vektor's recent activity

  1. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
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    Oh no doubt. A little bit more significant than DC relatively speaking. I was more comparing DC and how it came to be to Canberra. In both cases, putting the capital there was basically a decision...

    Oh no doubt. A little bit more significant than DC relatively speaking. I was more comparing DC and how it came to be to Canberra. In both cases, putting the capital there was basically a decision of "let's put it in the boonies, so the second largest city can't get mad if we make the largest city capital". I think that's a mostly accurate description of both capitals, and probably a few more around the world. Berlin on the other hand is kind of the obvious choice, being the biggest city, and otherwise being somewhat significant. It's just that it's quite unremarkable by many metrics. I'm sure if you asked around what Germany's culturally most important city is, the answers will be split many different ways. Or similarly, if you checked which cities get what level of traffic from international tours, I wouldn't expect Berlin to lead that chart.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
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    I've heard that before and I'm not quite buying it. Lobbyists probably aren't scared off by having to travel 2-3h from their company's HQ to the capital. And if it's that politicians will treat...

    ...in fact, that's often promulgated as a virtuous arrangement to avoid conflicts of interest in governance...

    I've heard that before and I'm not quite buying it. Lobbyists probably aren't scared off by having to travel 2-3h from their company's HQ to the capital. And if it's that politicians will treat favorably wherever their workplace happens to be, that bias probably still exists, it just benefits a different interest group. If Sacramento, CA gets preferential treatment over SF and LA, that makes about as much sense to me as Wyoming having equal power in the senate as CA. It's about shifting political capital (heh) around, but I don't see a good argument for where it ought to be except "everyone gets equal say".

  3. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I recall reading about "digga" being basically a sterilized appropriation of the n-word, originating in German hip hop. Not sure if it was academically sound to a linguist's standards though.

    I recall reading about "digga" being basically a sterilized appropriation of the n-word, originating in German hip hop. Not sure if it was academically sound to a linguist's standards though.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I think it deserves mentioning that all that baggage doesn't really make it out of the US, beyond social media outrage if someone did say it. Like, if I wasn't so online and only slightly more...

    but on the flip side they go around saying the N-word with no consideration to the weight it carries for people from the US despite how glaringly obvious from American media (outside of hip-hop/rap culture) how negative that word is.

    I think it deserves mentioning that all that baggage doesn't really make it out of the US, beyond social media outrage if someone did say it. Like, if I wasn't so online and only slightly more naive, all I would know is that it's used in a positive way in rap culture. And sure, there's more-or-less equivalent words in German - we have "Neger" which is so old fashioned it's more a curiosity if someone actually still uses it. "Negro" even more so, makes you sound like you're born in 1880, with monocle, pipe and top hat. The btter point of comparison though are slurs that carry similar amount of punch that upstanding Germans avoid like the plague, mostly for groups which have suffered discrimination more consistently and at greater scale - Turks, Roma, Jews.

    What I find the most interesting aspect of this all though is that there seems to be a better understanding of use-mention-distinction in Germany. I feel like I could quote bad words here if I needed to. There's no "K-Wort" for referring to a slur about Turkish people. You either use the word, in which case you're probably an asshole. Or you mention the word, in which case you're not using it, and that's generally an understood distinction; perhaps you do it because it's important to convey exactly what is said. Or if you want to keep it really proper, you just report that "X called Y by a racist slur" and that might also be all the information you need. There's no dancing around it, you either mention the word, or you don't. In that way, it isn't that "we don't know any better", it's just that some things that count as dropping an n-bomb in the US are here simply considered quoting someone who did.

    how Germans view Americans as boorish for our tendency to make jokes about WW2/Nazis/Hitler.

    On that I'd just like to add that there's quite a whole host of jokes you can make here that are entirely acceptable. I feel like the line of what is too much is a bit different between the US and Germany. For example, mockery of a certain failed Austrian artist and his drug habits is fully accepted. I imagine there's less room for tongue-in-cheek glorification, as Germans don't do tongue-in-cheek, ever. (/s) There's also certain topics around the victims of the regime that are, after 80 years, still a bit of a case of "too soon". And while I'm sure Americans would agree that it's no good to make light of victims, who is or isn't a victim is a matter of historical debate. I'm sure jokes to the effect of "all nazi soldiers were nazis" go over real well with grandkids of drafted soldiers, and there certainly is some heightened sensitivity around who's to blame for the horrors of that time. I do wonder what jokes you think are considered on different sides of the red line in the US vs in Germany.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Never been to australia, so I can't comment. I'm seeing some parallels though, in that Canberra was a compromise capital, and basically decentralized the country more. The historical reason for...

    Never been to australia, so I can't comment. I'm seeing some parallels though, in that Canberra was a compromise capital, and basically decentralized the country more. The historical reason for that being much different, but the outcome is similar in that the capital just isn't that important outside politics.

    Also, obligatory mention of the US too here I suppose. DC is a hamlet.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Iran launches dozens of drones toward Israel in ~news

    vektor
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    That, and a nuclear capability that you've never tested isn't a very credible deterrence. Israel is pretty damn alone in that regard - they're the only nuclear power I can think of that has not...

    That, and a nuclear capability that you've never tested isn't a very credible deterrence.

    Israel is pretty damn alone in that regard - they're the only nuclear power I can think of that has not done any testing according to public records, though there are 2 events that were possibly(probably?) Israeli nuclear tests. They're also the only country that is suspected of having nukes but doesn't actually admit to them. That for example NK has conducted tests is well known. It's a very unmistakable way of saying "would everybody please stop messing with me!", and that in itself is probably seen as a decent reason to test the thing.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Iran launches dozens of drones toward Israel in ~news

    vektor
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    I think right now Israel wants to, at least on the international stage, talk up the damage and their willingness to respond. This gives Iran the opportunity to declare "victory" without actually...

    I think right now Israel wants to, at least on the international stage, talk up the damage and their willingness to respond. This gives Iran the opportunity to declare "victory" without actually having achieved anything. So I expect Israel to act very concerned and serious. Lots of "we can't give any details because of OpSec", "we're weighing our options", "Iran's attack on military and civilian targets was oh so bad", and once Iran has declared victory, they just don't do anything.

    Maybe it's confirmation bias, but I'm reading the whole "Israel will coordinate its actions with its allies" as a silent admission of "yeah, the US doesn't want an escalation and we don't either, so if this was the entire retaliatory strike, we can leave it at this." but I admit that's possibly more fortune-telling than news-reading.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I see certain parallels between the way Romania and Germany feel about their capitals. Now I'm wondering whether other European countries are decentralized to the same degree as Germany. Because...

    I see certain parallels between the way Romania and Germany feel about their capitals. Now I'm wondering whether other European countries are decentralized to the same degree as Germany. Because if you look at England, and even more so France, you'll notice that their economic, political, probably even cultural center of gravity is undoubtedly London respectively Paris. Sure, stuff also happens elsewhere in the country, but most of the important stuff happens there, most of the big companies are there.

    Germany on the other hand.... not one German car manufacturer has their main base in Berlin, some of them are in towns that are otherwise completely unremarkable. Steel industry (or what's left of it and/or has replaced it) is in the Ruhr area. Logistics and Finance are centered around Frankfurt (air, rail, banks), Hamburg (port) and Munich (insurance). Berlin has respectable universities, but again, most of it is distributed across big towns and small cities all over. In fact, while in most countries I expect governmental redistribution flows from the economically highly productive capital to the disadvantaged but crucial countryside, in Germany it's the other way around. Beyond being the political center of Germany, Berlin is really not that important to the country overall, even considering its quite substantial population.

    I do wonder what it's like in other European countries.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on In Berlin, I experience icks I never thought possible in ~travel

    vektor
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    In the interest of cultural exchange, I'll leave this well-known german copy-pasta here. In the interest of providing an authentic german copy-pasta experience, I'll leave the machine translation...

    In the interest of cultural exchange, I'll leave this well-known german copy-pasta here. In the interest of providing an authentic german copy-pasta experience, I'll leave the machine translation completely intact:


    Oh Berlin. What is Berlin? Berlin is the city that Germans should be ashamed of on the international stage. If you compare Berlin with other European capitals such as London, Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam, it makes any decent person's face turn red with shame. Even small countries such as Austria, Belgium or Switzerland have internationally presentable cities with a high quality of life in Vienna, Brussels and Zurich. Germany is punished with Berlin, the capital of failure. Berlin is home to by far the most assholes in the entire country. Deutsche Bahn, the Bundestag, Air Berlin and the Axel Springer publishing house are just a few examples of the incompetent scum that are housed here.

    Glorious times are long gone, this city is on its knees. The Berliner is a lazy bastard through and through. Character traits that would be considered pure laziness, unfriendliness, incompetence, dissocial personality disorder and stupidity in any civilized culture are declared by Berliners to be Berlin characteristics without further ado. Another central characteristic is the all-dominant inferiority complex. This is why Berliners project massive feelings of hatred onto anyone who is better than them in any way. The southern Germans in particular, who are vastly superior to him in all respects, are a thorn in his side. He envies their success and Munich is at the top of his hate list. This city is everything and has everything the Berliner would like to be and have. The fact that Munich finances the Berliner's lottery life is of no interest to the Berliner, he even secretly believes he deserves it. Instead of freeing himself from his lethargy caused by envy and resentment and turning his city around, he indulges in asocial parasitism and still thinks highly of his supposed cosmopolitan city.

    Culturally, Berlin is rather weak, with great works dating back a long time. Even pronouncing the letter "g" as a "j" is considered a great cultural achievement here. Advanced learners can even add a "wa?" to the end of every sentence. The level of performance in the kitchen is at a manageable level. A sausage made from ground seperator meat with ketchup and curry spice is sold here as a currywurst and a stroke of culinary genius. Any sensible person would hardly consider a sausage with ketchup to be the holy grail of culinary art and probably not even a recipe. The rest of the republic generously allows Berliners to believe this so that their inferiority complexes don't get the better of them

    Economically, Berlin is a disaster, even the late GDR was more solid. Apart from that, Berlin's economy is based on alternative blogs, something to do with media and gender studies, if the universities are to be believed.Despite the economic bankruptcy, Berliners still afford prestige projects such as the City Palace and an airport that is supposed to be an art project due to its lack of functionality.This city is also home to all the headquarters of the people's parties, which for marketing reasons do without the "traitor" in their names.For a long time, the mayor of this city was the jolly Wowibär, whose prestige and prosecco politics dragged everything that was still halfway presentable into the abyss.

    In short: Berlin is Germany's tile table.It is to Germany what Greece is to the European Union and if Berlin had an open sewer, it would be Germany's Romania.
    Berlin is an eyesore, the pimple on Germany's ass. Berlin is the guy who comes to your party without an invitation, doesn't even bring alcohol and doesn't understand that he's not wanted when you knock a few teeth out of his face and throw him down the stairs. Berlin is the Detroit of Germany and should be sold to Poland for 200 złoty.


    Commentary: I think this needs about as much introduction as OP's post. In that spirit: I've been to Berlin too once. This is how the rest of the Federal Republic thinks about Berlin. Well, as long as we're ranting about Berlin anyway.

    13 votes
  10. Comment on What cooking techniques need more evidence? in ~food

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Right. Baker's percentages are isolation of variables type stuff and super duper useful. The core idea is basically that you scale your ingredients primarily with the amount of flour you're using,...

    Right. Baker's percentages are isolation of variables type stuff and super duper useful. The core idea is basically that you scale your ingredients primarily with the amount of flour you're using, rather than the amount of dough you're making. If your recipe is 66% flour, 33% water, 1% salt, that's a pain to mess around with. I want the same amount, but mess with the water amount, how does that work? If the recipe is 100% flour, 2% salt, 50% water, then scaling water up and down is trivial, even if it slightly throws off how much dough you're making. Arguably, the amount of bread you receive is a function of flour use anyway.

    But beyond that, a lot of the terminology and methodology around baking, bread baking in particular, is frustrating for evidence-based people. For example, the entire protein matrix, gluten development, stretching-folding-kneading part is super opaque and while there's some evidence out there, because of the complexity of the topic the readily available evidence doesn't nearly cover everything you might want to know. Similar things for anything microbe related. Yeast or sourdough development? Outcomes depend on a lot of factors and you're lucky if the evidence isolated even a handful of them at a time.

    13 votes
  11. Comment on Texas is replacing thousands of human exam graders with AI in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I for one welcome our robot overlords I agree though. I see a similar future, even in the somewhat medium term, much before your presumed retirement. An intermediate state where AI figures out for...

    I for one welcome our robot overlords

    I agree though. I see a similar future, even in the somewhat medium term, much before your presumed retirement. An intermediate state where AI figures out for each student individually what they should be learning and how. E.g. the AI might figure out that you're ready for calculus, and that you profit most from a certain teaching style, so it directs you towards a specific lecture recording. There'd be no more reason for most teachers to actually lecture or grade things - the former is done by the few teachers who are outstanding at doing that, the latter is done by AI. A teacher's primary job would then be to lead things that require in-person interaction - think science experiments for example - or that are inherently social. You'd not be teaching them math; you'd take them on field trips where they learn to apply it; you'd do science experiments with them; and most importantly you'd be responsible for social skills, a skillset that school as it exists currently hardly even acknowledges as a valuable skillset.

    I hope when we reach that point, we make use of the potential: Keep those teachers employed, but focus their efforts on newfound opportunities. Instead of firing as many as we can get away with, and keep education stagnant.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on A brief rundown of some of the flaws of the Cass review in ~lgbt

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Deimos is the only admin who actually does the kind of "hard" housekeeping like bans and deletions. Considering he's busy with life currently, it's become a bit of a habit of his to delete topics...

    Deimos is the only admin who actually does the kind of "hard" housekeeping like bans and deletions. Considering he's busy with life currently, it's become a bit of a habit of his to delete topics before they turn into dumpster fires, because by the time they do, Deimos might be at work or asleep for another 8 hours, leading to much more substantial fallout. It's certainly not perfect, but it's better than leaving a dumpster fire to burn for extended periods of time, which would lead to a more hostile atmosphere.

    I can certainly imagine that there was a bunch of Malice tags being thrown OP's way in that thread, and the atmosphere was already starting to show signs of a bit of flaming. Leave it up another 8 hours, and you've got a dumpster fire. It's not an effort to baby sensitive trans snowflakes; it's an effort to keep people from starting a flame war that affects the entire site. You can talk about difficult topics, but there's an implied responsibility to do so in a way that does not start a flame war. Any topics where that is not actually possible, yes, that conversation can indeed not currently happen on tildes for practical reasons.

    10 votes
  13. Comment on Hilary Cass: Weak evidence letting down children over gender care in ~lgbt

    vektor
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    META/OT: Is it just me who finds this topic - and the group it's posted in - a bit off-color? I thought we had established a while ago that ~lgbt was "for and by" lgbt people, rather than "about"...

    META/OT: Is it just me who finds this topic - and the group it's posted in - a bit off-color? I thought we had established a while ago that ~lgbt was "for and by" lgbt people, rather than "about" lgbt people. I don't think this article fits that, and it feels a bit ...intrusive. And I'm not even lgbt.

    If this topic hadn't been talked about to death in lgbt spaces, and there wasn't a broad consensus about it, it might be a relevant discussion to have, but I think both those ships have sailed quite conclusively.

    8 votes
  14. Comment on Botswana threatens to send 20,000 elephants to Germany in ~enviro

    vektor
    Link Parent
    We've got about 40 african elephants in zoos across the country. Let's say as an olive branch to Botswana we double that capacity.... I don't think we're making a dent in their excess population.

    We've got about 40 african elephants in zoos across the country. Let's say as an olive branch to Botswana we double that capacity.... I don't think we're making a dent in their excess population.

    6 votes
  15. Comment on Discord to start showing ads for gamers to boost revenue in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    ...once you stop growing rapidly?

    ...once you stop growing rapidly?

    5 votes
  16. Comment on ‘Robot dog’ damaged by bullets during armed standoff in Barnstable, State Police say in ~tech

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Right. One could look at the training requirements of police forces (as a measure of their professionalism), the rates of violent crime involving guns in the country (as a measure of the perceived...

    Right. One could look at the training requirements of police forces (as a measure of their professionalism), the rates of violent crime involving guns in the country (as a measure of the perceived threat environment) and look at a bunch of countries. My prediction would be, the US isn't alone in having... lax requirements for their police force, and it's a much better explanation that US cops are simply trigger happy because in certain situations, they get really fucking scared. I'm sure some of these situations are amplified by shitty training, but I think it's ultimately down to scared police officers most of the time.

    An accountable human operator, likely a full record of the entire police interaction, and the operator doesn't have to fear for their life? I'm not saying nothing bad could ever come of this. But a suspect being in a mexican standoff with your robot is a much better environment for calm, collected decision making and de-escalation than a mexican standoff with you would be.

    9 votes
  17. Comment on Cargo ship hits major bridge in Baltimore, triggering collapse (gifted link) in ~transport

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I checked google streetview, and there's these electronic highway noticeboards ~2 miles out from the bridge. I suspect that's the only way you're going to stop traffic this quickly.

    I checked google streetview, and there's these electronic highway noticeboards ~2 miles out from the bridge. I suspect that's the only way you're going to stop traffic this quickly.

    2 votes
  18. Comment on Israel is a strategic liability for the United States. The special relationship does not benefit Washington and is endangering US interests across the globe. in ~misc

    vektor
    Link Parent
    Yeah, the "coup attempt" is when turkey ceased being a democratic ally in my mind. They're neither particularly democratic, nor particularly allied. They're lukewarm at best on both counts. (I'm...

    Yeah, the "coup attempt" is when turkey ceased being a democratic ally in my mind. They're neither particularly democratic, nor particularly allied. They're lukewarm at best on both counts.

    (I'm not claiming the coup had particularly high relevance on Turkey's condition as a democracy, but it was the event that made me reassess. The gradient towards authoritarianism was there before and continued to be there after.)

    14 votes
  19. Comment on Scientific research suggests it might be a good idea to add python to your diet in ~food

    vektor
    Link Parent
    I think that casually hits upon a point that feels so very true to me: Replacing conventional meat is always going to be a culture shift. You remark upon how doing that culture shift alone,...

    I think that casually hits upon a point that feels so very true to me: Replacing conventional meat is always going to be a culture shift. You remark upon how doing that culture shift alone, because that culture shift needs scale to become easier. What I also find interesting is that it's still a (personal, in this case) culture shift, regardless of whether I go vegan or go insect meat. I can't just make a insect steak. I can buy a insect-based burger, but I can also buy a soy-based burger. Either way, I have to cut out parts of my repertoire (steak) and adapt others (burgers) because there's just no steak without beef. And replacing that repertoire takes lots of different kinds of effort, which is why (collectively) this culture shift takes forever. So from that perspective, all these newfangled types of meat, be it insect, python or whatever, don't add any options that I don't already have - culturally, less steak, moar beans requires less adjustment than 'less steak, more python', because beans are already part of my repertoire and have less of an icky aspect.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on Scientific research suggests it might be a good idea to add python to your diet in ~food