44 votes

What's a common misconception or misunderstanding you would love to see corrected?

What's something that people keep getting wrong? (Especially something they don't even know they're getting wrong)

It can be something as simple as wanting to enforce "mischievous" over "mischievious," or something much bigger like "the earth isn't flat". It can be funny or serious.

Also, even though I said "common", I'm definitely okay with domain-specific or more narrowly-focused ones, so if there's something that really bothers you about your particular job, discipline, or hobby, feel free to share!

139 comments

  1. [8]
    vili
    (edited )
    Link
    From a linguist's point of view, considering that practically everyone over a certain age uses a language or languages daily, it is fascinating how many misconceptions people have about this skill...

    From a linguist's point of view, considering that practically everyone over a certain age uses a language or languages daily, it is fascinating how many misconceptions people have about this skill that could be argued is the single most important aspect that separates us from other animals.

    In other words:

    • No, your language is not the most difficult and/or the most expressive in the world. No such things really exist. Difficulty only exists in relative terms (German is more difficult for a Japanese speaker than for a Dutch speaker to learn) and children around the world acquire their mother tongues with fairly similar rates. All human languages can express the same things, although they of course do it in different ways. Still, complexities in one part of a language (say, a complicated case system) tend to be balanced by fewer complexities in other areas (say, less complex word order rules).

    • I have further bad news for you: your language isn't the oldest one in the world, either. Languages are constantly changing, so talking about the "oldest" language is fairly meaningless. There may or may not have been a single proto-language from which all other languages derive, but we simply do not know. Actually, the whole concept of "language" as an immutable entity is a misconception (although often a useful one), as languages tend to exist with a continuum of dialects, and where one language ends and another begins is often more of a political decision than anything else.

    • In fact, that new thing that everyone is saying that is different from how you would like things to be said is not a corruption of language but simply a sign of the language changing. The kind of words and expressions that you consider correct were once similarly new and old people were complaining how they were corrupting their language. Don't be one of those old people and just accept that languages keep changing. So, @gpl (link), I'm afraid it's already "ATM machine" as well as just "ATM". ;) (Edit: Although I do of course understand where they are coming from in their comment, as "ATM machine" doesn't make logical sense. However, I'm afraid that this is another misconception: the way that languages work actually has quite little to do with logic.)

    • This is not to say that telling people how to speak "correctly" is always a bad idea. In addition to conveying meaning, language is also used for many social functions. It is good to know the standardly accepted ways of saying or spelling something within a given context.

    • Speaking of spelling: writing systems are not languages. Writing systems are simply ways to record language and spelling is secondary to speaking and signing. This is similar to how an mp3 file is not music, just a carrier of it. All normal, healthy individuals acquire a language automatically if they grow up in an environment where they are in contact with the language. Writing, meanwhile, is a skill that must be taught.

    • Which reminds me: sign languages on the other hand are not somehow translating spoken languages into hand waving, and neither are they some sort of partial, simple languages. Sign languages are fully independent and fully complex languages. There isn't also just one global sign language, just like there isn't just one global spoken language. People around the world sign differently, just like they speak differently. As an example, American Sign Language is in fact way more different from British Sign Language than American English is from British English (the former pair are two different languages, the latter rather two dialects of a single language).

    • A language not having a word or an expression for something doesn't mean that people who speak it can't think about or understand that concept. Language can certainly influence thinking (the extent of which has been debated furiourly) but language is not thought, it is a method of communication.

    • Being able to speak just one language is not the norm and has probably never been. The majority of the world's population speaks multiple languages, of course to various degrees of competence. Monolingualism is an exception, and I would argue at least partially the result of our quite recent system of nation states.

    • But no, linguists don't speak a gazillion languages each. Just like doctors don't have all the diseases. Linguists just study how languages work. Speaking another language helps (just like having had chickenpox probably helps when sympathizing with your patient who has chickenpox) but it's not necessary.

    • All in all, human languages work in pretty fascinating ways. There are universal things that all languages seem to do, and there are things that vary widely between languages. The similarities actually greatly outnumber the differences. Meanwhile, no other animal seems to have a similar communicative skill that allows us to express an infinite number of things with a finite number of components. When the popular press talks about "bird language" or "dolphin speech" they don't really refer to language in the same way as linguistics do when they talk about human language.

    38 votes
    1. gpl
      Link Parent
      Is this it? Have I become a prescriptivist? Am I the baddy? In all actuality I agree with all of what you've laid out here, I completely accept that if "ATM machine" is understood than it is...

      Is this it? Have I become a prescriptivist? Am I the baddy?

      In all actuality I agree with all of what you've laid out here, I completely accept that if "ATM machine" is understood than it is correct for all intents and purposes. I was just pointing out the lack of logic.

      17 votes
    2. [6]
      cwagner
      Link Parent
      While you are here, might I inquire about something? I once saw a YouTube video about the Himba people that had a bunch of different names for certain shades of green (Not the video I saw but it...

      Language can certainly influence thinking (the extent of which has been debated furiourly)

      While you are here, might I inquire about something?

      I once saw a YouTube video about the Himba people that had a bunch of different names for certain shades of green (Not the video I saw but it is about the same topic) and could distinguish (imo absolutely the same looking :D) those shades easily. Is this furiously debated? Relatively certain? Any input would be appreciated :)

      10 votes
      1. [5]
        vili
        Link Parent
        Colour words are an excellent example of how language may affect thinking and how this sort of relationship is hotly debated in the field. The basis of the debate is in a study by Brent Berlin and...

        Colour words are an excellent example of how language may affect thinking and how this sort of relationship is hotly debated in the field.

        The basis of the debate is in a study by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay who in the late 60s suggested a continuum of colour terms in languages, which goes roughly like this:

        1. If a language has only two words for colours (the minimum attested), they are always equivalent to "dark" and "light".

        2. If a language has three words for colours, the third word added to the above will invariably be "red".

        3. If a language has four words for colours, the fourth word is either "green" or "yellow", and if a language has five colour words it has both of them.

        4. The sixth colour word will be for "blue".

        5. Then, for "brown".

        6. And only after that other colour words pop up.

        Since this was shown to be pretty universal across unrelated languages, it would indicate that it's not the languages that are necessarily driving cognition here, but the other way around, human cognition having some sort of a universal that manifests itself in our languages.

        However, naturally things aren't quite as simple as presented above and there is actually more variation, although still not as much as to suggest colour word inventories to be in any way random. You can read a bit more about this here and here.

        Also, note that when pop articles discuss this, the topic tends to be (understandably) simplified greatly, as it is in the Business Insider video that you linked to. The video for instance claims that English has no term for "light blue". Well, "light blue" in itself is a term, so English certainly can express it. Similarly, English has many different words for different shades of blue, like "azure", "capri", "cyan", "denim" and so on. There are also plenty of studies that show that women tend to use and recognise a larger variety of colour words than men do, and they also tend to differentiate between colour hues and shades more readily. This is regardless of what language they speak, so again it doesn't seem that it's just language that affects our colour perception.

        In addition to colour words, another interesting example of how language and cognition interface is in directional vocabulary. In English, we are pretty accustomed to talking about "left" and "right", but there are many languages where these words don't exist. Instead, where an English speaker would use those words, speakers of those languages may for instance use compass directions (north, west, east, south). Note the big cognitive difference between the two: one is "egocentric", i.e. defined by a person's position in the world (what's my "left" depends entirely on where I'm facing), while the other is "geocentric", i.e. defined by the world around them. There are also languages that use some locally defined features: for instance, speakers of some languages that are spoken in societies that live their lives on large hillsides use the words "uphill" and "downhill" rather than "left" and "right".

        If you are interested in reading more about these type of things from a book accessible to just about anyone, I can recommend Guy Deutscher's Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. Just keep in mind while reading that Deutscher is arguing for the idea that language indeed affects thought. There are many that argue against it. This debate over the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or linguistic relativity has been a fierce one, especially among armchair linguists, who have learnt to attack anyone who dares to suggest that language affects thinking.

        In fact, this is a topic that seems very dear to many hobbyist linguists (and I suppose understandably so), but isn't that central to what most academic linguists do in their research. My personal view is that there is no simplistic answer for this and no one is entirely right or wrong: language, thinking, culture and the world around you all interact with each other constantly and influence one another.

        Within linguistics, it is the subfield of cognitive linguistics that is most interested in these things. I don't have much to do with cognitive linguistics (or these days really with academic linguistics at all), but one avenue of research that I have personally found very interesting in cognitive linguistics is that of conceptual metaphors. Take the concept of "time", for instance. In English, you can "spend time" and you can "waste time" and you can "invest time" and you can live on "borrowed time", and so on. It seems like in English, time is quite literally money. But this is an English thing. While it exists in some other languages as well, most languages have other metaphoric constructs for time and in them, those expressions, if literally translated, would not make much sense. Finnish, for instance, builds its time metaphors around some sort of a container object that can be filled, used and worn out.

        In the end, the world we live in is very complex and therefore very little of what we talk about is solidly concrete, and so a lot of our language use is actually built on this type of metaphors, whether we consciously realise it or not. A valid question then is how much these types of systems of conceptual metaphors affect our thinking and behaviour. This is another much debated topic and one that many linguists say is complete nonsense. But if you are interested in it, a good classic introduction to conceptual metaphor would be George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's Metaphors We Live By, which kind of introduced the idea. Again, remember that the authors are arguing for a specific type of interpretation of how language and cognition works and there are many who have argued against them, so don't take anything as the ultimate truth.

        Linguistics is a relatively young field and its subfields like cognitive linguistics are even younger. We simply don't really know everything. Or really even that much.

        28 votes
        1. cwagner
          Link Parent
          Wow, thank you for this comprehensive post. I'll look into the recommended book, it sounds interesting. Outside of things small in scope, that seems to universally hold true ;)

          Wow, thank you for this comprehensive post. I'll look into the recommended book, it sounds interesting.

          We simply don't really know everything. Or really even that much.

          Outside of things small in scope, that seems to universally hold true ;)

          5 votes
        2. [3]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Speaking of language influencing how you think about the world, there was a fascinating TED talk about how tenses in a language may influence behavior. tagging @cwagner since he asked a question...

          Speaking of language influencing how you think about the world, there was a fascinating TED talk about how tenses in a language may influence behavior.

          tagging @cwagner since he asked a question about this.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            vili
            Link Parent
            That is indeed a very interesting TED talk. Keith Chen's ideas have influenced others as well, including this more recent article that suggests that the language one speaks affects their...

            That is indeed a very interesting TED talk. Keith Chen's ideas have influenced others as well, including this more recent article that suggests that the language one speaks affects their willingness to take action against climate change.

            One thing that seems to be common between the people behind these theories is that none of them are actually linguists, so you can probably guess how linguists tend to feel about these ideas. While it's been years since I actually looked at Chen's work related to this TED talk and he may well have updated his ideas since, I must say that I'm personally also quite skeptical. While he was able to present an impressive amount of data, I (like most others) felt that he wasn't really able to distinguish between causation and correlation, and that sociological rather than linguistic reasons seemed more likely candidates for what he is talking about. Some of his linguistic classifications also seemed quite off, which didn't help.

            Still, the idea that he presents certainly is intriguing. I remember that at the time this came out there were calls to set up experiments to test some of Chen's claims in a controlled setting, but I haven't heard that anything like that would have been done.

            5 votes
            1. Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              Oh yeah, absolutely. He's a behavioral economist, and they tend to walk into fields and ruffle a lot of feathers. Economics are a particularly hard field to study for exactly the reason you...

              Oh yeah, absolutely. He's a behavioral economist, and they tend to walk into fields and ruffle a lot of feathers.

              Economics are a particularly hard field to study for exactly the reason you presented - causation vs. correlation is very difficult to prove, especially with complex systems such as this.

              However, there are some tools at their disposal which help to separate the two to a degree. In the talk he points out the differences between natives, first generation, second generation, and correlations with language spoken. While this isn't perfect, it does hint at causation vs. correlation as differences in society follow these indicators.

              I agree that more research needs to be done into this. It would not surprise me if there was an effect of language on how we perceive the world, but I also believe that society, brain morphology, and what you are exposed to as a child are all huge factors as well and it would be good to know how these all interact with each other.

              3 votes
  2. [8]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Y2K wasn't a hoax or "non-issue", which is often what is spouted in response to any mention of it, and I get a little frustrated when people say that about it. It was definitely way over-hyped up...

    Y2K wasn't a hoax or "non-issue", which is often what is spouted in response to any mention of it, and I get a little frustrated when people say that about it. It was definitely way over-hyped up by the media, ironically enough, well after most of the world's major computer systems had already been patched or the legacy systems with the issue replaced... but an absolutely insane amount of work and international coordination went in to accomplishing that, and calling it a hoax/non-issue is really dismissive of all that hard work IMO.

    One of my friend's dad is a Fortran/COBOL programmer and came out of retirement for Y2K, and he put in a ridiculous amount of hours (and made serious $$$) working for some Banks here in Canada helping rewrite old legacy mainframe software to handle the date rollover smoothly.

    So basically, I just want people to know that Y2K was only a "non-issue" because of the army of programmers and IT professionals who put in the work to make sure it didn't actually cripple the world's computer controlled vital infrastructure.

    47 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I was working during that period (not in IT), and I can confirm that the IT department at the multinational bank I worked at was very aware of the Y2K "bug" and put in a lot of work to prevent any...

      I was working during that period (not in IT), and I can confirm that the IT department at the multinational bank I worked at was very aware of the Y2K "bug" and put in a lot of work to prevent any problems.

      I think the issue here is that all the bad things we were warned about before 1st January 2000 just didn't happen, so people assume those bad things were never going to happen. They didn't see the huge amount of work that went into preventing those bad things. They just saw that nothing happened.

      It's a twist on the saying that, in some fields, if you do your job well enough, noone will notice. Noone notices how well this job was done.

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        nic
        Link Parent
        I made a mission critical system Y2k compliant, and I can tell you that our group spent absurd amounts of money in ensuring Y2k compliance. Even at the time, with all the paranoia, it felt absurd....

        I made a mission critical system Y2k compliant, and I can tell you that our group spent absurd amounts of money in ensuring Y2k compliance. Even at the time, with all the paranoia, it felt absurd.

        I was in Silicon Valley, I asked folks what they were doing to celebrate new years, and at least one person told me he was heading to the woods with guns and food for new years in case civilization self destructed.

        On new years eve, I called up my sister in New Zealand. I asked her if New Zealand had noticed any problems. She said none. Then I partied like it was 1999.

        11 votes
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          I was also working during that time. I still have my massive, entire-coffee-pot sized Y2K mug with the "01-01-00" in huge letters down the side... it's practically a beer stein. I'd run compliance...

          I was also working during that time. I still have my massive, entire-coffee-pot sized Y2K mug with the "01-01-00" in huge letters down the side... it's practically a beer stein. I'd run compliance checks at the company I was working for and verified everything checked out. That didn't stop them from panicking when they realized I'd booked my six-week vacation starting in mid December, and no, I was not going to cancel it because of a few paranoid idiot managers who were convinced the sky would fall that day. I literally told them to fuck off the third time they asked about it, and left my work pager (yes, we used pagers back then) on my desk back in the states where they'd find it when they set it off trying to reach me.

          I spent two weeks each in London, Dublin, and Edinburgh. Rang in the new year on the shores of the Thames with the Brits. It seemed like the entire country came out to drink, and unlike the row over alcohol in times square that Rudy was famous for (it was banned that year), the Brits didn't seem to have any problems. The lack of litter left behind as we filed away from the river back to the hotel blew my mind - shitfaced hammered London is better at cleaning up after itself than sober NYC any day.

          I remember popping into Westminster Abbey on the way to the fireworks at the shore. The place was jam-packed with religious types praying their asses off that the world wouldn't come to an end during the next hour. The contrast between those people and the epic party outside was rather stark and it stuck with me. It felt like the entire Thames shore was standing-room-only.

          The Brits I struck up conversations with were flabbergasted to a man that my friend and I had opted for the millennium in London rather than NYC. I explained to them that christmas was by far the best time for a peaceful overseas vacation - flights were cheap, hotels were cheap, and London's version of 'winter' was 'spring' to any new yorker. Tourists would be few and far between. I took that entire trip for a mere $2500, some of the best money I ever spent.

          11 votes
    2. suspended
      Link Parent
      I worked in IT for 15 years and my father-in-law is one of the last COBOL programmers earning a living at it. He makes a lot of money, btw. I can confirm 100% that this would have been a disaster...

      I worked in IT for 15 years and my father-in-law is one of the last COBOL programmers earning a living at it. He makes a lot of money, btw. I can confirm 100% that this would have been a disaster without all of those 'man hours'.

      8 votes
    3. [3]
      Farox
      Link Parent
      Also people probably don't know the scale of these things. I remember working for a bank in the late 90s where they were discussing the change of a datatype for one column in on of their tables....

      Also people probably don't know the scale of these things. I remember working for a bank in the late 90s where they were discussing the change of a datatype for one column in on of their tables. They estimated it would take about 100 "man" years.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        As I understand, it's for essentially this reason (plus the potential to break things) that it can still take 3-5 business days for checks, bank transfers, etc. to clear, no? The banking system's...

        As I understand, it's for essentially this reason (plus the potential to break things) that it can still take 3-5 business days for checks, bank transfers, etc. to clear, no? The banking system's infrastructure is archaic but too costly to change?

        2 votes
        1. Greg
          Link Parent
          Perhaps, but most banking CEOs would define anything that even slightly dampens short-term profit growth as "too costly". It's by no means a small or cheap project, but if the banks were the ones...

          Perhaps, but most banking CEOs would define anything that even slightly dampens short-term profit growth as "too costly".

          It's by no means a small or cheap project, but if the banks were the ones bearing the cost and inconvenience of the status quo rather than the consumers I'd put good money on it being updated within six months.

          For comparison, the EU legislated on the issue and as a result we have free, generally near-instant electronic transfers with an upper limit of two hours for processing.

          3 votes
  3. [7]
    spctrvl
    Link
    Marginal tax brackets! So many people think that if you cross the income threshold into a higher tax bracket, you get all of your income taxed at the higher rate, rather than just the income over...

    Marginal tax brackets! So many people think that if you cross the income threshold into a higher tax bracket, you get all of your income taxed at the higher rate, rather than just the income over the threshold, which is how it actually works. This misconception is crazy common and drives poor decisions on the microeconomic front, and probably amplifies damaging anti tax sentiment in the political arena.

    43 votes
    1. [2]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      It's crazy how widespread it is. I hear people all the time say things like "Nah, I could make more money but that would put me into the next tax bracket." So... the end result is you have more...

      It's crazy how widespread it is. I hear people all the time say things like
      "Nah, I could make more money but that would put me into the next tax bracket." So... the end result is you have more money.
      There's no scenario where making more money leads to you actually making less money due to taxes. That's not how marginal taxes work.

      9 votes
      1. 9000
        Link Parent
        Interestingly, that is how some US social services work! Forcing some families right on the cutoff line for eligibility to choose between taking a modest raise or keeping SNAP (and other)...

        There's no scenario where making more money leads to you actually making less money due to taxes. That's not how marginal taxes work.

        Interestingly, that is how some US social services work! Forcing some families right on the cutoff line for eligibility to choose between taking a modest raise or keeping SNAP (and other) benefits.[1]

        I find it honestly pretty disappointing.


        [1]: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05265

        18 votes
    2. [4]
      mooseknuckle
      Link Parent
      You informed me here. Is the US tax system a marginal tax bracket?

      You informed me here. Is the US tax system a marginal tax bracket?

      5 votes
      1. gpl
        Link Parent
        Yes, and you can find the current brackets a couple of places, like wikipedia. It indicates the percentage and the portion of income taxed at that rate. This is for personal income tax.

        Yes, and you can find the current brackets a couple of places, like wikipedia. It indicates the percentage and the portion of income taxed at that rate. This is for personal income tax.

        8 votes
  4. [24]
    Cosmos
    Link
    All the hate that nuclear power gets simply because it shares a name with a scary weapon. The two hardly have anything in common, yet so many people seem to think they do. Or the association...

    All the hate that nuclear power gets simply because it shares a name with a scary weapon. The two hardly have anything in common, yet so many people seem to think they do.

    Or the association between modern day nuclear power plants and Chernobyl. That was an incredibly poorly designed plant with hardly any containment to begin with and failed because they were running poorly planned experiments on it. We have learned so much from that disaster and have put in countless measures to make sure nothing like it happens again.

    37 votes
    1. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      Not to mention coal power kills dozens of Chernobyls worth of people a year while working as intended, but it gets a pass because we've just accepted that human sacrifice as the cost of doing...

      Not to mention coal power kills dozens of Chernobyls worth of people a year while working as intended, but it gets a pass because we've just accepted that human sacrifice as the cost of doing business. That's without factoring in future deaths from climate change and using some pretty egregious numbers for Chernobyl, of several thousand casualties. While there's ambiguity because it's difficult to trace cancer deaths back to a specific source, wikipedia has the number of verified casualties of the Chernobyl accident at just 43.

      18 votes
    2. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      It's not just because it has the word "nuclear" in it. For me, it's because it creates waste that's going to be toxic for longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date.

      All the hate that nuclear power gets simply because it shares a name with a scary weapon.

      It's not just because it has the word "nuclear" in it. For me, it's because it creates waste that's going to be toxic for longer than the entire history of human civilisation to date.

      14 votes
    3. [21]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      I would agree with you if it weren't for Fukushima. I don't fault people for not being a nuclear power fan after being told after Chernobyl "no no no, the USSR just cut corners, nuclear is totally...

      I would agree with you if it weren't for Fukushima. I don't fault people for not being a nuclear power fan after being told after Chernobyl "no no no, the USSR just cut corners, nuclear is totally safe now", and then another massive disaster occurring in a country not typically known for cutting corners.

      2 votes
      1. [19]
        alyaza
        Link Parent
        fukushima was also a pretty poorly designed plant for its location, honestly, and like chernobyl its failure has basically nothing to do with nuclear power itself. they built it in a tsunami-prone...

        fukushima was also a pretty poorly designed plant for its location, honestly, and like chernobyl its failure has basically nothing to do with nuclear power itself. they built it in a tsunami-prone place without the sufficient protections to prevent a tsunami from severely damaging the plant because they wrongly assumed that a large tsunami was not possible, and the disaster was kicked off because the tsunami in question which did inundate the plant did so in such a way that even though the plant automatically ceased its fission reactions, the reactors themselves could not be cooled sufficiently because the tsunami took out the plant's emergency generators, eventually leading to meltdowns.

        10 votes
        1. [18]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          I dislike these sorts of arguments, because, you don't evaluate disasters in a vacuum. They include holistic properties like poor design, human error, and so on. Nuclear power is risky precisely...

          fukushima was also a pretty poorly designed plant for its location, honestly, and like chernobyl its failure has basically nothing to do with nuclear power itself.

          I dislike these sorts of arguments, because, you don't evaluate disasters in a vacuum. They include holistic properties like poor design, human error, and so on. Nuclear power is risky precisely because humans are untrustworthy.

          9 votes
          1. [17]
            alyaza
            Link Parent
            this is an incredibly asinine argument, because you can use it to disregard literally anything, including every form of power we currently generate. do you think it isn't inherently risky to...

            Nuclear power is risky precisely because humans are untrustworthy.

            this is an incredibly asinine argument, because you can use it to disregard literally anything, including every form of power we currently generate. do you think it isn't inherently risky to generate power with natural gas or coal given their properties and their pollution, or that wind turbines can't have catastrophic failures that ruin them completely and kill people, or that hydroelectric dams can't collapse and lead to thousands of deaths downstream?

            the idea that we need to disregard things because "humans are untrustworthy" is ridiculous. humans can fuck up and kill each other with all kinds of transportation because they're untrustworthy, but we still use transportation because proportionally, the odds of dying in a traffic accident of any kind are pretty low compared to how much use transportation is to us. the same thing applies to power generation: nuclear power is intensely useful relative to its potential and established failings and the likelihood of such things occurring, and in fact is probably the only way we're ever going to transition to renewable energy in time to prevent the worst effects of climate change, barring radical changes in other renewables. nuclear punches well above its weight class relative to the space it takes up.

            4 votes
            1. [16]
              emdash
              Link Parent
              Please relax, I should be able to voice my opinion on Tildes without being responded to in such an accusatory way. I'm noticing a trend where Tildes is slowly becoming most hostile and this type...

              this is an incredibly asinine argument [...] the idea that we need to disregard things because "humans are untrustworthy" is ridiculous

              Please relax, I should be able to voice my opinion on Tildes without being responded to in such an accusatory way. I'm noticing a trend where Tildes is slowly becoming most hostile and this type of reactionary commentary isn't helping.

              I merely stating nuclear punches well above it's weight class in terms of plausible outcomes when it comes to failure modes. So do dams, but a lot of them are being phased out too; and well, my country has one coal power plant and it's being phased out very soon.

              11 votes
              1. [6]
                alyaza
                Link Parent
                it is possible that i could have worded the first statement better, but i really don't see how calling the notion of disregarding nuclear power simply because people as a collective can be idiots...

                Please relax, I should be able to voice my opinion on Tildes without being responded to in such an accusatory way. I'm noticing a trend where Tildes is slowly becoming most hostile and this type of reactionary commentary isn't helping.

                it is possible that i could have worded the first statement better, but i really don't see how calling the notion of disregarding nuclear power simply because people as a collective can be idiots sometimes ridiculous is particularly hostile. it's just as reactionary, arguably, to condemn nuclear power like that as it is for me to call your argument ridiculous.

                I merely stating nuclear punches well above it's weight class in terms of plausible outcomes when it comes to failure modes. So do dams, but a lot of them are being phased out too; and well, my country has one coal power plant and it's being phased out very soon.

                i am a bit skeptical that there are that many more points of failure with nuclear than coal or natural gas, but i don't know that it really matters because we know the major failings that can occur with nuclear plants, and in general they all boil down to construction errors or placement errors, not issues with the power itself. even then, most of the accidents that have occurred with nuclear power are and were totally preventable. fukushima could have been prevented despite bad placement if they'd simply built a larger seawall, for example.

                moreover, such failures are still incredibly infrequent occurrences, even if you grant that every nuclear power plant has major failing points. there are literally hundreds of current and former nuclear power plants around the world, and yet the number of serious failures between them is in the low double digits even if you are quite generous with what constitutes a serious failure. i'm sure that just as many serious incidents have occurred with coal and natural gas plants if not more, but you don't see people condemning them as incredibly dangerous like we do with nuclear power plants. that's why it's ridiculous to act like nuclear is this big bad thing and that because "humans are untrustworthy" we need to condemn nuclear. at the most, i think you can say can say that nuclear has bigger possibility for serious impact on the environment when major failures occur, but we've had exactly two serious nuclear disasters of that type in the history of nuclear power over thousands of collective years of nuclear power plants running, so.

                3 votes
                1. [5]
                  emdash
                  Link Parent
                  The difference is, I'm kind of sick of finding conversations where I feel like I could contribute something meaningful, if against the grain, and constantly being barraged with accusations of...

                  The difference is, I'm kind of sick of finding conversations where I feel like I could contribute something meaningful, if against the grain, and constantly being barraged with accusations of asininity & ridicule. It's super offputting, and is what put me off Reddit.

                  and in general they all boil down to construction errors or placement errors, not issues with the power itself. even then, most of the accidents that have occurred with nuclear power are and were totally preventable. fukushima could have been prevented despite bad placement if they'd simply built a larger seawall, for example.

                  Yeah, but this is my point. Saying "could've, would've, should've" is pointless, because at the end of the day it happened; and humans are just as fallible as we were before. If there's one constant in corporatocracy, it's that people will always try and cut corners in the name of money; and this is where the paths of the positive technicalities of nuclear power collide with the negative fungible realities of money & human error, oversight, and regulatory capture.

                  So yes, those things should be considered when we consider the safety of nuclear power, because holistically, it's built for humans, by humans. Which circles back to my, in my view, entirely legitimate complaint that nuclear power is considered risky because it has high downsides.

                  I trust nuclear power as a source. I don't trust humans or corporates to design, build, or run them.

                  11 votes
                  1. [4]
                    alyaza
                    Link Parent
                    then that's a you thing, ultimately. given that there are currently about 450 reactors online at any given time in the world right now and next to none of them have issues with safety and often...

                    I trust nuclear power as a source. I don't trust humans or corporates to design, build, or run them.

                    then that's a you thing, ultimately. given that there are currently about 450 reactors online at any given time in the world right now and next to none of them have issues with safety and often have overrun costs just so they can meet the necessary safety guidelines, i think i'll take my chances, especially given that nuclear is really the only form of power currently available to us that is compact in size taken up, able to produce large amounts of power, and generally lacking in environmental impact.

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      emdash
                      Link Parent
                      Well, no, it's a thing a lot of people generally believe. I'm one of many. So trying to make my opinion look like a one-off isn't appreciated. My voice should be heard just as much as yours on...

                      then that's a you thing, ultimately.

                      Well, no, it's a thing a lot of people generally believe. I'm one of many. So trying to make my opinion look like a one-off isn't appreciated. My voice should be heard just as much as yours on this specific topic; after all this is a discussion board :) I generally believe all of this will be moot in a decade or two regardless, new nuclear power is financially unviable already; and solar, wind, & batteries continue to drop in cost. So hopefully this discussion won't even be needed to be had by 2030.

                      3 votes
                      1. [2]
                        alyaza
                        Link Parent
                        err... that's actually why it's a you thing. that's your personal opinion for why that is the case on this discussion board. we're not the general public, and just as i don't speak for all the...

                        My voice should be heard just as much as yours on this specific topic; after all this is a discussion board :)

                        err... that's actually why it's a you thing. that's your personal opinion for why that is the case on this discussion board. we're not the general public, and just as i don't speak for all the people who "like" nuclear i doubt you speak for all the people who think nuclear is bad.

                        I generally believe all of this will be moot in a decade or two regardless, new nuclear power is financially unviable already; and solar, wind, & batteries continue to drop in cost. So hopefully this discussion won't even be needed to be had by 2030.

                        this is unlikely, for one particularly glaring reason that i've mentioned in this chain before: both solar and wind are ghastly inefficient at power production relative to the space they both take up, especially when you compare it to nuclear power:

                        • this is what a solar farm that produces 580MW of power looks like and the space it takes up.
                        • this is what a wind farm that produces 1.5 GW looks like and how much space it takes up.
                        • this is what a nuclear power plant that produces 2.2GW looks like and how much space it takes up.

                        it's unlikely that we'll see this miraculously change in the next 12 years, unless they get orders of magnitude more efficient. solar is at least better than wind in this respect because you can at least have things like microgrids, but just in general neither of them can sniff the sort of efficiency relative to space taken up that a nuclear power plant can, and you also can't plop either of them anywhere. solar can only be used where there's lots of sun unless you supplement it with another form of energy or make extensive use of batteries, and wind obviously mostly relies on wind which, while more universal, still has places where it'd be much more efficient and places where it'd be much less. obviously, you don't have that kind of issue with a nuclear power plant.

                        also, just to provide some numbers which demonstrate how much more nuclear reactors can provide relative to their size: just the 99 commercial nuclear reactors in the US produce a fifth of the energy. there are hundreds of major and significant wind farms in the US, and a similar number of major and minor solar power plants in the US--but statistics suggest that neither of those even produces enough to currently overtake hydropower for the largest sector of renewable energy in the US (although it's close and they will probably overtake them in the next few years if it hasn't happened already); renewables combined as a sum only produce about 15% of the energy of the US. even with explosive growth and increasing efficiency, renewables as a whole are probably not even going to overtake nuclear power until 2030 at the earliest, much less provide the energy needed to begin making a large dent in the hegemony of natural gas and coal.

                        also, new reactors are still being built pretty much everywhere even as others are decommissioned or cancelled, so... yeah.

                        2 votes
                        1. emdash
                          Link Parent
                          Wind is generally colocated very successfully with agriculture & farming, so these "space calculations" are honestly a bit specious; even solar has been successfully colocated with agriculture....

                          Wind is generally colocated very successfully with agriculture & farming, so these "space calculations" are honestly a bit specious; even solar has been successfully colocated with agriculture. Also that nuclear power image doesn't show the land taken up by the mining for its resource consumption.

                          Is there any big reason we're interested in power density over cost/kWh here? Most optimizations for power generation are about the finances associated with the generation method and not land use; and that's why solar & power are winning out and nuclear will continue to slump or stagnate.

                          1 vote
              2. [9]
                spctrvl
                Link Parent
                Does it though? Wikipedia has nuclear as by far the safest means of power production, even beating out wind and solar, and a once in a generation nuclear "disaster" kills at worst about as many...

                I merely stating nuclear punches well above it's weight class in terms of plausible outcomes when it comes to failure modes.

                Does it though? Wikipedia has nuclear as by far the safest means of power production, even beating out wind and solar, and a once in a generation nuclear "disaster" kills at worst about as many people as coal does in every hour of every day. Without taking climate change into account.

                2 votes
                1. [8]
                  emdash
                  Link Parent
                  Well, my specific comment pertained to plausible outcomes, not historical data. There could be a nuclear catastrophe in France tomorrow. There probably won't be, though. Coal is being phased out...

                  Well, my specific comment pertained to plausible outcomes, not historical data. There could be a nuclear catastrophe in France tomorrow. There probably won't be, though. Coal is being phased out anyway, so it shouldn't be used as a benchmark, in my opinion.

                  1. [7]
                    spctrvl
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    There could be, but the point I'm trying to make is that even the absolute worst case nuclear disaster that was Chernobyl only had 43 confirmed casualties, and with modern reactor designs and...

                    There could be, but the point I'm trying to make is that even the absolute worst case nuclear disaster that was Chernobyl only had 43 confirmed casualties, and with modern reactor designs and safety protocols, that's not exactly a plausible outcome. Nuclear power is far and away the safest energy source we currently have access to, even natural gas kills thousands annually, and that's what's replacing coal for the most part. And again, all that isn't taking into account however many millions of deaths there are going to be from climate change as a direct result of continued use of fossil fuels.

                    2 votes
                    1. [6]
                      emdash
                      Link Parent
                      The aviation industry had a modern plane design, with modern safety protocols. It's name was the Boeing 737 Max. It caused over 300 fatalities within a few years of its maiden flight. I will say,...

                      There could be, but the point I'm trying to make is that even the absolute worst case nuclear disaster that was Chernobyl only had 43 confirmed casualties, and with modern reactor designs and safety protocols, that's not exactly a plausible outcome.

                      The aviation industry had a modern plane design, with modern safety protocols. It's name was the Boeing 737 Max. It caused over 300 fatalities within a few years of its maiden flight. I will say, at least aviation crashes can be cleared up and don't leave entire areas evacuated & irradiated, necessitating billions of dollars of environmental cleanup over decades.

                      1. [4]
                        spctrvl
                        Link Parent
                        I think you've missed my point. Chernobyl is the only nuclear power plant failure to even break single digits in death toll, even if you take that as a "plausible outcome" (which you absolutely...

                        I think you've missed my point. Chernobyl is the only nuclear power plant failure to even break single digits in death toll, even if you take that as a "plausible outcome" (which you absolutely should not), and we had a Chernobyl every decade, nuclear would still be the safest mode of power production, and it wouldn't be close.

                        I will say, at least aviation crashes can be cleared up and don't leave entire areas evacuated & irradiated, necessitating billions of dollars of environmental cleanup over decades.

                        At least nuclear meltdowns don't destroy entire planetary biospheres, necessitating trillions of dollars of environmental cleanup over centuries. Hell, fossil fuel plants don't even need to fail to do that, that's just how they work.

                        1 vote
                        1. [3]
                          emdash
                          Link Parent
                          This is why we're building out solar & wind :)

                          At least nuclear meltdowns don't destroy entire planetary biospheres, necessitating trillions of dollars of environmental cleanup over centuries.

                          This is why we're building out solar & wind :)

                          1. [2]
                            spctrvl
                            Link Parent
                            Keep in mind though that behind every solar or wind farm is a natural gas turbine waiting to fire up, and making enough batteries to make those obsolete is going to be an expensive, time...

                            Keep in mind though that behind every solar or wind farm is a natural gas turbine waiting to fire up, and making enough batteries to make those obsolete is going to be an expensive, time consuming, and carbon intensive process compared to just building nuclear reactors. IMO the best alternative we have to nuclear power, and the one we should ultimately be using in the long run, is space based solar. You get around basically all of the issues of ground based solar, you don't deplete non-renewable (if abundant) fission fuel, and it's actually starting to dip into the realm of economic viability with the latest generation of rockets.

                            1 vote
                            1. emdash
                              Link Parent
                              True, but I'm interested in rate of change, not current stasis. It's very clear there's lots of money being placed into batteries, and with economies of scale making electric vehicles cheaper, it...

                              Keep in mind though that behind every solar or wind farm is a natural gas turbine waiting to fire up

                              True, but I'm interested in rate of change, not current stasis. It's very clear there's lots of money being placed into batteries, and with economies of scale making electric vehicles cheaper, it will simultaneously make batteries for grid consumption cheaper too. Grid batteries are being installed right now. Meanwhile, what exactly is happening that indicates nuclear power is in a resurgence in the western world? Apart from a few failed nuclear power plants with massive potentially taxpayer-bailed-out cost overruns?

                              Tesla's colocated battery in South Australia shows the true advantage of dispatchable power: it's far quicker than a natural gas peaker, and continues to be more cost effective than a natural gas peaker too.

                      2. Greg
                        Link Parent
                        Boeing broke rules, people were harmed or killed, and they are being investigated for it. Yet we don't abandon air travel as a whole. I mentioned this elsewhere but I think it's relevant here too:...

                        The aviation industry had a modern plane design, with modern safety protocols. It's name was the Boeing 737 Max. It caused over 300 fatalities within a few years of its maiden flight.

                        Boeing broke rules, people were harmed or killed, and they are being investigated for it. Yet we don't abandon air travel as a whole.

                        I will say, at least aviation crashes can be cleared up and don't leave entire areas evacuated & irradiated, necessitating billions of dollars of environmental cleanup over decades.

                        I mentioned this elsewhere but I think it's relevant here too: research suggests most of those evacuations shouldn't have happened and probably did more harm than good.

                        I'm all for renewables too, I think they are the future and I probably have more faith in them than many people do, but I'm frustrated that nuclear hasn't been given a fair hearing on facts and merit over the last 40 years or so when it could have made a significant difference to emissions.

                        1 vote
      2. Greg
        Link Parent
        I'd suggest that Fukushima is actually a good example of just how safe modern nuclear power really is. In the context of a tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people, there were zero deaths...

        I'd suggest that Fukushima is actually a good example of just how safe modern nuclear power really is. In the context of a tsunami that killed almost 16,000 people, there were zero deaths attributed to radiation exposure.

        The long term estimates suggest the potential for several hundred additional cancer deaths; while any death is a tragedy, that's the result of an extreme case nuclear incident and should be viewed in comparison to the much higher figures even for a normally operating coal plant.

        There's serious research to suggest that the biggest negative health impact was the evacuation itself. It may literally be the case that the fear of nuclear power is more dangerous than the nuclear power itself.

        8 votes
  5. [3]
    Flelk
    (edited )
    Link
    Pedant bait? Okay, I'll bite - we do NOT use only 10% of our brains. Only a portion of the neurons in the brain are active in any one instant because that's how brains work. - neurons fire in...

    Pedant bait? Okay, I'll bite - we do NOT use only 10% of our brains. Only a portion of the neurons in the brain are active in any one instant because that's how brains work. - neurons fire in sequences to transmit information through a large-scale network. If they all fired at once, you'd have a seizure and die.

    30 votes
    1. Amarok
      Link Parent
      Add that right-vs-left brain nonsense to the list. There are a few minor differences, but anyone missing either hemisphere can go on to live a pretty normal life. There's a staggering amount of...

      Add that right-vs-left brain nonsense to the list. There are a few minor differences, but anyone missing either hemisphere can go on to live a pretty normal life. There's a staggering amount of redundancy built into that machine.

      13 votes
    2. firstname
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      tell that to my brain when i have a manic episode, damn brain don´t even know how it should work -_- I take two types of antileptica(anti seizure for treating epilepsy) medications to prevent it...

      tell that to my brain when i have a manic episode, damn brain don´t even know how it should work -_-

      I take two types of antileptica(anti seizure for treating epilepsy) medications to prevent it to not go haywire and do more then it should do(or as you put it, transmit more information then it should), i guess we are the exception to this. It´s kind of what the illness is. At least part of it.

      If anyone wonders what it feels like i can give you an example how it affects my memory and "inspiration", or perhaps "creativity", during an episode, it´s quite interesting.

      Lets say a friend tells you a funny joke, you can get this mental image, or draw a connection to a movie you saw that had a similar joke. You counter the joke with telling your friend about that similar joke in that movie you once saw, and you both laugh about the connection.

      Imagine you making that connection, then one more, then two more. And then more connections after that in rapid succession, like a "mind map" that just continues to make connections to a point where you get confused what you are even thinking about. So instead of me telling my friend about that funny movie, which was the initial connection, i end up talking about some entirely different subject in my friends eyes, while it makes total sense to me. Forced often non coherent talk is one of the symptoms.

      This might be a bit off topic, then again, i do experience what happens if we "use more then what the brain should use". And i think the explanation i have come up with is something others can relate to.

      4 votes
  6. [3]
    Dovey
    Link
    My hometown has a claim to fame for having been a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad. You'd be surprised how many people think that was an actual railroad. Someone will point out a...

    My hometown has a claim to fame for having been a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad. You'd be surprised how many people think that was an actual railroad. Someone will point out a building where slaves could find assistance, and the person learning about it will say, "But where did the tracks run? Was it in the basement?" So, for anyone unfamiliar, the Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses and people who would help escaped American slaves find their way north to freedom, but no actual trains were involved.

    23 votes
    1. [2]
      nic
      Link Parent
      The correct answer is "of course the tracks were in the basement you dingus, why do you think they called it an underground railroad."

      "But where did the tracks run? Was it in the basement?"

      The correct answer is "of course the tracks were in the basement you dingus, why do you think they called it an underground railroad."

      13 votes
      1. Cosmos
        Link Parent
        And the southern terminus is in the basement of the Alamo.

        And the southern terminus is in the basement of the Alamo.

        1 vote
  7. [23]
    suspended
    Link
    Science cannot and will not provide the answers to everything.

    Science cannot and will not provide the answers to everything.

    21 votes
    1. [13]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Of course not. This is the old "ought/is" problem: science can only tell you what is, not what you ought to do. Science can tell you that firing a projectile at a high enough speed will cause...

      Of course not.

      This is the old "ought/is" problem: science can only tell you what is, not what you ought to do. Science can tell you that firing a projectile at a high enough speed will cause damage to human flesh. It won't tell you whether you ought to shoot someone or not.

      Science is only about facts, not about ethics.

      14 votes
      1. [6]
        gpl
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        You are correct that science falls short in the realm of ethics, but your comment actually suggests another area where science is inadequate: namely, in answering questions about itself. The claim...

        You are correct that science falls short in the realm of ethics, but your comment actually suggests another area where science is inadequate: namely, in answering questions about itself. The claim that “science is about facts” is, as best as I can interpret it, an endorsement of scientific realism. The key claim here of course is that science is saying something true about the universe as it really is and that the objects referred to by scientific theories are real objects in and of themselves. While somewhat intuitive, this need not be the case and is certainly not self evident upon further reflection. The closest science does come to addressing this doesn’t clear things up much, and might actually suggest that things are not ‘real’ in between observations.

        None of this is to mention the fact that science can’t adequately explain why it even seems to work so well, or even if there is a sharp line between science and not-science. So I agree that science falls short in ethics, but the claim that ‘science is about facts’ is laden with a whole host of metaphysical, ontological, and epistemological assumptions that aren’t justifiable within science.

        9 votes
        1. [3]
          Amarok
          Link Parent
          A better way to put it is that science is only concerned with one thing - the mechanisms of reality. It can tell you all about the 'how', but nothing at all about the 'why.' You'll have to infer...

          A better way to put it is that science is only concerned with one thing - the mechanisms of reality. It can tell you all about the 'how', but nothing at all about the 'why.' You'll have to infer that for yourself. ;)

          5 votes
          1. gpl
            Link Parent
            This is actually not quite my point. To say that science is about "the mechanisms of reality" is to take a particular philosophical stance that need not be true (although many people rationally...

            This is actually not quite my point. To say that science is about "the mechanisms of reality" is to take a particular philosophical stance that need not be true (although many people rationally take it. I think I myself probably subscribe to it). There are anti-realist positions however that are completely agnostic as to the underlying reality of the entities described by scientific theories. Take instrumentalism for example, which judges theories on how well they explain phenomena only and doesn't assert that the entities described therein (electrons, fields, etc) are actually 'real'. My point above is that figuring out which position to take is fundamentally a non-scientific question so that there is at least one other class of questions beyond ethical ones that is not the object of science.

            Of course, if you take an anti-realist position, and you consider a) "answering" a question about something to mean gaining knowledge about that thing and b) that science is a tool to gain knowledge about its objects, then you would conclude that there are many things that science does not give you true knowledge of.

            6 votes
          2. psi
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I think what @gpl is getting at, to summarize their point, is that science is only concerned with predictions. The actual mechanisms we use to describe the world (eg, the electromagnetic force is...

            I think what @gpl is getting at, to summarize their point, is that science is only concerned with predictions. The actual mechanisms we use to describe the world (eg, the electromagnetic force is mediated by the exchange of virtual photons) provide a helpful picture for making predictions, but the mechanisms underlying reality don't necessarily need to match the mechanisms described in our models (after all, nobody's ever seen a virtual particle). Our scientific descriptions of processes may only be analogous to how reality truly operates.

            5 votes
        2. [2]
          psi
          Link Parent
          Yes! I'd like to reiterate this point because I think it's the most interesting part of the discussion. For the most part, science creates models which allow for predictions. However, a model is...

          The closest science does come to addressing this doesn’t clear things up much, and might actually suggest that things are not ‘real’ in between observations.

          Yes! I'd like to reiterate this point because I think it's the most interesting part of the discussion. For the most part, science creates models which allow for predictions. However, a model is not the same as how or why something works -- it's a description of how/why the model works, and we hope that whatever we're studying is well approximated by the model.

          The exception here is Bell's theorem, as you linked in your post. Per the wiki article:

          Lawrence Berkeley particle physicist Henry Stapp declared: "Bell's theorem is the most profound discovery of science."

          The reason for such a seemingly hyperbolic statement is that Bell's theorem seems to say something fundamental about how the universe actually is: quantum mechanics is incompatible with local realism, despite local realism being the assumption under which people operate. The consequence of Bell's theorem is that we must either reject localism (that the speed of light is the maximum speed at which information can propagate, and consequently, that effects can't happen before causes) or reject realism (crudely, that things exist when we aren't measuring them; or as Einstein once incredulously put it: does the moon really only exist when you're looking?). Any interpretation of quantum mechanics (and therefore any interpration of how the world works) must address this issue of non-locality vs anti-realism.

          2 votes
          1. gpl
            Link Parent
            Just to appreciate the point a bit more explicitly: The model has some objects and provides a description/explanation of how that object behaves. We typically assume that these objects refer to...

            Just to appreciate the point a bit more explicitly:

            For the most part, science creates models which allow for predictions. However, a model is not the same as how or why something works -- it's a description of how/why the model works, and we hope that whatever we're studying is well approximated by the model.

            The model has some objects and provides a description/explanation of how that object behaves. We typically assume that these objects refer to something that corresponds to a part of the world as it actually is, but this need not be the case. Science works, but its a bit of a miracle that it actually does. I'm not sure if this clarified things at all since you already made this point quite clearly.

            For anyone that is curious about Bell's theorem and has a little bit of a mathematical background, check out this article by David Mermin.

            The overall point of course is that questions about science (does it refer to actually existing things? Is scientific reasoning well founded? Is there even such a thing as a 'scientific method') are inherently non-scientific.

            2 votes
      2. [6]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        Nor about other human abilities such as intuition. I believe there are forgotten abilities that were once very powerful and normal inside our everyday experiences. Similar to the cliche of a 'lost...

        Science is only about facts, not about ethics.

        Nor about other human abilities such as intuition.

        I believe there are forgotten abilities that were once very powerful and normal inside our everyday experiences. Similar to the cliche of a 'lost art'.

        I remember having experiences, as a child, that were just as real as any of the senses that were being taught in school. But it was hard to talk about them since no one seemed to care with the exception of my mother. Even then, she was taking the role of a comforter and these things never went anywhere outside of this paradigm.

        3 votes
        1. Greg
          Link Parent
          It almost sounds like you're touching on another misconception here: the idea that science is constrained by what we currently know or understand to be true. Just because everything we have...

          I believe there are forgotten abilities that were once very powerful and normal inside our everyday experiences. Similar to the cliche of a 'lost art'.

          It almost sounds like you're touching on another misconception here: the idea that science is constrained by what we currently know or understand to be true. Just because everything we have discovered using the scientific method suggests something is impossible doesn't mean that thing exists outside or beyond science. Most scientists would love to find repeatable evidence for something that's truly inexplicable by the current state of human knowledge.

          Science just boils down to "hypothesise, test, repeat" - and you've already started on that path by positing that humans have powerful forgotten abilities. The next step would be refining that into something specific enough to be falsifiable, and then designing an experimental setup and testing it.

          12 votes
        2. [4]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Intuition is just neuroscience. It's the brain making connections between different items of data that it has stored, and then raising those connections to the level of consciousness. Why do you...

          Nor about other human abilities such as intuition.

          Intuition is just neuroscience. It's the brain making connections between different items of data that it has stored, and then raising those connections to the level of consciousness.

          I believe there are forgotten abilities that were once very powerful and normal inside our everyday experiences.

          Why do you believe this? What are these forgotten abilities?

          8 votes
          1. [3]
            suspended
            Link Parent
            The first sentence of the Wikipedia article is much more accurate in my experience. I had experienced so many inexplicable things as a child (roughly 30-40 years ago) so it's difficult to recall,...

            Intuition is just neuroscience. It's the brain making connections between different items of data that it has stored, and then raising those connections to the level of consciousness.

            The first sentence of the Wikipedia article is much more accurate in my experience.

            Why do you believe this?

            I had experienced so many inexplicable things as a child (roughly 30-40 years ago) so it's difficult to recall, precisely, everything.

            The one experience that is most clear in my memory is lying in bed ill. I don't recall what exactly was ailing me. It, probably, was a run of the mill virus since I had a mild fever. I remember lying in bed, and I don't know how or why I had decided to do what I was about to do but I just did it. I can still do it today. Starting with an extremity (hand, head, foot, etc), I can begin a process of tingle sensations with painlessness. I can then move this tingle-painlessness from my extremities into the rest of my body. At first attempts at this, it was scary and I thought that I may die somehow so I didn't practice it often.

            TL;DR The longest period of time that I've held my self (my entire body) in this state was approximately 30-45 seconds. It still makes me uneasy when I do it.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              And the second sentence of that article goes on to explain that "Different writers give the word 'intuition' a great variety of different meanings, ranging from direct access to unconscious...

              Intuition is just neuroscience. It's the brain making connections between different items of data that it has stored, and then raising those connections to the level of consciousness.

              The first sentence of the Wikipedia article is much more accurate in my experience.

              And the second sentence of that article goes on to explain that "Different writers give the word 'intuition' a great variety of different meanings, ranging from direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition and the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning." - which is pretty much what I said. It's not gaining knowledge from outside of oneself, it's realising something from within. It's making connections ("pattern-recognition") between unremembered data ("unconscious knowledge") without conscious effort ("unconscious cognition").

              Starting with an extremity (hand, head, foot, etc), I can begin a process of tingle sensations with painlessness. I can then move this tingle-painlessness from my extremities into the rest of my body.

              There have been scientific studies which show that the brain can change bodily sensations. The connection between nerves and neurons isn't just one-way. Alternatively, one can induce a state of mind which overrides incoming pain sensations, through something like meditation. It sounds like you're tapping into this neuronal ability. It would be nice if we had more information about, and control over, this two-way communication between brain and body. We can only wait and see what neuroscientists discover over the coming years and decades.

              5 votes
              1. suspended
                Link Parent
                I'd be willing to go 'under the microscope' about this but I don't know who to reach out to.

                It sounds like you're tapping into this neuronal ability. It would be nice if we had more information about, and control over, this two-way communication between brain and body.

                I'd be willing to go 'under the microscope' about this but I don't know who to reach out to.

                3 votes
    2. [4]
      firstname
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I have a friend(we game together) that works within science, particle physics in particular, who has done courses on how to explain science to those not within its field. This is an amazing...

      I have a friend(we game together) that works within science, particle physics in particular, who has done courses on how to explain science to those not within its field. This is an amazing opportunity for myself since he encourages me to ask whatever i want, even if it would be basic math. He just loves to teach.

      He once said something that stuck with me, and i do not quote, this was a long time ago. He said that science is not proving something as fact, it´s about trying to disprove something, and that is what scientists do. They try and come as close to the facts by disproving each other.

      This is partly what makes science beautiful to me, there are no final answers, there are just more questions.

      In a more philosophical, personal way, that means that almost anything is possible, we have been terribly wrong about many things before, why not today? It keeps some wonder in the world even though i am a man of science rather then religion.

      8 votes
      1. [3]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        I wake up every day wrapped in mystery and I wouldn't want it any other way. I should have been more clear in my original comment. What I am addressing is the large percentage of people who don't...

        I wake up every day wrapped in mystery and I wouldn't want it any other way. I should have been more clear in my original comment. What I am addressing is the large percentage of people who don't understand what you just stated and then use their version of science to push an agenda. These same people will, also, hand wave off any attempt at a rational conversation about it. So, thanks for clearing up my original comment.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          firstname
          Link Parent
          I understood exactly what you meant, and i also understand your frustration trying to keep a conversation going with someone with a closed mind like that. I´m happy if someone changes my mind...

          I understood exactly what you meant, and i also understand your frustration trying to keep a conversation going with someone with a closed mind like that.

          I´m happy if someone changes my mind about anything, that means i have learnt something new. At the same time, i can be stubborn in my beliefs even though i am open minded. Although, it´s quite clear to me when someone knows more then me about the topic at hand, then the stubbornness resides quite quickly.

          I think a lot of people can find it hard to discuss things with me even though i have an open mind at times. I often try and disprove what others say and can come off a bit like a jerk that way. While others, not nearly as many, enjoy´s that type of discussion, or should i say, discussion.

          side note, i need to look up what discussion really is, and work on my people skills, and perhaps not discuss everything all the time :P

          3 votes
          1. suspended
            Link Parent
            😛

            i need to look up what discussion really is, and work on my people skills, and perhaps not discuss everything all the time :P

            😛

            1 vote
    3. [5]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      It's a damning statement on the level of public scientific literacy, particularly in the US, that this is any sort of contention. Just about any scientist worth the name will attest to the...

      It's a damning statement on the level of public scientific literacy, particularly in the US, that this is any sort of contention. Just about any scientist worth the name will attest to the uncertainty of knowledge.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        gpl
        Link Parent
        I actually think the general population in the US would be willing to accept that there are limits on science, but mainly out of religious reasoning & motivation. I think the bigger 'issue' in...

        I actually think the general population in the US would be willing to accept that there are limits on science, but mainly out of religious reasoning & motivation. I think the bigger 'issue' in this regard is the prevalence of the view on the Internet that science is some objective lens through which we uncover 'reality'. Anecdotally this view is usually a reaction to religious thought for good or ill, and doesn't really allow for any serious questioning of the philosophical grounding for scientific reasoning. This is the type of thing you hear people like Bill Nye or NdGT spouting off, often wrapping religion up with philosophy and tossing them both out the window without much critical thought. If these are your science educators, it's no wonder that their audience assumes science spits out indisputable facts about reality and nothing else is needed to gain knowledge about the world.

        None of this is to imply that science doesn't work, because the progress of the last few hundred years is evidence to the contrary. But if we want to seriously say we are 'discovering facts about reality', we need some serious thought to back up that claim.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          culturedleftfoot
          Link Parent
          Isn't that a result of them intentionally (over-)simplifying/dumbing things down for the intended audience though? Which is again an indictment of prevailing attitudes. Admittedly, I haven't...

          Isn't that a result of them intentionally (over-)simplifying/dumbing things down for the intended audience though? Which is again an indictment of prevailing attitudes. Admittedly, I haven't really listened to Bill Nye in years and I only catch snippets of dGT here and there, so I've missed most of the recent criticism of them, but nuance on the whole doesn't seem to sell well these days.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            gpl
            Link Parent
            It is an it isn't. It's one thing to simplify matters while still acknowledging they're simplified. That's complete okay in my opinion and necessary if you want any hope of conveying these ideas...

            It is an it isn't. It's one thing to simplify matters while still acknowledging they're simplified. That's complete okay in my opinion and necessary if you want any hope of conveying these ideas in whatever pop format is being used. But ironing out nuance doesn't necessitate outright and explicit dismissal of these philosophical issues, which both Nye and dGT often do. I'm fine if you gloss over things in an effort to cover the material, but you shouldn't then dismiss these things when you do have an opportunity to address them, like in response to a question from the audience or what have you.

            To be honest, I don't really blame them that much as they are the product of a system which did not incentivize a nuanced look at these things for many years. "Shut up and calculate" was the prevailing motto for the US physics community for a few decades at least, and I really feel that only recently have we seen more acceptance from scientists of the need for a rigorous philosophical account of science if hope to claim we are 'discovering reality' through its application. That a given physics student, for example, can get an undergraduate degree without taking a one semester philosophy of science class is an issue to me.

            1 vote
            1. culturedleftfoot
              Link Parent
              Hm, OK. I agree re: philosophy, and that really should be across the board, IMO. Imagine how current and future ethical dilemmas in tech could be handled if everyone in Silicon Valley, and...

              Hm, OK. I agree re: philosophy, and that really should be across the board, IMO. Imagine how current and future ethical dilemmas in tech could be handled if everyone in Silicon Valley, and government, for that matter, had a minimum of two philosophy courses.

              2 votes
  8. [4]
    Heichou
    Link
    Tourette's Syndrome isn't actually just spouting obscenities at random intervals. That's a rare symptom called coprolalia. Tourette's is, primarily, a condition in which the movement center of...

    Tourette's Syndrome isn't actually just spouting obscenities at random intervals. That's a rare symptom called coprolalia. Tourette's is, primarily, a condition in which the movement center of your brain is slightly off, and misfires randomly, prompting you to perform certain actions that your brain decides to retain with no real reason/criteria. Movements like rolling your eyes, cracking your knuckles/neck, opening your mouth very wide, coughing repeatedly for no reason, sharp exhales/inhales are all examples of possible tics, and these are done many, many times a day. Some are even sequences of actions! Coprolalia is a rare form of Tourette's, and you'll likely meet somebody with motor tics before you meet someone with coprolalia. Iirc, South Park "popularized" Tourette's and a lot of people's ideas of it are formed due to that episode.

    20 votes
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is a major problem with all sorts of mental health issues. Movies and TV fixate on showing extreme or caricatured versions of them that don't necessarily have much basis in reality, and since...

      This is a major problem with all sorts of mental health issues. Movies and TV fixate on showing extreme or caricatured versions of them that don't necessarily have much basis in reality, and since people often don't have any exposure to them except through media, the media depiction becomes what everyone believes that condition is like. This is a video about it that's quite good (though long and fairly slow-paced): How Pop Culture Hurts the Mentally Ill

      14 votes
    2. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      I'll absolutely second this. I have a family member with a tic disorder and had a college friend who had Tourette's. The misconception that it's just swearwords is both pervasive and demeaning. In...

      I'll absolutely second this. I have a family member with a tic disorder and had a college friend who had Tourette's. The misconception that it's just swearwords is both pervasive and demeaning.

      In addition to South Park's influence, there was a viral internet video star back in the mid-2000s by the name of "Tourette's Guy" who likely contributed to the misconception as well.

      9 votes
      1. Heichou
        Link Parent
        Tourette's Guy absolutely contributed to the misconception but I still found it extremely hilarious growing up haha. Wasn't what I experienced but it was neat, to me, to show people that as a...

        Tourette's Guy absolutely contributed to the misconception but I still found it extremely hilarious growing up haha. Wasn't what I experienced but it was neat, to me, to show people that as a stepping point to then teach them the forn I had

        6 votes
  9. [3]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Rigorous reasoning doesn't mean being 100% sure of everything 100% of the time, nor does science or philosophy requires every single concept to be as precise as an Euclidean proof. If there were...

    Rigorous reasoning doesn't mean being 100% sure of everything 100% of the time, nor does science or philosophy requires every single concept to be as precise as an Euclidean proof. If there were no uncertainty in exact sciences mathematicians would never disagree — and you better believe they do!

    In other words, reality is extremely complex and the fact that we cannot get it right on the first try is not an excuse to completely devalue rational thought as a means to ascertain the truth of our statements according to actual states of things.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      Thank you for putting it like that. This is why I'm against caveating almost-certain statements. If every statement has some uncertainty about it, adding a caveat to a 99.999% certainty is just...

      Thank you for putting it like that. This is why I'm against caveating almost-certain statements. If every statement has some uncertainty about it, adding a caveat to a 99.999% certainty is just confusing.

      5 votes
  10. [6]
    gpl
    Link
    In the realm of physics: Wave function collapse, to the extent it is a useful interpretation, does not rely on a conscious observer. More generally, ‘observation’ in QM doesn’t imply...

    In the realm of physics:

    • Wave function collapse, to the extent it is a useful interpretation, does not rely on a conscious observer. More generally, ‘observation’ in QM doesn’t imply consciousness.

    • Entangled particles cannot be used to communicate information faster than the speed of light.

    • Theories about holography (“the universe is a hologram”) are usually built on models that look nothing like our universe and may very likely not apply here.

    • The Big Bang and inflationary cosmology don’t actually offer physical accounts of ‘why there is something rather than nothing’ contrary to some pop sci books explaining how we get a universe from nothing.

    Other domains of knowledge:

    • Cosmological ‘proofs’ of the existence of a god do not rely on all movement through physical space, but rather the transition from Aristotelian potentiality to actuality.

    • It’s an ATM, not an ATM machine.

    18 votes
    1. aymm
      Link Parent
      Ah, good old RAS Syndrome

      Ah, good old RAS Syndrome

      8 votes
    2. [2]
      MeMeBebop
      Link Parent
      Would you be able to go into more detail about the first two? Namely, what does "observation" mean in quantum mechanics and why can't entangled particles be used to communicate faster than light?...

      Would you be able to go into more detail about the first two? Namely, what does "observation" mean in quantum mechanics and why can't entangled particles be used to communicate faster than light? I'm interested in knowing more.

      4 votes
      1. gpl
        Link Parent
        Apologies for the late response, and I apologize that I'm not able to go into great detail as I am afraid of getting things wrong. I will do my best however. The first point, regarding...

        Apologies for the late response, and I apologize that I'm not able to go into great detail as I am afraid of getting things wrong. I will do my best however.

        The first point, regarding observation, is in my opinion the thornier one. The Copenhagen interpretation of QM postulates that after an 'observation', the wavefunction of a system collapses into some state. It doesn't however offer any details about what constitutes a measurement (N.B. up until this point I was saying observation, but I really meant measurement and I'm not sure if there is really a distinction between the two). This of course poses some difficult roadbloacks to any earnest attempt at interpreting the theory. Why are 'measurements' privileged in the sense that they cause a wave function collapse, but other non-measurement interactions that the system might undergo don't? The Copenhagen interpretation is not clear.

        The issue seems to be that the Copenhagen interpretation treats the measurement device (whether its your eyes, a camera, a voltage sensor, a phosphorescent screen, etc) as a classical object and the system being measured as a quantum one. What is the line between a classical and quantum system? As far as I know (and other users should correct me if I am wrong), there is no firm line and the question itself is up in the air. A proper account of the measurement process would treat both the measurer and measured as quantum objects interacting with each other and their environment. Accounts that use decoherence to understand the measurement process attempt to do this: in these theories, the observer and observed system are also interacting (i.e. coupled with) the environment, and information passes from the system to the environment. Unfortunately, I can't explain it much better than this since I don't understand it much better than this (without delving into the math).

        Now, the second question regarding (not) using quantum entanglement for communication is a bit more concrete. Entanglement is a property of quantum systems that essentially (this is all a bit handwavey without introducing some math) means that you cannot completely describe a small portion of a system without reference to the system as a whole, if the system is entangled. Imagine your system is two particles with this 'entangled' property, A and B, and we would like to describe a 'small portion' of this system, the particle B. Since they are entangled, we would not be able to describe completely particle B without reference or knowledge of particle A. Another way of saying this is that there exists correlations between the states of particle A and particle B.

        Here is a rough, rough classical analogy. Say you have two rubber balls, red and blue. You close your eyes and put each into a bag, and give a bag to Alice and Bob who then get in spaceships and fly to opposite ends of the galaxy. Now, Alice opens her bag and see she has a red ball. Because there exists a correlation between the colors of their rubber balls (whenever Alice has blue, Bob has red, and vice versa), it might seem like information about Bob's ball color has instantly traveled to Alice, faster than a light signal from Bob to her might travel. I say this is a rough analogy because it is missing the key feature that makes quantum entanglement so weird. In the classical example, each ball had a definite state before the bags were opened, even though Alice and Bob did not have knowledge of those states. In the quantum example, the same cannot be said - the balls only assume a state upon observation (see first part of this post) when their wave function collapses. Because they are entangled, collapsing the wave function of one ball (picture it as a particle now) instantly collapses the wave function of the other, regardless of how far apart they are, since they are in some sense one system and described by one wavefunction. So for these quantum balls, before they are observed they each in a superposition of red and blue ("both red and blue at once"), but as soon as one is observed they each instantly assume a definite color (when Alice's is blue, Bob's is red).

        You might at this point think that you could be clever and devise a way to use this instantaneous wavefunction collapse to transmit information. Perhaps Alice and Bob agree beforehand, when they are together, to perform a specific action. Maybe they agree that when Bob notices his wavefunction has collapsed, he should write down a one or something. It turns out that it is impossible to devise such a system. The fundamental assumption that FTL communication relies on in this case is that there is something Alice can do to her particle that Bob can detect in his (in the above example, I said he 'notices his wavefunction collapses'), faster than a normal radio signal between the two. This is impossible.

        The basic idea behind the theorem is that when Bob looks at his particle to see if it's wavefunction has collapsed, he has no way of know if Alice's actions have cause the collapse, or if he just collapsed the wavefunction by looking at it. Based only on what is available to him, the results of his observations would have the same statistical characteristics irrespective of what Alice is doing.

        That's about the best I can do without using math, and even if I did use math I wouldn't be much better than just reading the wikipedia page. If you are interested in learning more about entanglement, I usually recommend this article as a nice primer.

        8 votes
    3. [2]
      psi
      Link Parent
      In particular, they usually rely on the AdS/CFT correspondence. That's all well and good, but our universe is (probably) not an anti-de Sitter (adS) space! (The curvature of space appears to be...

      Theories about holography (“the universe is a hologram”) are usually built on models that look nothing like our universe and may very likely not apply here.

      In particular, they usually rely on the AdS/CFT correspondence. That's all well and good, but our universe is (probably) not an anti-de Sitter (adS) space! (The curvature of space appears to be flat, not negative as would be required by the AdS/CFT correspondence.)

      1 vote
      1. gpl
        Link Parent
        Of course, there is work being done on dS/CFT, although as far as I know it has not been as fruitful. Strominger I think has shown a correspondence for som dS/CFT theories, as well as a Kerr/CFT...

        Of course, there is work being done on dS/CFT, although as far as I know it has not been as fruitful. Strominger I think has shown a correspondence for som dS/CFT theories, as well as a Kerr/CFT correspondence which is particularly interesting. Nonetheless, these are still quite abstracted away from 'actual' physics.

        2 votes
  11. [3]
    mftrhu
    Link
    Everything pertaining to transition, and to trans people in general. Even when dealing with people who are not malevolent, there is this narrow focus on surgery and genitals, on the "standard...

    What's something that people keep getting wrong? (Especially something they don't even know they're getting wrong)

    Everything pertaining to transition, and to trans people in general.

    Even when dealing with people who are not malevolent, there is this narrow focus on surgery and genitals, on the "standard narrative" of a person who knew that something was off from an early age, who is heterosexual and gender-conforming - e.g. feminine trans women attracted to men. This even happens with people who just should know better, with doctors and therapists who work with trans people.

    But that's not all there is to it. Cis people are not all the same - cis women are not all feminine, cis men are not all masculine, when they are they are not all feminine or masculine to the same degree, they are not all heterosexual, they don't all feel the same things about their own body and sex characteristics, so why should it be different for trans people?

    A lot of people, even people who are more well-informed, think that transition is all about "switching sides", changing one's body and behaviour and roles to fit with the "opposite side".

    But that's not the point of it. It's not about "changing sides", it's about making one's own life better. For some, that means ticking all the boxes on the stereotypical man/woman checklist - which is, ironically, used by some people to invalidate their identity as "based on stereotypes", nevermind the legions of cis people who are the same way - but it's not the point.

    A "box" should be ticked if and only if it would make one's life better, not because it's on that hypothetical checklist. Would changing how I dress make me feel better? No? Then why do it?

    And yet going down that checklist and checking all the boxes is often required, and it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't proposition. You tick all the boxes? Your identity is not valid because "it's based on stereotypes". You don't tick all the boxes? Your identity is not valid because "you are not even trying".

    There are really too many misconceptions about this that I would like to see corrected.

    No, trans doesn't mean that you are transitioning. Those are different things.

    No, transition is not done to feel special, or for the attention, or for the hell of it. That assertion is ridiculous.

    No, gender dysphoria does not involve delusions. A section about how "dysphoria does not involve delusions" has been included in some shape or form in literally every single DSM from the third onwards, which was published in 1980, which was the first DSM to include gender dysphoria (called "transsexualism" back then) and to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

    No, regret is not widespread. It might have been, once, back in the seventies, but as societal acceptance increased and surgery improved? 1% to 1.5% for Pfäfflin & Junge, 1998 (N~=1000-1500, 1961-1991). 2.2% for Dhejne, 2014 (N~=700, 1960-2010). 0.6% for Wiepjes, 2018, or 0.3% "true regrets" (not due to societal pressure; N~=2600, 1972-2015). 0.3% for Danker, 2018 (survey of 46 surgeons operating for more than 10 years, ~22k patients).

    No, children are not given hormones, let alone surgery. No, children are not even given puberty blockers. They wait until puberty actually starts for that (e.g. Hembree, 2017; ), precisely because it's believed that most children will desist at the start of puberty. But when their dysphoria persists after that, it won't go away.

    And this segues into something tangentially related to transition.

    There has been a lot of opposition to puberty blockers. "We don't know what long-term effects they might have!", people shout while beating their chest. "Why, some paper found that they decrease their IQ! Won't anyone think of the children? They can't think for themselves!"

    That would be all well and good I'm lying if not for a few things:

    • consent, "thinking for themselves" is not as simple as a numerical threshold;
    • inaction is not neutral.

    Inaction is not neutral. And it's especially important in medicine - in all fields of medicine, not just trans healthcare - because while medications might have side effects, even bad ones, medicine is the act of balancing those side effects against the effects of whatever problem you are treating.

    And that balancing act must include the patient. It must take in consideration what's important for them. Any objections levied against a particular treatment, to be worth addressing, cannot simply hinge on "the side effects are bad [to me], 99% of people doesn't need it".

    It's the same thing for "vaccines cause autism". Leaving aside the fact that they don't, leaving aside the fact that autism is a pretty big spectrum, leaving aside a lot of things - autism would be competing with possible death.

    It's a balancing act, and perfect solutions do not exist. If it has effects, it will also have side effects. If it doesn't do anything, it can also have side effects, just for the hell of it.

    This also applies outside of medicine.

    Pretty much everything is a balancing act, and the question that people should ask is not "will this fix my issue?" as much as "will this make my issue better or worse? in which ways?", but I hear the former way too often for my tastes. Hell, I'm a perfectionist - I say the former way too often for my tastes.


    Talent. It might be a thing, but most of the skills ascribed to "talent" or "smarts" are just that - skills. Acquired through a fuckton of practice. And you can get them, too - "I'm just bad at maths" or "I couldn't draw to save my life" or "computers are not for me" are lies, damn lies.


    It can be funny or serious.

    Well, I did serious already. Let me try funny.

    I don't drink alcohol, and I don't do drugs, and too many people think otherwise. If you think that I'm high just because I'm shouting at people about time-traveling librarian spiders, you are wrong, your imagination is weak, and I'm probably just going to get more absurd from there.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      cos
      Link Parent
      Ooh ooh, I think you're high! Please get more absurd and continue shouting at me! :D (Really, I'm honestly very curious about these time-travelling librarian spiders.)

      If you think that I'm high just because I'm shouting at people about time-traveling librarian spiders, you are wrong, your imagination is weak, and I'm probably just going to get more absurd from there.

      Ooh ooh, I think you're high! Please get more absurd and continue shouting at me! :D (Really, I'm honestly very curious about these time-travelling librarian spiders.)

      1. mftrhu
        Link Parent
        I will find you, and I will throw a spider at you. Don't think I won't. Hah. I don't even know how I got there anymore, but the librarian spiders are how I imagine Google's less-than-literal...

        Ooh ooh, I think you're high!

        I will find you, and I will throw a spider at you. Don't think I won't.

        Please get more absurd and continue shouting at me! :D

        Hah. I don't even know how I got there anymore, but the librarian spiders are how I imagine Google's less-than-literal spiders - wearing spectacles and skittering about a web of links.

        I'm not sure why time-traveling but, knowing myself, I had a perfectly logical and yet completely ridiculous reason for it: I was using it to distract a spammer on Telegram, and it worked - I ended up talking about turtles with one of them, and discussing our worries with another.

        1 vote
  12. [7]
    Icarus
    Link
    That the MBTI is a reliable and valid form of personality assessment. There are entire subreddits dedicated to individual results (INFP! INTJ!) and people taking these garbage results as a guiding...

    That the MBTI is a reliable and valid form of personality assessment. There are entire subreddits dedicated to individual results (INFP! INTJ!) and people taking these garbage results as a guiding light of who they are and should be. They are modern day horoscopes. I won't link academic articles because every one that I have tried to link is pay walled. But here are two articles that are well written for a general audience:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/give-and-take/201309/goodbye-mbti-the-fad-won-t-die

    https://www.vox.com/2014/7/15/5881947/myers-briggs-personality-test-meaningless

    14 votes
    1. [4]
      NecrophiliaChocolate
      Link Parent
      I haven't clicked the link, but I think a lot of people need to realise that the MB test is not binary, it is a spectrum. On another note, some people use it as an excuse for shitty behaviour when...

      I haven't clicked the link, but I think a lot of people need to realise that the MB test is not binary, it is a spectrum. On another note, some people use it as an excuse for shitty behaviour when they are not related.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        No, it's wrong. It's about as accurate as zodiac signs. "I'm an EFTJ" is just today's version of "I'm a Capricorn". The classifications have absolutely no scientific basis.

        I think a lot of people need to realise that the MB test is not binary, it is a spectrum.

        No, it's wrong. It's about as accurate as zodiac signs. "I'm an EFTJ" is just today's version of "I'm a Capricorn". The classifications have absolutely no scientific basis.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          Are you saying that the axes don't exist or that the classification along those axes make no sense?

          Are you saying that the axes don't exist or that the classification along those axes make no sense?

          2 votes
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I only know what I've read; I'm not a psychologist. But if one searches for something like "meyers briggs debunked", one can find a lot to read about this. Here's a summary (but I strongly...

            I only know what I've read; I'm not a psychologist. But if one searches for something like "meyers briggs debunked", one can find a lot to read about this.

            Here's a summary (but I strongly recommend you do your own reading on this, for a more nuanced view).

            Mainly: the axes (such as they are) are not binary. They represent spectra, with people appearing anywhere from one end to the other. In fact, most people fall somewhere in the middle of all the axes (the traits have a normal distribution, meaning that the majority of people are closer to the centre than either end). However, the Meyers-Briggs test gives you a simple binary response: you're either one or the other, rather than mostly one or slightly the other or evenly mixed. If you're assessed as 51% introverted and 49% extroverted, with your intro-/extro-version varying based on circumstances and mood... you're labelled as an "I" and that's it.

            The axes are based on traits that early psychologist Carl Jung made up based on personal anecdotal observations. They're not proven scientifically.

            A person's place on the axes varies over time. Up to 50% of people get a different result when they take the test a second time, even if it's only a few weeks later.

            8 votes
    2. [2]
      krg
      Link Parent
      Do you have an academic background in psychology, or is this more of a "concerned citizen"'s outlook? I put no stock in the MBTI, myself. But, I wonder why nailing down personality traits is such...

      Do you have an academic background in psychology, or is this more of a "concerned citizen"'s outlook?

      I put no stock in the MBTI, myself. But, I wonder why nailing down personality traits is such a big focus among certain psychologists. Is it just big-business?

      Either way, as a serial narcissist I occasionally take these personality trait tests so I can confirm that I'm fucked up, to some degree. (From what I understand, the "big five" model is a bit more...rigorous?)

      1. Icarus
        Link Parent
        Yes, I have a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Personality is useful for understanding behavior in context and why certain behaviors manifest in some that doesn't in...

        Do you have an academic background in psychology, or is this more of a "concerned citizen"'s outlook?

        Yes, I have a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Personality is useful for understanding behavior in context and why certain behaviors manifest in some that doesn't in others. In a work context, psychologists are concerned with personality for a variety of reasons such as understanding traits that are correlated with types of jobs, leadership behaviors, organization culture, etc.

        And yes, the Big Five Factor of Personality is considered a valid model of personality. You can take a Big Five test here:

        https://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/IPIP/

        5 votes
  13. [6]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    Insurance (talking property & casualty, not health) is not a scam designed to syphon off your money. In fact almost no companies make money on auto insirance, and most lose money on it. It is a...

    Insurance (talking property & casualty, not health) is not a scam designed to syphon off your money. In fact almost no companies make money on auto insirance, and most lose money on it. It is a benefit to individual policyholders and society as a whole which is why laws actually require people to buy it in many cases. People get a lot of bad information from their neighbors and family, but insurance policies are specifically written to be easy to read - however almost nobody actually reads them. Each state has a department of insurance or similar agency and they almost unanimously will side with the policyholder in the event of a meaningful dispute or issue. This is less true for business insurance, but for homeowners and personal auto there really is no wiggle-room on the price - again, because it's not really profitable and also because rates are often legislated.

    Even health insurance in the US is a mess, but the features of ACA that people hate (mandates) are required to be able to support features they like (no more denials for pre-existing conditions) in a tremendous balancing act. ACA should be scrapped in favor of Medicare for All, but until then it is actually a decent compromise to get more people insured.

    13 votes
    1. [3]
      Greg
      Link Parent
      Could you elaborate on this? My intuition would be that they'd be raising premiums or getting out of that market entirely if most were losing money.

      In fact almost no companies make money on auto insirance, and most lose money on it.

      Could you elaborate on this? My intuition would be that they'd be raising premiums or getting out of that market entirely if most were losing money.

      9 votes
      1. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        Well, it's not a money-maker but what it does do is give you access to absolutely massive piles of money. Companies will invest that money and in that way, turn a profit. Even then, it's usually...

        Well, it's not a money-maker but what it does do is give you access to absolutely massive piles of money. Companies will invest that money and in that way, turn a profit. Even then, it's usually fairly small as a percentage. Progressive makes $1.01 for every $1.00 they spend - but when you handle the sheer number of dollars Progressive does, 1% is still a heck of a lot of cash.

        Companies are raising premiums too, in some cases pretty significantly. Auto insurance is extremely competitive though, and companies usually don't want to raise premiums more than they absolutely have to because it will cost them customers. If they raise them too much, it causes the desirable customers in particular to jump ship which just makes the whole book of business more risky.

        8 votes
      2. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        Almost no companies offer only auto insurance. They offer it as a way to get you in the door, and sell you on other insurance that does make them money.

        Almost no companies offer only auto insurance. They offer it as a way to get you in the door, and sell you on other insurance that does make them money.

        7 votes
    2. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      I thought the mandates got scrapped in the last round of “lets cancel Obamacare and stab our own constituencies in the backs because reasons?”

      I thought the mandates got scrapped in the last round of “lets cancel Obamacare and stab our own constituencies in the backs because reasons?”

      2 votes
      1. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        That is true, kind of - mandates still exist but they're not being enforced. That has already resulted in companies pulling out of markets and increased premiums. You can kind of think of the main...

        That is true, kind of - mandates still exist but they're not being enforced. That has already resulted in companies pulling out of markets and increased premiums.

        You can kind of think of the main parts of ACA as a three-legged stool. Coverage is individually mandated, so you can't wait until you need it to purchase it. Companies can't deny people for pre-existing conditions, so if you need it you can get it. And companies are required to provide quality coverage and must spend 80% of premiums on healthcare, which keeps them honest. Kicking out any leg of the stool is going to destabilize the whole system.

        2 votes
  14. [11]
    Whom
    Link
    This is a bit specific to ~anime and based on critical interpretation so not as strictly factual as I imagine most of this thread will be but I feel like so much of Neon Genesis Evangelion,...

    This is a bit specific to ~anime and based on critical interpretation so not as strictly factual as I imagine most of this thread will be but I feel like so much of Neon Genesis Evangelion, despite being one of the most important and discussed anime ever made, is left unengaged with by audiences to the point where even the most clear messaging it has goes completely ignored. Here's an example that bothers me a lot:

    Shinji getting in the robot was a bad thing. Stepping up was not his job and doing so fucking ruined him. The adults failed this child, threw responsibility on him he never should have had, and shamed him into continuing to do it through all his trauma. This is like, a basic starting point for either engaging with it critically or even for appreciating the rest of the show. I'd suggest watching this video if you'd like to hear a little more about that and how Mob Psycho 100 iterates on this aspect of Eva and imo does a much better job, leaving little room for misunderstanding.

    I'm fine with having a reading that conflicts with this or coming to the conclusion that the show is wrong on this (well, I'd still disagree, but at least they're engaging with it!), but I'm comfortable just calling this a straight-up misconception because most people I've seen talk about being frustrated with him not getting in the robot or thinking Shinji is a "pussy" or whatever just haven't really thought about the mass of textual evidence for what the show's trying to get across.

    12 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think a large part of the issues that come up when people discuss Evangelion may stem from the fact that a lot of people watched it when they were still really young and so they viewed...

      I think a large part of the issues that come up when people discuss Evangelion may stem from the fact that a lot of people watched it when they were still really young and so they viewed everything through the lens of wanting to be an Evangelion pilot themselves, which is why they saw Shinji as ungrateful and whiny instead of wondering why he was so hesitant. And that's also likely why criticism of the adults and many of the other incredibly mature, mythological/esoteric and psychological elements in it are so often overlooked or glossed over by people too.

      IMO it's only on watching (or rewatching) it at an older age that all those serious elements become clear. Or at least that's what happened to me upon rewatching it a few years ago, anyways... I found myself completely reevaluating the show and developed a much deeper understanding and appreciation for it than I did when I first watched it at 14 years old.

      6 votes
    2. [5]
      Catt
      Link Parent
      On a similar note, Asuka isn't just a bitch. She's a child! Sexualizing her in the show is part of the theme of these kids having trying to play at maturity. It's suppose to be sad and creepy, not...

      On a similar note, Asuka isn't just a bitch. She's a child! Sexualizing her in the show is part of the theme of these kids having trying to play at maturity. It's suppose to be sad and creepy, not sexy.

      5 votes
      1. [4]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        I have mixed feelings on that given that she's sexualized to the audience. Though if I try to argue that further we get into “There's no such thing as an anti-war film" territory, which gets to be...

        I have mixed feelings on that given that she's sexualized to the audience. Though if I try to argue that further we get into “There's no such thing as an anti-war film" territory, which gets to be a tangent really fast :P

        Still, there's clearly at least some amount of criticism toward that sexualization. "I'm so fucked up" being the most obvious example there. Anno was clearly aware of it and doing something with it, but I really can't blame anyone who takes it more straightforwardly.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          Catt
          Link Parent
          It's been a while, but I don't believe she was sexualized to the audience in the show itself, but instead in the adverts and merchandising. Still I can sort of see what you're saying.

          It's been a while, but I don't believe she was sexualized to the audience in the show itself, but instead in the adverts and merchandising. Still I can sort of see what you're saying.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Whom
            Link Parent
            Her introduction is a panty flash, there's moments where she's undressing, etc etc. It's difficult because there is always the question of like...how do you tell stories about teenage sexuality...

            Her introduction is a panty flash, there's moments where she's undressing, etc etc.

            It's difficult because there is always the question of like...how do you tell stories about teenage sexuality and capture it authentically without being creepy? Eva certainly seems to be wrestling with that question, to its credit, but even with a generous reading I think it's trying to have its cake and eat it too.

            4 votes
            1. Catt
              Link Parent
              I really have to rewatch it to see how it was framed, but for me, she comes in with a Bang!. The panty flash is suppose to be shocking for Shinji and the audience. She reminds me of the girl in...

              I really have to rewatch it to see how it was framed, but for me, she comes in with a Bang!. The panty flash is suppose to be shocking for Shinji and the audience. She reminds me of the girl in American Beauty - kind of outrageous, behaves overly sexually, but is still a child. By the time you get to the end of the movie, the sexualization becomes wrong and creepy. For me, Asuka is the same. I don't think it's an accident that she ends up screaming ”stop raping me" when the angel gets in her head. That word choice is deliberate.

              I agree with your having their cake and eating it too comment. I also read the manga and honestly remember that better, so I think the story is actually quite good in handling their sexuality, where the anime, especially the merchandising, is very fanservice. Though to be fair, we are following the story through Shinji's eyes and he's attracted to her.

              2 votes
    3. [3]
      lionirdeadman
      Link Parent
      The thing is, Evangelion is really confusing... so I think a lot of people (including me) tried to understand what's going on rather than what the morals are. Like, I really have no clue what the...

      The thing is, Evangelion is really confusing... so I think a lot of people (including me) tried to understand what's going on rather than what the morals are. Like, I really have no clue what the fuck happened at the end and I feel I need to rewatch it, maybe that was the point. We try to read too much into the destination and not so much about the journey?.. I don't know.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Catt
        Link Parent
        Apparently a lot of the confusion with the ending is due to poor translation. See if you can find a fan sub if you are rewatching it. Though I still had some questions...

        Apparently a lot of the confusion with the ending is due to poor translation. See if you can find a fan sub if you are rewatching it. Though I still had some questions...

        2 votes
    4. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Weirdly enough, I've had all these "mature" understandings of the show ever since I first watched in my youth. Probably because I was in a mental and social state that was very similar to Shinji,...

      Weirdly enough, I've had all these "mature" understandings of the show ever since I first watched in my youth. Probably because I was in a mental and social state that was very similar to Shinji, and was able to empathize with him. I remember one or two classmates having the same impressions at the time. I guess we were all very depressed :(

      2 votes
  15. [5]
    Catt
    Link
    In Canada, parental leave is protected. Your company isn't nice to let you have time off. However, they are not required to pay you during your leave, and most don't. Employment insurance (EI),...

    In Canada, parental leave is protected. Your company isn't nice to let you have time off. However, they are not required to pay you during your leave, and most don't. Employment insurance (EI), which you pay into is where your income while on leave is from.

    I'm on mat leave right now and so many people seem to think my company is paying me to stay at home.

    12 votes
    1. [4]
      cwagner
      Link Parent
      In Germany, parental leave is also protected and outside of "Mutterschutz" ("mother protection", 6 weeks before and 8-12 weeks after the birth, partly paid by the (mandatory) health insurance,...

      In Germany, parental leave is also protected and outside of "Mutterschutz" ("mother protection", 6 weeks before and 8-12 weeks after the birth, partly paid by the (mandatory) health insurance, partly by the employer) you don't get paid by the company, but you get paid a certain amount (300-1800€/month) of "Elterngeld" for up to 12 (or 14 when split) months which is compensation by the government. Those 12/14 months can be split between both partners and there are additional compensation rules for part-time work.

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        Catt
        Link Parent
        That sounds quite similar to us. I'm not entirely sure why there's confusion here, but it seems to be around compensation and the time off protection being separated. For example, I've heard...

        That sounds quite similar to us. I'm not entirely sure why there's confusion here, but it seems to be around compensation and the time off protection being separated. For example, I've heard people suggest that if the mom takes a year off work, the other partner will not have their leave protected. The compensation (EI) is split, but job protection is individual. This confusion surprises me because how would your company even know how your EI is paid out?

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          cwagner
          Link Parent
          Well, when I'm looking at the simplified table on wikipedia I can understand being confused :D

          I'm not entirely sure why there's confusion here

          Well, when I'm looking at the simplified table on wikipedia I can understand being confused :D

          2 votes
          1. Catt
            Link Parent
            Haha, fair enough. I know the Canadian sites can be a little difficult too. And after rereading the rules, it looks like it does talk about shared leave as well. Of course, I have no idea how...

            Haha, fair enough. I know the Canadian sites can be a little difficult too. And after rereading the rules, it looks like it does talk about shared leave as well. Of course, I have no idea how that's enforced. If a couple exceeds their joint leave who's job is no longer protected...

            Edit to add some links for Canada:

            1 vote
  16. [8]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Scientists, philosophers, programmers, logicians, mathematicians and the like are not robots that live in a prison of boring rules of thought. Passion, intuition, creativity and inspiration are...

    Scientists, philosophers, programmers, logicians, mathematicians and the like are not robots that live in a prison of boring rules of thought. Passion, intuition, creativity and inspiration are integral parts of every intellectual pursuit.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      I feel the need to play both sides of this one. You're absolutely correct that there's beauty and passion in these areas (and that inspired, passionate people exist in every facet of life!), but...

      I feel the need to play both sides of this one. You're absolutely correct that there's beauty and passion in these areas (and that inspired, passionate people exist in every facet of life!), but especially given the userbase of Tildes and the kinds of biases we tend to have, it's also important to be aware of the ideology often surrounding them.

      Like, there is absolutely a tendency among people in these fields (and more importantly, the people who idolize but exist outside of them) to over-value the known and the established, to under-value the subjective and the personal, and generally to have a cult of cold rationality as the solution to problems without much consideration to the domain. Ultimately I agree with you, I just wish the scientists, philosophers, programmers, logicians, mathematicians, and everyone who loves them always knew that too :P

      7 votes
      1. mrbig
        Link Parent
        I'll answer properly later, but, for now: yes, I agree. And it's odd that these people don't recognize the subjective aspect of their relation with objective reality, because stories of...

        I'll answer properly later, but, for now: yes, I agree. And it's odd that these people don't recognize the subjective aspect of their relation with objective reality, because stories of mathematicians, physicists, etc that find solutions to their complicated problems during sleep are far from rare. Well, if they're all rationality, then how can they reason during their most irrational state?

        The key thing, for me, is to understand that, while science itself is (or must be) entirely explicit and objective, we, human beings, are not. And this friction can create great things. We're proof that subjective entities can create objective things. And the contradiction in that statement is merely apparent.

        5 votes
    2. [5]
      DevNull
      Link Parent
      I wish I could ++ you a bunch of times, Sir. The last sentence is why I've seen some tiny measure of success as a software engineer over all these years despite being an incredible a-hole and...

      I wish I could ++ you a bunch of times, Sir.
      The last sentence is why I've seen some tiny measure of success as a software engineer over all these years despite being an incredible a-hole and difficult to work with (and impossible to work for).
      I describe my design process as painting but in my head, and actual coding as sculpting with my hands and clay.
      I would be tempted to add a sense of humor or something akin to it in there somewhere and have always suspected that the great geniuses were funny as hell when they chose to be.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        In my experience, the a-holes that are able to recognize they can be a-holes are the best a-holes one can get... ;) I know... I'm learning yet, but when I get the hang of an algorithm it's just so...

        despite being an incredible a-hole and difficult to work with (and impossible to work for)

        In my experience, the a-holes that are able to recognize they can be a-holes are the best a-holes one can get... ;)

        I describe my design process as painting but in my head, and actual coding as sculpting with my hands and clay

        I know... I'm learning yet, but when I get the hang of an algorithm it's just so beautiful and satisfying ;) And, as a writer/screenwriter, I can honestly say that it's not very different from writing a great scene or finishing a story you're immediately proud of.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          DevNull
          Link Parent
          And you too are a writer?! I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that, but I find it intriguing and have to wonder how many other programmers are either writers, painters or artists in some other...

          And you too are a writer?! I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that, but I find it intriguing and have to wonder how many other programmers are either writers, painters or artists in some other manner.
          For me, a finished set of lyrics or philosophical musing that drove home the point could have as much elegance as that algorithm I wrote the day before.

          By the way I'd like to invite you read my post in ~tech
          https://tildes.net/~tech/d7c/any_developers_designers_interested_in_a_helping_build_a_proof_of_concept_for_a_new_type_of_data

          as this project, in my mind anyway, is the biggest opportunity for artistic expression meeting the left brain workaday world that I personally have ever considered undertaking. And it has potential to change the way people work with computers (but perhaps I am being grandiose and dreaming too big ;-)).

          PS: THANK YOU for the kind words. I wish that at 25 I was merely the a-hole that I am today LOL

          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            Link Parent
            Nice ;) I will read your post, but from a quick glance this is way too advanced for me yet. When I said I'm still learning, I really meant it, and I'm not nearly as talented as a programmer as I...

            Nice ;)

            I will read your post, but from a quick glance this is way too advanced for me yet. When I said I'm still learning, I really meant it, and I'm not nearly as talented as a programmer as I am as a writer (as opposed to programming, I do have 30+ years of writing prose, though).

            2 votes
          2. mrbig
            Link Parent
            And for me programming is very similar to writing, with the difference that I can become proficient in a programming language in 3 years, while 3 years is not nearly enough to, say, become good...

            And for me programming is very similar to writing, with the difference that I can become proficient in a programming language in 3 years, while 3 years is not nearly enough to, say, become good enough on a natural language to write a novel directly in it.

            2 votes
  17. [3]
    Birb
    Link
    Taxonomy is something many people get wrong, even among the pedantic. Often I've seen people say things like "That's an ape, not a monkey" and "Killer whales are actually dolphins, not whales."...

    Taxonomy is something many people get wrong, even among the pedantic. Often I've seen people say things like "That's an ape, not a monkey" and "Killer whales are actually dolphins, not whales." Well, yes... But also no.

    In order for apes to not be monkeys, we would have to follow paraphyletic classification, something that's rather arbitrary and not very scientific. Apes are actually descendants of monkeys! Old world monkeys are more closely related to apes than new world monkeys. That means that apes are also monkeys (including us!). This applies to a number of other incorrect statements of pedantry... Even saying "Frogs are amphibians, not fish" is incorrect (although I'm a little more forgiving when we're going that far).

    I'd love for taxonomy to get a little more focus in education, but unfortunately I think we have a long way to go when it comes to the topic of evolution and genetics in general!

    11 votes
    1. vektor
      Link Parent
      So you're saying you're a binosaur? Also, totally agreed. An interesting outcrop of this is pedants who can't actually tell you the difference between the hairs they're splitting.

      So you're saying you're a binosaur?

      Also, totally agreed. An interesting outcrop of this is pedants who can't actually tell you the difference between the hairs they're splitting.

      3 votes
  18. [2]
    Hypersapien
    Link
    Climate change is frigging real. Humans are the cause of it. And our civilization is in danger of collapse from it.

    Climate change is frigging real. Humans are the cause of it. And our civilization is in danger of collapse from it.

    11 votes
  19. NecrophiliaChocolate
    Link
    Software development for production isn't simply just writing code that will do a specific task. You have to also put some safety measure into it. Something as simple as searching a database needs...

    Software development for production isn't simply just writing code that will do a specific task. You have to also put some safety measure into it. Something as simple as searching a database needs to have security because people can inject code into that search and alter the database. I remember reading a post on imgur about someone who had learnt how to write code in 2 months and written a software that does a specific function because their IT was too slow; then complained when the IT refused to use said software.

    9 votes
  20. [2]
    papasquat
    Link
    In Fight Club, Tyler Durden isn't a role model. The theme of the movie/book isn't "society is bad, you should buck the rules and go your own way and be a rebel". It was "people are easily...

    In Fight Club, Tyler Durden isn't a role model.
    The theme of the movie/book isn't "society is bad, you should buck the rules and go your own way and be a rebel".

    It was "people are easily influenced if you give them a cause." The whole story is basically a cautionary tale about falling for an exciting and charismatic figurehead. The fight club, and especially project mayhem were both nonsensical and self destructive. That was the point. These men didn't have any real meaning or purpose in their lives, so a charming insane man convinced them to start punching each other, then committing terrorism for absolutely no reason.
    So many people think that the narrator/Tyler Durden was the hero of that story for some reason.

    7 votes
    1. alyaza
      Link Parent
      in my experience they're mostly edgelords who think that fight club is the reality they want to live in and reactionaries who think that sort of violence is awesome--so basically, the types of...

      So many people think that the narrator/Tyler Durden was the hero of that story for some reason.

      in my experience they're mostly edgelords who think that fight club is the reality they want to live in and reactionaries who think that sort of violence is awesome--so basically, the types of people who intentionally or otherwise completely misinterpret other literature with anvil dropping messages (like 1984 and animal farm)

      2 votes
  21. DevNull
    Link
    That famous people, past or present, had a moral foundation that equated to their greatest achievements. And secondarily, that they were somehow heroes or good role models. Oh, and third(arily),...

    That famous people, past or present, had a moral foundation that equated to their greatest achievements.
    And secondarily, that they were somehow heroes or good role models.
    Oh, and third(arily), that we know much of any of the truth about who they really were or how they lived.
    I will spare you kind folks the lengthy diatribe listing just the first hundred or so on my personal list, because as I am getting to know the Tildes community it seems obvious that are a lot of very well-educated and intelligent people who would likely already know most of it anyway!
    I will just add a couple personal favorites, without expounding as to why/etc....
    Edison for example, and of course many of the founding-fathers... Ben Franklin (because I am a recovering addict who loves opiates, and so was he - also we are both perverts LOL)
    And pretty much every recent actor/musician who does "A" good thing and gets noticed, then painted by every "news"(!) organization to be a blood relative of Sister Theresa and with an IQ of at least 3 digits.
    I'll end it there, I'm a pretty easy-guy to figure out. LOL

    4 votes
  22. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Natural languages are dynamic, complex and context-aware. Dictionaries are descriptions, not prescriptions. With the exception of highly specific technical terminology (and sometimes not even...

    Natural languages are dynamic, complex and context-aware. Dictionaries are descriptions, not prescriptions. With the exception of highly specific technical terminology (and sometimes not even then), outside of a game of scrabbles pulling a dictionary is not enough to solve linguistic disputes. Those discussions are, by nature, messy and imprecise. And we just have to deal with that.

    4 votes