough starter going! If you've got a bunch of raisins you could also boot up a yeast water starter--I actually have a loaf...

    as Wulfsta mentioned in their comment, it's a great time to get a sourdough starter going! If you've got a bunch of raisins you could also boot up a yeast water starter--I actually have a loaf bulk-fermenting right now that's driven exclusively by my yeast water starter.

    More on raisin yeast water here.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on Why doctors hate their computers in ~tech

    scissortail
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    Recently finished reading Illich's book on the topic of convivial technologies, good stuff. It seems to me that the UNIX philosophy (especially its FOSS implementations) is the key to the...

    Recently finished reading Illich's book on the topic of convivial technologies, good stuff. It seems to me that the UNIX philosophy (especially its FOSS implementations) is the key to the convivial application of modern computing. Building sharp, specialized tools like Malhotra & co. did is probably the only way to really make this sort of system bearable.

    Fitting modern computing itself into a broader convivial framework , though, is a problem I need to spend more time thinking on.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Andrew Yang endorses Joe Biden in ~news

    scissortail
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    I have a hard time believing that the attempt to push Clinton to the left is what scuttled her chance at the presidency. Clinton lost in large part because of the immense personal distaste many of...

    I have a hard time believing that the attempt to push Clinton to the left is what scuttled her chance at the presidency. Clinton lost in large part because of the immense personal distaste many of the folks in this country have for her (deserved or not), and because she (and the electorate) did not take Donald Trump seriously at all. Folks were much more concerned with not electing the embodiment of The Establishment Democrat than they were concerned with the slightly more left-leaning platform of the DNC.

    Sanders also worked his ass off stumping for Hillary once she was the nominee.

    I don't disagree that Democrats need to be a team to win this election, though, and agree that if one of the two suspends before the convention then they should hustle to help the other.

    8 votes
  7. Comment on Many young voters sat out Super Tuesday, contributing to Bernie Sanders' losses in ~news

    scissortail
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    As much as it pains me to say it, if Biden gets the nod, you should. Even if your one vote is small, it's not any smaller than anyone else's vote in your state. Please don't use that vote to give...

    As much as it pains me to say it, if Biden gets the nod, you should. Even if your one vote is small, it's not any smaller than anyone else's vote in your state. Please don't use that vote to give a pass to four more years of our insane orange god-emperor. Biden and the DNC fucking suck but they are not worse than Trump. Ordinarily waiting for a better candidate would be a viable play, but I think a Trump not beholden to the need for re-election would involve truly terrible things.

    I voted third-party in 2016 because I couldn't stomach Clinton, and I've spent the last three years and some change regretting it.

    13 votes
  8. Comment on Many young voters sat out Super Tuesday, contributing to Bernie Sanders' losses in ~news

    scissortail
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    Thank you for sharing--I felt that in my bones. Like the author, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes. We don't have the time to elect someone without a sense of urgency, or (god forbid)...

    Thank you for sharing--I felt that in my bones. Like the author, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes. We don't have the time to elect someone without a sense of urgency, or (god forbid) sit through another four years of Trump. I'll hold my nose and vote for Biden if he gets the nod, but the only situation in which we aren't fucked in the long term is if Sanders wins convincingly in November.

    Longish quote, emphasis mine

    Let us say Bernie did beat Trump, and that he did pass Medicare for All, and that it was a success. What would that mean for people like Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton? It would mean that they were wrong when they had not chosen to fight for these things. Completely wrong. In fact, they stood in the way of progress and prevented us from getting things we could have had all along. They “compromised” all of the important values for nothing. They should have been standing with Bernie and instead they were standing against him, creating needless barriers to fundamentally important social changes.

    But it’s even worse than that for them: if Bernie beats Trump, liberalism is over. I don’t mean in the sense David Brooks means, that the liberal values of free expression and democracy are over. Bernie has fought for those his whole life. I mean incrementalist politics that declines to forthrightly challenge the distribution of power and wealth. Because if Bernie beats Trump in 2020, it will show that Bernie was right that he could have beaten Trump in 2016. And if Bernie could have beaten Trump in 2016, then all of the horror of Trump’s presidency—the kids in cages, the poisoned environment, the pardoned psychopaths—was avoidable. It didn’t need to have happened.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    scissortail
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    I've just started Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality, which seems to be about de-scaling technology in a way that prioritizes the autonomy and creativity of its users. It's a fascinating read so...

    I've just started Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality, which seems to be about de-scaling technology in a way that prioritizes the autonomy and creativity of its users. It's a fascinating read so far, and I think Illich would be pretty demoralized by the developments since his death in 2002.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on Trump impeachment: Failed witnesses vote paves way for acquittal in ~news

    scissortail
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    Part of me still naively believed that at least a couple more members of the party that touts "law and order" and "constitutional values" would have an actual trial, hear all of the evidence...

    Part of me still naively believed that at least a couple more members of the party that touts "law and order" and "constitutional values" would have an actual trial, hear all of the evidence before them, and attempt to make the most informed decision possible on the matter. Hell, they could have at least pretended to--and that likely would have been better for them in the long run.

    With this move they've made it crystal clear that their goal is "power at any cost", even if that means setting a precedent that makes the POTUS essentially a monarch as long as they don't break a law (even though according to the GAO, a law was indeed broken).

    I'm sad and more than a little disgusted. If they vote to acquit, and I'm 99.999% sure they will, I hope I'll see some of you in the streets with me.

    7 votes
  11. Comment on What's a widely criticized thing that you feel is worth defending? in ~talk

    scissortail
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    Yes, as I mention in my first post in the thread the system I describe is neither capitalistic nor statist. Capital is incompatible with freedom, in my opinion, and allows individuals to exercise...

    Yes, as I mention in my first post in the thread the system I describe is neither capitalistic nor statist. Capital is incompatible with freedom, in my opinion, and allows individuals to exercise undue control over others.

    And I completely agree regarding climate change, and think that in trying to transition to localized economies we would do well to make sustainability one of the top priorities. I think that kneecapping modern industry is essential to fighting climate change, and that (even in the bounds of the current system) we need to abandon the idea of nonstop economic growth for its own sake.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on What's a widely criticized thing that you feel is worth defending? in ~talk

    scissortail
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    I don't deny that specialization and comparative advantage are real, but I would posit that the security and narrow focus of local economies would outweigh the inefficiencies specifically when it...

    I don't deny that specialization and comparative advantage are real, but I would posit that the security and narrow focus of local economies would outweigh the inefficiencies specifically when it comes to the necessities I outlined above. If something horrible happened to the main suppliers of food and medicine in the current system, it would mean suffering for a lot of people. If something horrible happened to a local supply of food or medicine in a federated system, the suffering would be much more contained (and hopefully quickly ameliorated by the surpluses of federated partners). It also allows for community oversight of workers rights, safety conditions, and the like--things that are a bit cloudier when production is outsourced. For things outside of basic necessities, specialization and trading with federated partners would be much more likely. As you mention, transitioning to this way of doing things would take a lot of forecasting, modeling, and a general lack of recklessness to work well.

    In addition, what mechanism prevents local communities with stronger military force from, well, making their own federation via force?

    I don't see this as substantially different from asking the same question of modern nation-states, to be honest. Optics, trade/economic repercussions, cost to the aggressor, humanistic concern, and other factors prevent the current major militaries from steamrolling everyone around them. You could also look at the Zapatistas as a current example--their territory is surrounded by Mexico (and Guatemala) and could be crushed outright by the Mexican government. They have been holding steady for more than two decades now without major conflict, though. Rojava doesn't look like it will be so lucky. They've had to ally with the Assad regime to prevent being totally steamrolled by Turkey.

    In a situation where there are neighboring federations, the use of military force would likely sour federation members on the offending municipalities. Further, I think the incentive to make war is substantially decreased when the basic needs of a society are met and there's no military-industrial complex to feed. As for the question of military ability and arms generally, I would wager that in the USA many communities would be well-armed and have a militia in this hypothetical confederalism.

    And how much power would be vested into these communities? Would there be a universal currency for instance?

    Power flows from the bottom up in this sort of model. Local assemblies get the final say in the agreements that bind them. As for currencies, it could take any number of forms as I alluded to in my previous response. My money would be on each federation having a single currency, and having agreements with other federations that either adopt a shared currency or establish a sensible exchange rate.

  13. Comment on What's a widely criticized thing that you feel is worth defending? in ~talk

    scissortail
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    I'm going to try to answer in broad strokes, so this will be necessarily incomplete. Essentially, a society could vest all meaningful decision-making power locally, in variations of communal...

    I'm going to try to answer in broad strokes, so this will be necessarily incomplete.

    Essentially, a society could vest all meaningful decision-making power locally, in variations of communal assemblies or town meetings. Everyone would have the opportunity to participate, and everyone would have equal political power. These small units could federate for broader cooperation or projects--more permanently under a shared federation agreement (resembling a constitution or bill of rights, etc.), or temporarily with project-specific charters. Power in these agreements would flow from the bottom up instead of the top down. Products and services would likely be provided by decentralized organizations instead of corporations, and the ideas of capital (here, the ownership of the means of production by non-workers) and rent-seeking abolished. These groups would coordinate to make sure everyone's basic needs (food, water, shelter, community) are met.

    Now all of these things would take different forms depending on where they emerge: somewhere like Vermont, for instance, would likely simply empower the longstanding tradition of town meetings to make political decisions. Somewhere like Austin, Texas could use its already healthy culture of worker cooperatives as a model for how to structure labor. Some places might use a variation on traditional currency, others could use something like a labor-hour note, while still others could try to abandon currency entirely (a very difficult proposition, imo). The occurrence of small free markets, local planned economies, and anything in between would be possible under such a system; I think that much of the strife in the current American political climate (and likely in other places, as well), comes from the wholesale ignorance of local contexts by both corporations and governments.

    This sort of model would free us both from the oppression that necessarily comes with a centralized state and from the modern corporate structure. As I mentioned, though, this sort of system would take a long time to build effectively. Here are some (but nowhere near all) of the obstacles towards its implementation (bear in mind that my reading of this is pretty strongly biased towards the USA):

    • It requires a pretty serious degree of local autonomy for basic needs. My understanding is that in the USA, most municipalities don't have the local infrastructure to handle getting everyone fed without pulling in food from California and global food producers. Medicine, too, is a concern--vaccines, antibiotics, anesthesia, and other critical medications would have to have a local source of production for this model to work. One workaround here would be to federate early with another municipality that can meet the gaps in production, though that still relies on their continued adherence to any federation agreement.

    • It is largely incompatible with modern industrial production. Not having a global neoliberal chain of manufacturing would cripple industry, as would directly empowering citizens who largely don't want to accept the negative externalities of modern industry when alternatives exist. I personally view this as a good thing, though many would not.

    • Overnight acceptance of such a system would be problematic, and would deprive many people of their safety and freedom. In the USA, local assemblies in certain places could elect to deprive women of their reproductive rights, choose to allow discrimination based on race/gender/creed, etc. This could be mitigated by brokering federation agreements with a bill of rights to prevent these things. I also don't think "Overnight acceptance" (i.e. revolution) would be at all feasible, but even with a slower rollout this would still pose a thorny problem. This is one of the tougher issues in my book, and I still haven't come up with a great solution.

    • The existing state and corporate structures would no doubt fight tooth and nail to prevent federated local democracies from happening.

    That's all I can really write for now, as work is calling, but I'll try to respond if you have more questions.

    The closest mostly-codified ideology that this fits with is Communalism, or Libertarian Municipalism, as devised by Murray Bookchin. The Ecology of Freedom is a great read, if a bit dense, and lays out the historical/philosophical underpinnings of his ideas. For societies that have been successfully with similar ideals, see the Zapatistas in Mexico or the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava). Cheers.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on What's a widely criticized thing that you feel is worth defending? in ~talk

    scissortail
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    I agree that the state should own neither Blizzard nor Kellogg's, but it's worth noting that state control isn't the only alternative to capitalism (or mixed-market capitalism). We could have a...

    I agree that the state should own neither Blizzard nor Kellogg's, but it's worth noting that state control isn't the only alternative to capitalism (or mixed-market capitalism). We could have a situation without a centralized state or capitalism, though it would take a long time to build up effectively.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on Mary Louise Kelly interviews Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo in ~news

    scissortail
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    Mary Louise presses pretty hard in that interview while remaining professional. Good on her, not surprised that Pompeo cracked.

    Mary Louise presses pretty hard in that interview while remaining professional. Good on her, not surprised that Pompeo cracked.

    5 votes
  16. Comment on What are you doing this weekend? in ~talk

    scissortail
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    Planning on baking a rye bread, repadding a few clarinets, and (hopefully) finishing a saxophone overhaul. I also get to meet a couple of my SO's friends for the first time, which is pretty exciting.

    Planning on baking a rye bread, repadding a few clarinets, and (hopefully) finishing a saxophone overhaul. I also get to meet a couple of my SO's friends for the first time, which is pretty exciting.

    7 votes
  17. Comment on What are your favorite concept albums? in ~music

    scissortail
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    I'm not even huge on Megaman and I love their work. Some serious musicianship on display on those albums.

    I'm not even huge on Megaman and I love their work. Some serious musicianship on display on those albums.

  18. Comment on What's your favorite food that tastes good and is good for you? in ~food

    scissortail
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    In a similar vein--roasted beets. People often hate beets because they only know the slimy stuff from the cans. A roasted beet is earthy, a bit sweet, and has just enough tooth to it. IIRC about...

    In a similar vein--roasted beets. People often hate beets because they only know the slimy stuff from the cans. A roasted beet is earthy, a bit sweet, and has just enough tooth to it. IIRC about an hour at 425 is the way to do it.

    6 votes
  19. Comment on Home Brewing in ~hobbies

    scissortail
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    I actually just started my first batch of kvass! I've also brewed several batches of kombucha in the past, and have helped my old man out with some beers. I'm hoping to try my hands at mead before...

    I actually just started my first batch of kvass! I've also brewed several batches of kombucha in the past, and have helped my old man out with some beers. I'm hoping to try my hands at mead before too long.

    2 votes
  20. Comment on I Worked for Alex Jones. I Regret It. in ~misc

    scissortail
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    I usually grab mine from here for ease of download, but part one on the official site is here.

    I usually grab mine from here for ease of download, but part one on the official site is here.

    4 votes