30 votes

What are you confused by?

I thought this might be an interesting subject for conversation, inspired by the rationalist emphasis on the importance of noticing your confusion for figuring out important warning signs that could easily be overlooked.

I think it's best to try to answer the question as genuinely as possible. Sometimes, saying you're confused is implied criticism of others' behavior, but I think it's more important to notice those moments when things about the world genuinely don't add up.

As a simple example, I'm somewhat confused that the stock market has been going up. It's not all that confusing because bear market rallies are a thing, and many others are puzzled by this as well. But still, I must admit that I don't understand the mechanism behind it.

133 comments

  1. [2]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    There's also a parallel conversation to be had: "I don't understand it, but I want to" vs "I don't understand it, and I don't want to: I simply want to vent my frustration". I've always been...

    There's also a parallel conversation to be had: "I don't understand it, but I want to" vs "I don't understand it, and I don't want to: I simply want to vent my frustration".

    I've always been intensely curious about others' points of view. It's why I ask at every opportunity what someone who feels different from me feels, and why they feel the way they do. It isn't something you can make up: this view of the world is something you arrive to through a combination of nature and nurture, in about equal proportions.

    Much of it is uncomfortable. Other points of view point to a certain otherness of another, which is something we, a tribal species, are naturally wary of. It used to have a point from the evolutionary perspective, what with us being on the same terms as the rest of the animals, but now that we've evolved into something more elaborate, it comes as a hindrance in discussions and even basic outlooks that shape major social movements.

    Much of it appears outlandish at first, in that you can't readily come to the same conclusions because the premises have not been illuminated yet to you. It's why open and honest conversation is important: it exposes those little bits of foundational beliefs that we take for granted, so that we can reason about them and exchange ideas so that we can test how viable these beliefs really are.

    It's why these types of curious conversations can be too difficult to start with: it takes regular, non-intense exposure for someone already inclined in a particular way to even begin considering that their way may not be all there is, let alone the ultimate path to the ideal solution. There's no one thing that could kickstart considerations like that: it takes the person themselves arriving to the conclusion that they want to learn more about, or at least not be so aggressively opposing, the thing they so vehemently hate to pave way to curiosity.

    But sometimes... you just want to let some steam out. It's been pooling in for a while, and you can't find a viable outlet for it, so you just rant. If that's what it takes to make things a little easier for you? Go for it. But if that's the only way you interface with the new and the unfamiliar, you may wanna consider giving it another look: maybe there's a wire burnt somewhere in the system. At the end of the day, no one wants to become obsolete; continuously processing new data, instead of shoving it away as too new or too modern, is the only way to remain viable, especially in an age that's moving forward so fast.

    12 votes
    1. krg
      Link Parent
      Before this topic had any replies, I was gonna post but didn't want to be too negative. Still, you hit on that pretty well!

      Before this topic had any replies, I was gonna post

      This thread can easily become "what I'm annoyed by" rather than "what I'm confused by" pretty quick.

      but didn't want to be too negative.

      Still, you hit on that pretty well!

      3 votes
  2. [12]
    mrbig
    Link
    Social cues. Implicit meaning. What I can and cannot say, and how. How can “normal” people simply enjoy a relaxed conversation without ever making huge gaffes, and without having to carefully...

    Social cues. Implicit meaning. What I can and cannot say, and how. How can “normal” people simply enjoy a relaxed conversation without ever making huge gaffes, and without having to carefully anticipate their interactions.

    14 votes
    1. [8]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Have you been diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum?

      Have you been diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum?

      3 votes
      1. [7]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        I have not

        I have not

        2 votes
        1. [6]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          Might be helpful to get evaluated if you haven't. I've been considering it lately. I can handle the majority of interactions well, but I do find myself very confused by people's reactions...

          Might be helpful to get evaluated if you haven't. I've been considering it lately. I can handle the majority of interactions well, but I do find myself very confused by people's reactions sometimes, so I've wondered if I have some mild form of it.

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Thanks! I addressed this before:

            Thanks!

            I addressed this before:

            I'm yet to find a test in which I am not autistic. At the same time, ADHD, which I have, can be misidentified as autism. There are no mental health professionals in my region capacitated to diagnose adults, and the ones I found elsewhere are extremely expensive (I would also have to pay for the travel). Besides, there's no pill for autism, so I figured I would spend money I don't have to get a useless diagnosis.

            I now consider myself "culturally identified" with the autism spectrum. I can read books about it and make use of them regardless of a diagnostic.

            5 votes
            1. [4]
              radiator
              Link Parent
              the way you've worded this makes me think that you might find the social model of disability interesting

              I now consider myself "culturally identified" with the autism spectrum.

              the way you've worded this makes me think that you might find the social model of disability interesting

              4 votes
              1. [3]
                mrbig
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                That’s a line of thinking that seemingly achieves positive conclusions regarding the perceived potentialities of people with mental issues, but IMHO it does so by twisting logic. A disease is...

                That’s a line of thinking that seemingly achieves positive conclusions regarding the perceived potentialities of people with mental issues, but IMHO it does so by twisting logic. A disease is abnormal functioning that creates some kind of suffering or impairment. While society can and should adapt to the needs of everyone, things like ADHD (which I have) and autism (which I may have) are actual, quantifiable impairments. Neuroscience is beginning to understand those issues and will eventually isolate them in the brain. They are medical conditions, that’s not a matter of opinion and that’s how they should be viewed. I don’t think it’s necessary to ignore that fact to arrive at the aforementioned positive conclusions regarding acceptance and accessibility.

                In other words, society can definitely help me deal my condition, but my condition is caused by a malfunction of my brain, not by society.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  radiator
                  Link Parent
                  oops, guess i was wrong. we're not at all on the same page! i've been given similar diagnoses, but i don't share the same views as you in the slightest.

                  oops, guess i was wrong. we're not at all on the same page! i've been given similar diagnoses, but i don't share the same views as you in the slightest.

                  2 votes
                  1. mrbig
                    Link Parent
                    That’s fine buddy ;)

                    That’s fine buddy ;)

                    2 votes
    2. [3]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      What kind of huge gaffes do you find yourself making?

      What kind of huge gaffes do you find yourself making?

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I don’t make huge mistakes often nowadays but this take some planning and huge amounts of self control. My self esteem is not very high right now so I’m really not in the mood to share a lot of...

        I don’t make huge mistakes often nowadays but this take some planning and huge amounts of self control. My self esteem is not very high right now so I’m really not in the mood to share a lot of details. But the last one basically cost me several professional contacts and I don’t even know to this day what I actually said. Alcohol was involved — a small dose but I think it was a factor. I believe the issue was failing to emphasize a logical not without which I ended up expressing the exact opposite of what I meant, which probably amounted to some kind of apparent bigotry. And their reaction made it abundantly clear there was no possible way for me to explain myself. It was tough.

        4 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          To a degree, I can relate. I’ve only recently started to notice improvements in my social interaction. Because I’ve been on both sides, I’m always quick to offer explanations to those that seem to...

          To a degree, I can relate. I’ve only recently started to notice improvements in my social interaction. Because I’ve been on both sides, I’m always quick to offer explanations to those that seem to not understand the blunders they make.

          If anything like that happens again I hope someone involved is smart enough to see you mean no harm and teaches you one rule to follow. Sadly, there are many such unwritten rules.

          3 votes
  3. [6]
    suspended
    Link
    Separating fact from opinion. This, seemingly, easy exercise has become insurmountable. Are we becoming complacent? Lazy?

    Separating fact from opinion.

    This, seemingly, easy exercise has become insurmountable.

    Are we becoming complacent? Lazy?

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Huh, who said it was supposed to be easy? Facts are not simple. Often they are a summary of years of painstaking scientific work.

      Huh, who said it was supposed to be easy? Facts are not simple. Often they are a summary of years of painstaking scientific work.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        This is something I find a lot in self-expression regarding works of art. It's not unusual to see online comments like "<this film> sucks!!", and then the following replies: "hey fuck you, <this...

        This is something I find a lot in self-expression regarding works of art.

        It's not unusual to see online comments like "<this film> sucks!!", and then the following replies: "hey fuck you, <this film> is awesome!", "wtf are you on about? I bet you liked <another film>, too!" etc. etc. Games, films, music, books, paintings... It's as if people have so ingrained in their identity liking a piece of art that someone claiming it isn't the best in the world amounts to assaulting their very sense of self.

        That judgement alone – "<this film> sucks!!" – says to me that some people are incapable of separating fact ("The film's production value is okay but not excellent, and its casting could've used some polish, but overall, the quality is alright") from opinion ("I didn't like the film's quality of production, and I particularly didn't like this actor in this role"). Both can be true, and both are valid sensations to get from a work of art, but pretending preference is objective betrays a certain fundamental self-centered perspective that is best avoided, especially when talking about these things online.

        I'm not saying it ought to be simple, but it confuses me all the same.

        5 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          I think it can be difficult to accept that your emotional response to some art isn't shared by other people, particular if it's a strong response. I remember as a teenager playing a song I really...

          I think it can be difficult to accept that your emotional response to some art isn't shared by other people, particular if it's a strong response. I remember as a teenager playing a song I really liked for someone and them not getting it, and being surprised by that. It seemed like it was obvious and inherent in the song and anyone would understand it that way.

          Or for another example the notion that some people "have a sense of humor" and others don't, or that some jokes are funny and others aren't, as if these were objective facts.

          This gets confusing because sometimes there actually is a fair bit of consensus on whether a particular song or movie is good. There are awards. There are ticket sales and like counts. This promotes the notion of some things causing similar responses for everyone but it's only a statistical relationship.

          After a while we get a better sense of what's likely to be popular and separate that from what we personally like, but it's still difficult because often you're using your own appreciation to try to figure out whether someone else will like it.

          7 votes
    2. DrStone
      Link Parent
      One of the biggest changes in recent history has been widespread adoption of the internet, and more recently, social media. This has created an enormous information firehose to try to drink from,...

      One of the biggest changes in recent history has been widespread adoption of the internet, and more recently, social media. This has created an enormous information firehose to try to drink from, both in scope and volume. To make matters worse, between the ease of connecting with others, the blurring of reputability between information sources, and subtle industry/state-funded campaigns, it's easier than ever to fall into a filter bubble that feels factually justified. These changes all happened over a relatively short period, the old strategies don't necessarily carry over, and it's going to take some time for the community as a while to develop and adopt effective new strategies.

      6 votes
    3. nothis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think for people who try to find capital-t-"Truth" in maths/science focused points of view (like on Tildes), it can be hard to deal with the "messiness" of life. Human existence is still mostly...

      I think for people who try to find capital-t-"Truth" in maths/science focused points of view (like on Tildes), it can be hard to deal with the "messiness" of life. Human existence is still mostly shaped by irrational feelings, it's the only motivation we have to do anything, including choosing logic and reason. It's an integral part of perception, of social interactions, of politics and, ultimately, of reality. So it's kinda irrational to get "frustrated" about people acting irrational. Most definitely, it is not something people "became" lately, it's the very core of life in general.

      That being said, I find this hard to accept, even though I think it is true. I saw a post once (I think it was on Tildes? Was it you?) where the poster described a highschool experience. The class was tasked to write an essay on evolution and creationism (I think it was for English, not science) and a girl wrote that, basically, she believes that evolution is the scientifically correct theory but since she's Christian, she also believes in creationism. The contradiction apparently wasn't a concern for her. Honestly, this blows my mind but it explains so much about how people outside your chosen bubbles think about these things. The feeling is just as important as the logic, not because you're dumb, but because it's how our brain works. If your social life depends on it, dropping a bit of logic to make it work is not a big sacrifice, everything about our instincts tells us it doesn't matter.

      So, basically, whatever you argue, you can't ever escape the discussion by claiming people acting "irrational". You can only do that if you simply deny people being driven by emotions and good luck with that! Accepting this helps with understanding politics and a lot of social movements. Unless you manage to somehow handle the underlying feelings and give people a chance to get them under control, they won't drop their beliefs just because you have the better math.

      1 vote
  4. [8]
    Pistos
    Link
    unless in code makes it much harder for me to mentally trace logic paths and generally reason about a given conditional expression. I tolerate it when others use it, but in my own writing, I...

    unless in code makes it much harder for me to mentally trace logic paths and generally reason about a given conditional expression. I tolerate it when others use it, but in my own writing, I always use if !.

    7 votes
    1. Moonchild
      Link Parent
      Interesting, I feel the opposite. if ! requires me to parse two separate lexemes and semantic constructs, whereas unless if just one.

      Interesting, I feel the opposite. if ! requires me to parse two separate lexemes and semantic constructs, whereas unless if just one.

      1 vote
    2. [6]
      viridian
      Link Parent
      Sort of related, my friend was recently complaining to me about ternary statements. This caused me to realize that I hated them too up until a couple of years ago, but now I have no problem...

      Sort of related, my friend was recently complaining to me about ternary statements. This caused me to realize that I hated them too up until a couple of years ago, but now I have no problem writing code that looks like this:

      const a = object && object.name ? object.name : otherObject ? otherObject["Full Name"] : defaultName;

      I'm wondering if I should stop on the basis that this would've driven a younger me crazy trying to figure out why someone would write an if-elseif-else this way.

      1 vote
      1. Pistos
        Link Parent
        Yeah, we should ask ourselves: "Should I write this code so that 60% of my team can work with it easily, or write it so that 90% of my team can work with it easily?"

        Yeah, we should ask ourselves: "Should I write this code so that 60% of my team can work with it easily, or write it so that 90% of my team can work with it easily?"

        3 votes
      2. [4]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Problem is, you can't always write code as concisely with if-elseif-else. In JS, you can't assign a variable based on an if statement unless you're ready to redeclare the same thing twice or more:...

        Problem is, you can't always write code as concisely with if-elseif-else. In JS, you can't assign a variable based on an if statement unless you're ready to redeclare the same thing twice or more:

        if (condition1) {
          hello = "world"
        } else if (condition2) {
          hello = "universe"
        } else {
          hello = "guys"
        }
        

        Even though it's easier to read, it also feels clunkier for the code.

        I figure nested ternaries is the lesser of the evils, and mitigate the confusion by tab-indenting the levels:

        let num = hello in greetings
        	? 42
        	: hi in greetings
        		? 47
        		: 420;
        

        Clunky? Quite so. The reason I like Imba is because it allows you to return the result of an if-block directly as a variable assignment. I wish JS had that. I think other languages have that – not supersets of existing ones, but original languages.

        But, like I said: lesser of the evils.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Moonchild
          Link Parent
          Don't think of it as nested ternaries. Think of it as the equivalant of switch/case/default. To use your example, try indenting it like this: let num = hello in greetings ? 42 : hi in greetings ?...

          Don't think of it as nested ternaries. Think of it as the equivalant of switch/case/default. To use your example, try indenting it like this:

          let num = hello in greetings ? 42 :
                    hi in greetings ? 47 :
                    420;
          

          Or even:

          let num = hello in greetings ? 42 :
                    hi in greetings    ? 47 :
                                         420;
          

          IMO that conveys intent much more clearly; each condition is right next to its result, so it shows the causality. This also scales much better: you can have an effectively unlimited (within reason) number of conditions.

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            Interesting. Thank you for sharing. I'll consider it the next time this part comes up.

            Interesting. Thank you for sharing. I'll consider it the next time this part comes up.

            1. skybrian
              Link Parent
              It can be a useful trick but these tricks confuse beginners, or even yourself later. I don't use ternaries much for that reason.

              It can be a useful trick but these tricks confuse beginners, or even yourself later. I don't use ternaries much for that reason.

              1 vote
  5. [14]
    pocketry
    Link
    Affect vs effect. Whenever I bring it up people try to explain, but most of the time I've heard that explanation before. I've found that it's almost always effect, but I don't understand why.

    Affect vs effect.
    Whenever I bring it up people try to explain, but most of the time I've heard that explanation before. I've found that it's almost always effect, but I don't understand why.

    6 votes
    1. jzimbel
      Link Parent
      Here's the best I can do. From most to least commonly used: spelling part of speech pronunciation (copy-paste here to listen) definition example effect noun [əˈfɛkt] Result of an action or cause...

      Here's the best I can do.

      From most to least commonly used:

      spelling part of speech pronunciation (copy-paste here to listen) definition example
      effect noun [əˈfɛkt] Result of an action or cause The long weekend had a positive effect on her mental health.
      affect verb [əˈfɛkt] To have an effect on Greenhouse gases affect the climate.
      affect noun [ˈæfɛkt] Emotion or behavior He took on a defensive affect after being asked whether he had eaten from the candy jar.
      effect verb [əˈfɛkt] To bring about BLM activists hope to effect sweeping reforms to root out institutionalized racism.

      Side note, I have a mini-conspiracy theory that this is why the verb/noun "impact" has become more popular over the past decade or so, since it side-steps this whole issue.

      5 votes
    2. [5]
      tesseractcat
      Link Parent
      Isn't it just that affect is the verb and effect is the noun/adjective?

      Isn't it just that affect is the verb and effect is the noun/adjective?

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        DrStone
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        They can both be both, though the most common usages are affect's verb form and effect's noun form. "Effect" as a noun is simply "result or consequence". The verb form "to produce as an effect;...

        They can both be both, though the most common usages are affect's verb form and effect's noun form.

        "Effect" as a noun is simply "result or consequence". The verb form "to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen" like "[Subject] effected [effect/result/consequence]"

        "Affect" as a verb is "to act on; produce an effect or change in" or "to impress the mind or move feelings of", used like "[Subject] affected [target]". It may sound similar to effect's verb, but notice the difference in the object. As a noun, it's basically "a feeling or emotion" (think of "affectionate"), though seems to only be used in psychology/psychiatry.

        Verb:

        • The activists affected downtown traffic: [Subject: activists] affected [target: downtown traffic]
        • Activists effected the change in policy: [Subject: activists] effected [effect/result: change in policy]

        Noun:

        • The activism had the effect of a policy change.
        9 votes
        1. [2]
          pocketry
          Link Parent
          Maybe I don't understand it we'll because I don't understand subject and object well enough. Which is probably why I don't understand active vs passive voice either. Thanks for the write up.

          Maybe I don't understand it we'll because I don't understand subject and object well enough. Which is probably why I don't understand active vs passive voice either. Thanks for the write up.

          1 vote
          1. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            Subject is the person or thing doing the action. Object is that which the action is being done to. If you're hitting someone, you're the subject, and your target – the object. If you're swinging...

            Subject is the person or thing doing the action. Object is that which the action is being done to.

            If you're hitting someone, you're the subject, and your target – the object.

            If you're swinging your fists wildly in the dark with no one there to hit, you're the subject, but there's no object.

            If by some magic you're knocked off your feet, you're the object, but there's no subject.

        2. radiator
          Link Parent
          it's also funny how affect can be a noun, too. but, that one is less confusing because of the difference in pronunciation. AFF-ect rather than a-FFECT. english!

          it's also funny how affect can be a noun, too. but, that one is less confusing because of the difference in pronunciation. AFF-ect rather than a-FFECT. english!

    3. [4]
      knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I don't mess this one up ever, but it still bugs me that it's a thing. Here's what I think about it: English is weird. I remember it as: Affect is the verb, Effect is the result. Because of how I...

      I don't mess this one up ever, but it still bugs me that it's a thing. Here's what I think about it:

      1. English is weird.

      2. I remember it as: Affect is the verb, Effect is the result.

      Because of how I speak, though, they often sound similar.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        You can effect change. In psychology, the affect is the observable signs of an internal emotion.

        I remember it as: Affect is the verb, Effect is the result.

        You can effect change.

        In psychology, the affect is the observable signs of an internal emotion.

        5 votes
        1. knocklessmonster
          Link Parent
          Shoot, I got it wrong. It's even weirder than I thought.

          Shoot, I got it wrong. It's even weirder than I thought.

          2 votes
      2. hamstergeddon
        Link Parent
        Sounds roughly the same when I speak as well. Although I'm sure of that is subconsciously masking my ignorance of which one to use in a given scenario :D

        Sounds roughly the same when I speak as well. Although I'm sure of that is subconsciously masking my ignorance of which one to use in a given scenario :D

    4. skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah, that one is just tricky with no real consequences for anyone who isn't a copy-editor.

      Yeah, that one is just tricky with no real consequences for anyone who isn't a copy-editor.

      1 vote
    5. tomf
      Link Parent
      affect produces the change, effect is the change.

      affect produces the change, effect is the change.

      1 vote
    6. gpl
      Link Parent
      I usually just remember "A for action" and then be careful of edge cases, e.g. "effect change".

      I usually just remember "A for action" and then be careful of edge cases, e.g. "effect change".

  6. [23]
    intuxikated
    Link
    Difference between capitalism and socialism. I mean I can tell when I talk to a capitalist or a socialist, but I am mostly confused about what makes a policy socialistic or capitalistic. I live in...

    Difference between capitalism and socialism. I mean I can tell when I talk to a capitalist or a socialist, but I am mostly confused about what makes a policy socialistic or capitalistic. I live in a socialist state, a lot of the policies and politicians even from the communist party have some amount of capitalistic elements/ ideologies in them, From my current understanding anyway. Also, why do Americans hate socialists so badly, Is it purely because of patriotism? I know the flaws of socialism but people here doesn't hate capitalism like Americans hate socialism (from what I see).

    6 votes
    1. [19]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      Socialism is a broad term that is incorrectly used most of the time. This podcast episode has some good explanations: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/socialism/

      Socialism is a broad term that is incorrectly used most of the time. This podcast episode has some good explanations: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/socialism/

      9 votes
      1. [18]
        intuxikated
        Link Parent
        I just finished the podcast, It touches the area the most conservative economists points to, "the innovation". As much as I would like to shit on American economic system, most other societies...

        I just finished the podcast, It touches the area the most conservative economists points to, "the innovation".

        It’s a much more cutthroat society. Why? Why is it like that? Well, because that creates enormous incentives to innovate and people are just very ambitious and entrepreneurial and there’s much less social insurance and the stakes are very high. And that doesn’t just benefit the U.S. It also benefits Sweden, because all of that technology and innovation spills over to everybody in the world.

        As much as I would like to shit on American economic system, most other societies benefited from the model and its hard to argue against the American contributions to the world, especially for someone from a more controlled market. I like the word "cutthroat society' it perfectly fits the American society IMO. Also like how the host and the professor instead of attacking American capitalism took a more empathetic approach. Thank you <3.

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          spctrvl
          Link Parent
          The problem with making such a bold claim as "the United States' cutthroat society fosters invention" is that we don't have a control United States with a better social safety net to compare. You...

          The problem with making such a bold claim as "the United States' cutthroat society fosters invention" is that we don't have a control United States with a better social safety net to compare. You could just as well attribute it to the fact that America is by far the most populous developed country, with the largest internal market, meaning that we simply have a greater quantity of innovators, some portion of which will inevitably succeed.

          Moreover, as an American, I think there's a much better argument that our economic system hurts innovation. For every person who invents something, builds a business around it, and makes it rich, there's probably a dozen or more equally capable people who stick it out in dead end jobs to avoid destitution and starvation, who lack the education and connections to build a business, or whose creations are litigated into the ground by rent seeking corporations.

          You look at the big captains of industry, the people we think of as innovators, and it's quite rare that they didn't start in at least the upper middle class. They may have taken risks, but mainly the sort where if they fail, they get a cushy office job with their family connections, not get thrown on the streets. The people who really suffer under the grind of our horrible economic system, the people who actually live in our cutthroat society, represent a large pool of innovators whose talent is largely untapped.

          10 votes
          1. [2]
            mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            When it comes to this kind of phenomenon there are never control groups. Not really. We’re not talking about bacteria or vaccines. So research must make use of history, heuristics and weak...

            The problem with making such a bold claim as "the United States' cutthroat society fosters invention" is that we don't have a control United States with a better social safety net to compare

            When it comes to this kind of phenomenon there are never control groups. Not really. We’re not talking about bacteria or vaccines. So research must make use of history, heuristics and weak comparisons. This doesn’t mean we can’t arrive at conclusions at all, it would be dangerous not to do so out of purism. It does mean that different sciences must adopt different methods when addressing the world. Psychiatry would be basically inexistent if we expected it to be as precise as orthopedics, just to give an example.

            4 votes
            1. spctrvl
              Link Parent
              You're right, I wasn't meaning to imply that conclusions can't be drawn and analyses can't be done about societies. I just wanted to make the point that it's kind of dubious to make simple...

              You're right, I wasn't meaning to imply that conclusions can't be drawn and analyses can't be done about societies. I just wanted to make the point that it's kind of dubious to make simple causative arguments, country x is like y because z, on such a broad and complicated topic as a country's inventiveness.

              4 votes
          2. [2]
            intuxikated
            Link Parent
            Oh.. I didn't mean to justify unethical practices in the name of innovation, I was just pointing out that the American capitalism did bring out some of the greatest innovations that most of other...

            Oh.. I didn't mean to justify unethical practices in the name of innovation, I was just pointing out that the American capitalism did bring out some of the greatest innovations that most of other countries benefits from. But,

            You could just as well attribute it to the fact that America is by far the most populous developed country, with the largest internal market, meaning that we simply have a greater quantity of innovators, some portion of which will inevitably succeed.

            this might be the case.

            For every person who invents something, builds a business around it, and makes it rich, there's probably a dozen or more equally capable people who stick it out in dead end jobs to avoid destitution and starvation, who lack the education and connections to build a business, or whose creations are litigated into the ground by rent seeking corporations.

            I agree with you, I am by no means sympathising with this system. I'm sorry if it sounded like I did.

            2 votes
            1. spctrvl
              Link Parent
              Oh yeah no, I didn't think you were, I just wanted to offer another perspective on that argument: namely that it isn't even unethical practices in the name of innovation, it's just unjustifiable...

              Oh yeah no, I didn't think you were, I just wanted to offer another perspective on that argument: namely that it isn't even unethical practices in the name of innovation, it's just unjustifiable oppression that harms innovation and hurts everyone involved.

              The mass poverty and economic and social stratification that we've practically promoted are gargantuan millstones around our country's neck, both restricting the talent pool and slowing economic growth through reduced consumer demand, dynamism, and velocity of money.

              In short, I think America innovates in spite of its system and not because of it, a testament to the scale of the economy and not its efficacy. People take risks when they can afford to, and in America, fewer people by the year can afford to, so we're left hoping that the scions of wealth are innovative enough to keep up the pace of progress we had during more egalitarian times. I don't see it.

              5 votes
        2. [11]
          NaraVara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          You could just as easily make the opposite argument that America was much less free market in its more innovative days. The Internet and the Space Race were accomplished when we had effective top...

          You could just as easily make the opposite argument that America was much less free market in its more innovative days. The Internet and the Space Race were accomplished when we had effective top income tax rates well over 50%. Even the CEOs of massive national corporations lived in homes that would be considered upper middle class today.

          We’ve actually become less truly innovative since taking a hard neoliberal turn. Most of our innovation now revolves around finding clever ways to skirt regulations or use market power to seize larger pieces of the economy in fewer hands without necessarily growing the pie.

          7 votes
          1. [8]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            Yeah but American innovation goes back a lot earlier than that. The telegraph. Edison. Ford. The Wright brothers.

            Yeah but American innovation goes back a lot earlier than that. The telegraph. Edison. Ford. The Wright brothers.

            2 votes
            1. [7]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              The ossification of firms and innovative capacity in England and the US after that first round of industrialization is one of the things that prompted Schumpeter to write about the importance of...

              The ossification of firms and innovative capacity in England and the US after that first round of industrialization is one of the things that prompted Schumpeter to write about the importance of creative destruction. He believed capitalism would eventually undo itself because incumbent firms get too big and too hard to compete with. He feared they would routinize innovation in ways that only enhance their capacity for rent-seeking rather than improving lives and livelihood overall. And he predicted this would ultimately lead to robust social democratic programs to redistribute the gains through a broader welfare state and labor regulations.

              Schumpeter is a pretty interesting guy, and I would argue his critiques of naked capitalism ended up being a lot more predictive than Marx's were. He is way too underrated in contemporary discourse because of his association with the Austrian School which is, I think, a shame. One excerpt from the Wikipedia article provides a very good example of how prescient he was:

              While he agrees with Karl Marx that capitalism will collapse and be replaced by socialism, Schumpeter predicts a different way this will come about. While Marx predicted that capitalism would be overthrown by a violent proletarian revolution, which actually occurred in the least capitalist countries, Schumpeter believed that capitalism would gradually weaken by itself and eventually collapse. Specifically, the success of capitalism would lead to corporatism and to values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals.

              "Intellectuals" are a social class in a position to critique societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and to stand up for the interests of other classes. Intellectuals tend to have a negative outlook of capitalism, even while relying on it for prestige, because their professions rely on antagonism toward it. The growing number of people with higher education is a great advantage of capitalism, according to Schumpeter. Yet, unemployment and a lack of fulfilling work will lead to intellectual critique, discontent and protests.

              Does the second paragraph not perfectly characterize much of the "New Left," whose leading lights are mostly elite educated professionals rather than working class? Even AOC, who is often disparaged by conservatives as "just a bartender," has a bachelors in Economics from BU.

              5 votes
              1. [6]
                skybrian
                Link Parent
                Yes, it's evocative, but on the other hand, the existence of prominent critics and underemployed elites, or even entire industries that are pretty ossified, doesn't mean innovation isn't happening...

                Yes, it's evocative, but on the other hand, the existence of prominent critics and underemployed elites, or even entire industries that are pretty ossified, doesn't mean innovation isn't happening elsewhere.

                Innovation seems to be unevenly distributed, moving in fits and starts. In my lifetime I would say personal computers, the world wide web, smart phones, and the rise of social media have all had widespread and pervasive impact. Maybe there's a bit of a lull on major technological change but it doesn't seem predictable enough to bet on that continuing.

                Also, when we are being blindsided by major events so often, it doesn't give me much faith in anyone's ability to use broad trends to predict things. History seems more about figuring out what happened in retrospect.

                2 votes
                1. [5]
                  NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  I wouldn’t say any major events have completely blindsided astute observers. Political scientists have been warning about American legislative dysfunction and the problems of asymmetrical...

                  Also, when we are being blindsided by major events so often, it doesn't give me much faith in anyone's ability to use broad trends to predict things. History seems more about figuring out what happened in retrospect.

                  I wouldn’t say any major events have completely blindsided astute observers. Political scientists have been warning about American legislative dysfunction and the problems of asymmetrical partisanship for years now. Economists have been warning about the destabilizing effects of global pandemic. Like everything about our current moment has been overdetermined and anticipated within academic circles. They just haven’t penetrated into mass media because nobody listens to academics unless it’s to help them make money.

                  Innovation seems to be unevenly distributed, moving in fits and starts. In my lifetime I would say personal computers, the world wide web, smart phones, and the rise of social media have all had widespread and pervasive impact.

                  And now they’re completely ossified into a handful of competitors who can bully or buy all upstarts out of the market. What’s more, all of that innovation was driven by projects out of DARPA and CERN, were nurtured in public, land-grant universities, and continue to be supported heavily by open source projects. So it’s hardly a pure free-market success story either.

                  3 votes
                  1. [4]
                    skybrian
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Yes, there are experts who expected and prepared for a pandemic, but there was no way to predict that it would happen this year. And legislative disfunction is a long-term trend, but it didn't...

                    Yes, there are experts who expected and prepared for a pandemic, but there was no way to predict that it would happen this year.

                    And legislative disfunction is a long-term trend, but it didn't predict Trump's victory. It was close enough that many events could have tipped the balance.

                    And also, it matters that the protests going on right now are in the middle of a pandemic. It matters that the pandemic wasn't getting going a few months earlier when it could have completely scrambled the primaries, and we might be talking about voting for Warren or Sanders in the fall.

                    It would be unfair to expect anyone to predict these things, and yet, the specifics and timing matters for predicting outcomes. Politics and epidemiology and economics and also the actions of individuals are all interdependent. And technological innovation feeds into that too - we'd be in a different situation without widespread videoconferencing and cameras and social media.

                    We expect some disasters and there's a lot of preparation that doesn't depend on specifics. But the outcomes are anyone's guess, because they depend on randomness that doesn't cancel out, but rather gets amplified.

                    And to get back to technology, contingent stuff like that happens all the time. Even now, Zoom is having its moment. We expect the incumbents have some markets wrapped up but there are other niches that aren't settled yet and could be big.

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      Only if you’re expecting people to have it down to the year and month. But this isn’t psychohistory. General trends about fragility of political and economic institutions and weakening of civil...

                      It would be unfair to expect anyone to predict these things, and yet, the specifics and timing matters for predicting outcomes.

                      Only if you’re expecting people to have it down to the year and month. But this isn’t psychohistory. General trends about fragility of political and economic institutions and weakening of civil society have been known forever and it was also known that it would lead to something like this. In terms fo guidance on what policy decisions we ought to make it was mostly pretty knowable for any clear eyed analyst. A strategic policy thinker would have been able to tell you whether actions make the odds of one thing or another happening better or worse. And the entire discussion about economic systems is one of whether it makes the odds of innovative entrepreneurial activity improve or not. Not whether you can find random examples of innovation at all.

                      And to get back to technology, contingent stuff like that happens all the time. Even now, Zoom is having its moment.

                      Meh. If it wasn’t Zoom it would have been something else. Different actors may play the parts, but the roles are mostly determined. Many of the changes we are having due to the pandemic are just an acceleration of what were longer term trends anyway.

                      1 vote
                      1. [2]
                        skybrian
                        Link Parent
                        See, to me a belief in psychohistory implies that you don't need to have it down to the year and month, because individual events cancel out. And I don't believe that. Some events are pivotal, and...

                        See, to me a belief in psychohistory implies that you don't need to have it down to the year and month, because individual events cancel out. And I don't believe that. Some events are pivotal, and if they went differently, even broad trends can play out very differently, affecting entire nations and the world.

                        But I guess we will just have to disagree on that.

                        2 votes
                        1. NaraVara
                          Link Parent
                          That’s remains consistent regardless of how you’re structuring your economy though. The more vs. less restricted the market is doesn’t really change it all that much.

                          That’s remains consistent regardless of how you’re structuring your economy though. The more vs. less restricted the market is doesn’t really change it all that much.

                          1 vote
          2. [2]
            intuxikated
            Link Parent
            I didn't know America had 50% tax rates, how did they manage to abolish it?

            The Internet and the Space Race were accomplished when we had effective top income tax rates well over 50%. Even the CEOs of massive national corporations lived in homes that would be considered upper middle class today.

            I didn't know America had 50% tax rates, how did they manage to abolish it?

            1 vote
        3. mrbig
          Link Parent
          I’m glad you found it helpful! I’d argue most of the world did benefit from capitalism, but it would be harder to defend the notion that the world is mostly better as a consequence of the kind of...

          I’m glad you found it helpful!

          As much as I would like to shit on American economic system, most other societies benefited from the model

          I’d argue most of the world did benefit from capitalism, but it would be harder to defend the notion that the world is mostly better as a consequence of the kind of capitalism that is currently prevalent in the US.

          3 votes
    2. wervenyt
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      The way I think about this is to (probably overly) reduce it down to the words' direct meanings. Capitalism is to put the preservation and cultivation of capital, material value, on the very top...

      The way I think about this is to (probably overly) reduce it down to the words' direct meanings. Capitalism is to put the preservation and cultivation of capital, material value, on the very top of the hierarchy of importance, while socialism is to center focus on society at large.

      Beyond that, things get spicy. You can say socialists, in general, aim for egalitarian distribution of resources, without discrimination, while capitalists aim for a general surplus of them, even if they are concentrated along political or socioeconomic class lines. Socialists will critique this by outlining "the myth of meritocracy" and the injustice inherent in a system allowing for resource concentration, and capitalists will snap back that the alternatives are either true destitution due to a lack of motive for productivity, or a centrally-planned dystopia.

      why do Americans hate socialists so badly

      The main reason for that is decades of propaganda conflating communism (the broad set of ideologies) with Soviet-style communism, which is then conflated with socialism. From there, socialism in public discourse becomes a dirty word, implying secret (totalitarian) communist intent. The final step, as you alluded to, is to conflate capitalism with American Patriotism, and socialism with Foreign Treason. It's mostly a problem of misinformation and poor general political education that allows that degree of perversion.


      PS: American Capitalism

      To many, if not most, US citizens, capitalism means not just "money important", but also the entire concept of market economies, and laissez-faire regulation, not just in economics, but in life. Some people here will tell you gun ownership is an integral facet of capitalism, or that it means accepting externalities as inevitabilities, or low taxes, or paying for healthcare. To fewer, they'll say abortion is anticapitalist, or that corruption in politics is an avenue for the truly successful to properly influence government. Capitalism is freedom. This is why it's impossible to meaningfully discuss it with most Americans. It means everything.

      8 votes
    3. Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      A lot of people attach lots of extra meaning to those words, based on how capitalist or socialist societies look (or how people think they should look). Most simply I would say is that capitalists...

      A lot of people attach lots of extra meaning to those words, based on how capitalist or socialist societies look (or how people think they should look).

      Most simply I would say is that capitalists support private ownership of capital, whereas socialists support public ownership.

      Note1: Capital is all things which can create wealth. Trains, mines, pizza making robots, etc

      Note2: How socialists define "public ownership" varies. Some want factories owned by the workers who work them. Some want small decentralized communities with resource sharing. Others want a strong state owning all and sharing amongst the masses, etc

      Note3: Not all capitalists want strict private ownership. They may want the state to be able to act as a private actor, owning capital and competing with private interests. Or they may believe in private ownership for most things, but public ownership of certain industries, etc

      5 votes
    4. tildez
      Link Parent
      I think there's lots of different definitions and nuances of both socialism and capitalism, but to me the stupidly simplified general ideas are: Capitalism (America's kinda gross version): Based...

      I think there's lots of different definitions and nuances of both socialism and capitalism, but to me the stupidly simplified general ideas are:

      Capitalism (America's kinda gross version): Based on free market principles. Workers are not paid for the value they create, but rather what they can negotiate to be paid by someone. If the worker doesn't make enough money to survive, they are not worth enough to society and need to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps".

      Socialism: I think this differs wildly based on which definition you are using. But in America we generally talk about democratic socialism which IMO is just capitalism with a conscience. Just like capitalism, but instead of workers in need getting a middle finger, you take some of the value they helped create and give it back to them so they can live as healthy members of society.

      It's all about redistribution of wealth so everyone can live respectable lives, even people who some may think don't "deserve" it.

      2 votes
  7. [13]
    SuperGracchiBros
    Link
    The basics of music theory. I've had multiple people (some with degrees in music) try to explain the fundamental, 101, stuff to their frustration. It just goes in one ear and out the other. Like,...

    The basics of music theory. I've had multiple people (some with degrees in music) try to explain the fundamental, 101, stuff to their frustration. It just goes in one ear and out the other. Like, what the fuck is a chord? what's the difference between beat and tempo? Is there one?

    6 votes
    1. [7]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      To add to this: What exactly is going on with this whole "x fifths is the same note as y octaves, except actually not quite"? How does the math work out on that one?

      To add to this: What exactly is going on with this whole "x fifths is the same note as y octaves, except actually not quite"? How does the math work out on that one?

      4 votes
      1. [6]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I'm not sure what they're doing there. I assume they're explaining the circle of fifths, and if you go around the circle of fifths you do end up at the starting point (which is why it's...

        Yeah, I'm not sure what they're doing there. I assume they're explaining the circle of fifths, and if you go around the circle of fifths you do end up at the starting point (which is why it's called a circle), but that sounds like an unhelpful way of explaining it.

        1. [5]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          So after a bit of reading, it seems that the trouble is that they decided to fudge the numbers. Say we start with 400hz. We'll also have 800, 1200, ... hz sounds in there, that's just the way it...

          So after a bit of reading, it seems that the trouble is that they decided to fudge the numbers.

          Say we start with 400hz. We'll also have 800, 1200, ... hz sounds in there, that's just the way it is. We call the distance of 400 to 800 an octave and split it into 12 semitones or 7 tones. The seventh semitone step up from 400 hz is 400 hz * 1.05946^7 ~ 600hz (1.05946 is the 12th root of 2). 400 and 600 hz together sound pleasant, so we tune the piano not to semitones of 1.05946, but fudge that so we end up with a fifth that is exactly 1.5 times the frequency. Math would dictate that usually, the 12th fifth (1.05946^(712)) equal the 7th octave (1.05946^(127)). But if we tune the piano to produce acoustically clean fifth, we lose that.

          Why do we need a clean fifth? Because if we want a fifth of the octave of say 400hz, music theory tells us they should sound nice. A fifth sounds nice and an octave is basically the same tone, so why not? Anyway, what we get naturally (1198.6456 hz), is a tiny bit off of a harmonic of the basic tone(1200hz)... And a tiny bit off sounds very terrible. So that's why we try to avoid that by spreading that disharmony around.

          Could we avoid this by not splitting into 12 semitones? I think yes, but it would probably take a lot of getting used to the resulting music. We might lose some other nice properties of what's currently going on.

          3 votes
          1. wirelyre
            Link Parent
            It's a fundamental tension between scales and harmony. If you divide an octave into a major triad (which sounds nice because the overtones match up close to the notes), a natural question is how...

            It's a fundamental tension between scales and harmony.

            If you divide an octave into a major triad (which sounds nice because the overtones match up close to the notes), a natural question is how to place a tone between the first and second note of the triad.

            2   * X (this is the octave on top of the triad)
            3/2 * X
            5/4 * X
                    <--- what goes here?
            X Hz, fundamental
            

            Basically we're looking for a smooth way to cover that gap. So we can invent a new note halfway between them. (Math challenge: what is halfway between X and 5/4*X? Use a geometric mean.) We can call the interval a tone.

            But if you run the 3/2*X twice, producing 9/4*X, you'll notice that it's extraordinarily close to an octave above the new note.

            And if you divide the tone into two (semitones), you'll find that 3/2*X is extraordinarily close to a semitone plus a tone above 5/4*X.

            In principle, you don't really have to do all the math or even name this stuff. You can just tune your lyre to the triad and then sing whatever you want over top. But as soon as you want to treat anything other than X as a fundamental harmony for even a second, you're back in the weeds.

            We call the difference between two very close pitches a "comma", and we name these commas by how they are constructed. For example, a "syntonic comma" is the difference between going up 3/2 four times, then down 2 twice; and simply taking 5/4.


            Most of Western music theory admits that note names are not exact descriptors of pitch. A lot of the tradition has centered around the qualities of various keys when set in a particular tuning system.

            Maybe you've heard of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier? "Well temperament" is a method of minimizing commas on a keyboard instrument. It turns out you actually can tune a harpsichord to eliminate certain commas ― as long as you don't play certain other harmonies. But within well temperament, each key becomes usable, yet distinctly coloured.

            This is all complicated by the fact that you can name any pitch anything you want, and it's fine as long as you're not playing with anyone else. So 18th-century organs tended to name A somewhere around 415Hz, but a contemporary horn might well name A at 280Hz. And families of instruments, like clarinets, were not usually made so that the smaller ones are an octave above the larger ones.

            These differences have carried through today. Although we've standardized "concert pitch" at A=440Hz, when a trumpet plays an A they actually play 415Hz, unless they pick up a second instrument next to them and play that instead, in which case 440Hz comes out. Horns play A=293Hz or sometimes 147Hz! Regular size clarinets come in two variants, and bass clarinets represent a third.


            It all comes down to "octave equivalence", the psychoacoustical/cultural phenomenon that notes an octave apart are "basically the same note". If that's true for a listener, then repeating an interval until it exceeds an octave will produce commas ― unless the interval is irrational.

            If you want to divide an octave exactly, the Western tradition has long tended to a solution. Simply use exactly 12 equal-sized intervals (so 440, 440·2¹⁄₁₂, 440·2²⁄₁₂, ..., 880). We call that sequence a "chromatic scale".

            Reducing the gamut of tones to just 12 octave-equivalent ones has some very important effects. Notably, we gain something called "enharmonic equivalence".

            Where previously we had seven tones within a scale (hence octave, the eighth tone on top), and to make notes in the middle we would "sharpen" or "flatten" them (a development of the 17th century), now all of those sharp and flat notes become just one of twelve, irrespective of how you might want to write them (thus indicating something else about their place in a scale or chord).

            The musical developments around 12-tone chromaticism crystallized into the serialist movement, notably represented by Arnold Schoenberg.


            So it seems like there are dozens of entirely different musical systems?! And they use common terminology?!!?

            That's right. I think this is where people tend to get tripped up, because people don't usually explain the differences very clearly.

            There is the idea of scales, walking up and down by steps. Melodies are built on scales. (Theory: how big are steps?)

            There is the idea of harmony, building chords on top of a pitch. (Theory: how far apart are the tones in a chord?)

            There is the idea of harmonic progression, how certain harmonies "lead toward" other ones. (Theory: which harmonies lead toward which?)

            There are the common names for notes, A and B flat and all that, and the names of the notes indicate the quality of the scales and chords built from them. (Theory: what are the names of those qualities? How are they distinguished?)

            There is 12-tone equal temperament, which uses those names only as a convenience to the reader, but which really represents another kind of musical system entirely.

            Finally, there's the mind of the performer, who can comfortably treat anything as "I need to play this note, but then lean high/low based on the harmony/style".

            6 votes
          2. skybrian
            Link Parent
            There's no perfect way to do it, but with some instruments like a violin, the musician can adjust the pitch slightly to make it sound better depending on context. For a piano where the notes are...

            There's no perfect way to do it, but with some instruments like a violin, the musician can adjust the pitch slightly to make it sound better depending on context. For a piano where the notes are pre-tuned, it's always a compromise, and piano tuners do things to help the sound that don't correspond exactly to the math. (Or to put it another way they make the math more complicated.)

            In the end, it's all about how it sounds. When our perception of pitch isn't good enough to notice (like when two notes are played sequentially) then it doesn't matter that much.

            But on the other hand, we are very sensitive to two notes being played simultaneously that are slightly out of tune, because this causes a vibrating effect called "beating," in another unfortunate clash of terminology. Different notes being played together cause different vibrations. Sometimes tuning can remove these vibrations to get a purer tone, but something musicians lean into them to get more vibration, for effect. A pure tone doesn't always sound better. Deviations from simple math are often an important part of how many instruments sound.

            There are lots of alternate tunings but you can think of them as adding more variety, not one being better than another. Standard western tuning does have a lot of nice mathematical properties, though, that make instruments like pianos and accordions easier to build.

            1 vote
          3. Moonchild
            Link Parent
            There's some music (afaik traditional indian music?) that uses 14 semitones.

            Could we avoid this by not splitting into 12 semitones?

            There's some music (afaik traditional indian music?) that uses 14 semitones.

          4. scissortail
            Link Parent
            For a fun illustration of complex music outside of equal temperament, listen to some Harry Partch! He often used a justly-intoned scale with 43 (!!) notes to the octave. Windsong 'Arrest, Trial,...

            For a fun illustration of complex music outside of equal temperament, listen to some Harry Partch! He often used a justly-intoned scale with 43 (!!) notes to the octave.

            Windsong
            'Arrest, Trial, and Judgement' from Delusion of the Fury
            The Outsider, an hour-long documentary on Partch

            If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of just intonation, Partch's book (Genesis of a Music) is a pretty fantastic starting point.

    2. [4]
      skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yes, this is because the words themselves are often ambiguous, and you need some understanding of context to understand what a word means this time. Also, our understanding of music is contextual,...

      Yes, this is because the words themselves are often ambiguous, and you need some understanding of context to understand what a word means this time. Also, our understanding of music is contextual, and the exact same sound in one situation can play a different role in the song than it would in a different situation.

      The simplest meaning of a chord is that it's a two or more notes that are played at the same time. It gets complicated because sometimes two different sets of notes are considered equivalent for some purposes. And the same set of notes might have a different name depending on context. Also, sometimes a song implies a chord but it's not played. And the notes in a chord might not actually be played at the same time, but in some kind of rhythm. So, it gets complicated, but the foundation of these many variations of meaning is that there is a group of notes being played at together.

      Tempo is how fast you're playing. You can speed up a song or slow it down and those are different tempos. "Beat" also has to do with rhythm, but it has a lot of different meanings depending on context. A single "beat" is like the strike of a drum, one hit, but this word has other rhythm-related meanings. And confusingly, you can say that a song has a "fast beat" and it means the same thing as "a fast tempo".

      This is hard to explain in the abstract and have it sink in. Video lessons or a web page with sound clips would work better, but that kind of content takes longer to make.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        Does it? Isn't there an "uhh, technically..." thing in there, where you can have a fast beat played at a small tempo (think 16th on the hi-hat) or a slow beat played at a high tempo?

        And confusingly, you can say that a song has a "fast beat" and it means the same thing as "a fast tempo".

        Does it? Isn't there an "uhh, technically..." thing in there, where you can have a fast beat played at a small tempo (think 16th on the hi-hat) or a slow beat played at a high tempo?

        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          It's tricky because there are multiple ways to say the same thing. In scientific terms this is like changing the units. If you switch from millimeters to centimeters, the number is ten times...

          It's tricky because there are multiple ways to say the same thing. In scientific terms this is like changing the units. If you switch from millimeters to centimeters, the number is ten times smaller, but it's the same length. Similarly for tempo, there are multiple ways to indicate the same speed.

          You can use a metronome set to 60bpm or 120bpm to play the same song at the same tempo. The ticks of the metronome will subdivide the song differently, but the song is played at the same speed. In sheet music, to be unambiguous, we can write something like "quarter notes are 120." To be unambiguous you need to specify the units. (Though even here, bpm is implied.)

          Similarly you could use quarter notes, eighth notes, or sixteenth notes to write the same song, and adjust the tempo marking so it's played the same way. But this gets into matters of taste in notation, because they won't be equally easy to read. Also, due to tradition they may imply a different feel.

          But if you just say "fast tempo" or "fast beat," you aren't giving any units so it means the same thing, that the song should sound fast. Although I guess "fast beat" implies that it's the type of music that has a beat and "tempo" would be more likely to be used if there's no percussion.


          Here is an example of how history and tradition, combined with the specifics of notation, can affect meaning. Lots of music is written in 4/4 time. But there is something called "cut time" which is 2/2. The sheet music is almost exactly the same, so why do we have both?

          The answer is that in the late 19th century, marching bands became very popular, and they had a lot of 4/4 sheet music with a relatively fast tempo. If you marched to it at 4/4 with one footstep per quarter note, you'd be walking too fast, almost running. So they changed the marking at the beginning to indicate 'cut time' without rewriting the sheet music, to indicate that you should take a step every two quarter notes. You take two steps per measure instead of four, so the song can be played faster without awkwardness.

          And now, even if you're not in a marching band, for some musicians, cut time indicates a slightly different feel to the music. It's not really something a beginner would notice if they were playing the sheet music literally, and if you were playing a midi track on a computer there would be no difference, but there is sort of a rhythmic feel of taking two steps instead of four per measure, and that affects how musicians want to play the rhythm, and if you don't have any other tempo marking then it's a hint that the song should be played fast.

          So that's an example of how the literal meaning of music notation can take on additional meanings, even for something that seems like it has a precise, technical meaning. It's similar to how words get used metaphorically and they take on more meanings over time.

          1 vote
        2. scissortail
          Link Parent
          Additionally to what skybrian said, we'd normally call 16ths on a hi-hat a fast rhythm. Setting a quarter note to 150 (and not playing in a cut-time feel) would be considered a 'fast beat'.

          Additionally to what skybrian said, we'd normally call 16ths on a hi-hat a fast rhythm. Setting a quarter note to 150 (and not playing in a cut-time feel) would be considered a 'fast beat'.

          1 vote
    3. krg
      Link Parent
      I'd recommend checking out these lessons. They're a very clear and concise rundown of Western tonal harmony, which I imagine is the music theory you're interested in.

      I'd recommend checking out these lessons. They're a very clear and concise rundown of Western tonal harmony, which I imagine is the music theory you're interested in.

      1 vote
  8. [3]
    Turtle
    (edited )
    Link
    How are people okay with working a mandatory 40+ hours a week? I understand if you're career driven and you want to work that much, but being forced to seems unacceptable to me.

    How are people okay with working a mandatory 40+ hours a week? I understand if you're career driven and you want to work that much, but being forced to seems unacceptable to me.

    6 votes
    1. scissortail
      Link Parent
      This one confuses me, too. Unless circumstances necessitate it (that is, I have no other option to sustain myself), I can't imagine accepting a gig where I would be forced to work more than 40...

      This one confuses me, too. Unless circumstances necessitate it (that is, I have no other option to sustain myself), I can't imagine accepting a gig where I would be forced to work more than 40 hours a week routinely.

      4 votes
    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Stockholm syndrome maybe? They may also be lying. And some people are genuinely happy to work that much.

      Stockholm syndrome maybe?

      They may also be lying.

      And some people are genuinely happy to work that much.

      2 votes
  9. [6]
    scrambo
    Link
    Electricity and how it works. I know the terms, but haven't "grokked" what they mean (joules, volts, amps, watts, etc). I've seen diagrams comparing it to water, but that doesn't really make sense...

    Electricity and how it works. I know the terms, but haven't "grokked" what they mean (joules, volts, amps, watts, etc). I've seen diagrams comparing it to water, but that doesn't really make sense to me. Or at least, I haven't heard a good description yet. I've also heard a saying that I think was along the lines of: "Volts will jolt, but amps kill" or something like that, but I don't have a mental distinction between what those words mean to know why amps are the "killer".

    5 votes
    1. [5]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I honestly have no idea if these analogies help, but water is a common one. The reason for that is that they're really very similar; both gravity (what powers running water) and electricity are,...

      I honestly have no idea if these analogies help, but water is a common one.

      The reason for that is that they're really very similar; both gravity (what powers running water) and electricity are, from the physics side of things, very similar in how they behave (conservative fields).

      In this analogy, voltage = height difference, amps = amount of water flowing through.

      So a small stream of water that falls off a cliff is the equivalent of high voltage, low amperage.

      A giant river that's not flowing very quickly is the equivalent of low voltage, high amperage.


      In terms of killing you it's really both; if there's not enough voltage difference the current just won't go through you to begin with (Humans are not exactly the most conductive things in the world), if it's not enough amperage it won't cause that much damage. The exact location where the source touches you also matters (passing through heart = bad, for instance).

      8 votes
      1. [4]
        ohyran
        Link Parent
        Ok I kinda love that analogy! Will try to remember it. Is there a way to tie in water analogy to circuitry too?

        Ok I kinda love that analogy! Will try to remember it. Is there a way to tie in water analogy to circuitry too?

        3 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          Sure. A water tower is a battery. Let's say this water tower has a lower reservoir below ground level as well. All return water goes there. When water is requested it flows out of the tower, down...

          Sure. A water tower is a battery. Let's say this water tower has a lower reservoir below ground level as well. All return water goes there. When water is requested it flows out of the tower, down to the ground level, and then performs some task. Afterwards it goes into the underground reservoir. You can recharge the water tower by moving the water back up to the top. If you don't do this, eventually the battery will drain and you have no more current.

          2 votes
        2. stu2b50
          Link Parent
          To some extent yes, but also at some point the water mechanism becomes so complicated there's not much point in using it as a metaphor. Resistors The key relationship that defines resistors is...

          To some extent yes, but also at some point the water mechanism becomes so complicated there's not much point in using it as a metaphor.

          Resistors

          The key relationship that defines resistors is ohm's law, which is V = IR. V in this case is represented by a difference in height, I is the flow of the water.

          So we need something such that given a constant flow (say, 50 gallons per second), as we increase it we necessarily increase the height difference. So you can think of it the inverse of the diameter of the pipe or trough. As we decrease the size, in order to maintain the same flow, you have to have more stuff going through.

          https://i.ytimg.com/vi/iN0OgjyDhlI/maxresdefault.jpg

          Capacitor

          Well, you can just use something like this bamboo thing

          https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81XE40oEuXL._AC_SY741_.jpg

          2 votes
        3. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Sorta. For a simple circuit with a battery and resistors, you can think of the battery as pumping water up to a certain height and the resistors as waterfalls (voltage drops). But this doesn't...

          Sorta. For a simple circuit with a battery and resistors, you can think of the battery as pumping water up to a certain height and the resistors as waterfalls (voltage drops). But this doesn't work with more complicated circuits.

          2 votes
  10. [13]
    ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Goofiness. Not taking things seriously. Sometimes referred to as "clowniness". Back in the uni, I was part of the group that undertook organizing the first-year students' festival. It was our...

    Goofiness. Not taking things seriously. Sometimes referred to as "clowniness".

    Back in the uni, I was part of the group that undertook organizing the first-year students' festival. It was our responsibility to make sure everything is in working order, the stage is prepared, advertising is spread, and the rest of the requirements are cleared. As part of the organizing process, I was made part of the private chat where the organizers would discuss the details, assign roles etc. etc. You know the drill.

    Within the first 10 minutes of my being there, the discussion has already taken turn to discussion how would the organizers relax after the festival is done. They were talking about booking a few tables at a café, then getting some beers, then...

    I was appalled. "You haven't yet done anything, and already you're talking getting drinks afterwards?". It was days of hard work before you could even think of relaxing: there was still a lot to be done!

    The response I'd gotten amounted to "You're no fun, calm down".

    This attitude is something I don't understand. You're talking about getting rewards before you've even mapped the route to the track. You're looking up yacht sales before you've even made your first buck.

    I quit the chat. Right after, I messaged the leader of the organizing party: "If you need help with anything, just let me know".

    In my mind, a thing is to be done first. If you aren't satisfying with doing the thing on its own, you shouldn't be doing it. Whatever reward you extract from the process doesn't matter if it isn't internal first. None of the going-out-afters are going to make it feel better if your first order is not making the thing work well.

    I'm not the "no fun" kinda guy. I don't feel disdain towards partying, or relaxing, or resting. I don't feel like knocking others off for thinking about it, either. It's just that, in my mind, the job comes first, and its fruits – later. Relaxation is a necessary part of living, and whatever form it takes for you, knock yourself out – after that thing we've been pouring hours into is done and good.

    This attitude finds itself reflect in many activities. Developers of public-facing, popular projects facing criticism with "Ah, whaddaryagonnado". Players in competitive games not playing to the goal, whatever that may be (and instead focusing entirely on either something that may accidentally result in furthering the objective or something that runs orthogonal to said objective). Municipal officials running their office like public wellbeing isn't their primary concern.

    And I don't fucking understand it.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      wervenyt
      Link Parent
      This feels like the crux of your misunderstanding. Many people don't approach life from that perspective. Speaking as someone with debilitating executive function issues, I would never do anything...

      In my mind, a thing is to be done first. If you aren't satisfying with doing the thing on its own, you shouldn't be doing it. Whatever reward you extract from the process doesn't matter if it isn't internal first.

      This feels like the crux of your misunderstanding. Many people don't approach life from that perspective. Speaking as someone with debilitating executive function issues, I would never do anything except eat and drink with that outlook. Nothing productive feels gratifying in itself except for some exercises and maybe making art. When I do the dishes, the only positive feeling is "well, that wasn't horrible, and thank god it doesn't need to be done anymore." Even cooking a meal for myself is tedious and feels pointless, whether the recipe is novel and interesting or an old stand-by.

      Yeah, I'm on the extreme of these sorts of issues, but it's not just a minority feeling. Most of the specific examples you list can be explained as either degrees of that kind of dysfunctional reward system, or can be similarly modeled as dysfunctional social systems.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        I'm surprised by how much I can relate to this. Sure, the work itself is not satisfying most often. It's the results that matter in cases like these: I may not like cooking, but I get food if I...

        I'm surprised by how much I can relate to this.

        Sure, the work itself is not satisfying most often. It's the results that matter in cases like these: I may not like cooking, but I get food if I do, and I don't like to go hungry, so cooking it is.

        I would loathe to call myself "result-oriented" because the phrase has been hijacked to mean absolute bullshit, but sometimes I am. I think at some point the reward behind the result leaks into the satisfaction behind the work: it's not "I'm glad I got food", it becomes "I'm glad I cooked well-enough to get some food".

        Could you relate to that?

        3 votes
        1. wervenyt
          Link Parent
          Well, the results that I intellectually understand to be within my reach don't end up pushing me to repeat the effort in the future. So I can know I love a certain recipe, and don't actually mind...

          Well, the results that I intellectually understand to be within my reach don't end up pushing me to repeat the effort in the future. So I can know I love a certain recipe, and don't actually mind cooking it, and that it's healthy and affordable, and remain unmotivated to make that dish again. I'd rather just toss together a basic salad or sandwich that will keep me alive, even if on paper I should totally devote the extra, what, 20-45 minutes to a more complex, tastier, and more nutritionally rounded dish. The best I can get to relating to that is manually making and dialling in coffee, but that maxes out around the 15 minute mark for a few cups.

          I can't say I'm result-oriented because the results are never good enough. It's a vicious cycle for my mental health and material outcomes.

          4 votes
    2. [2]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I feel like this ignores the fact that most work is largely pointless and unsatisfying to those that do it. Without knowing the motivation behind the pointless and unsatisfying task you're...

      It's just that, in my mind, the job comes first, and its fruits – later.

      I feel like this ignores the fact that most work is largely pointless and unsatisfying to those that do it. Without knowing the motivation behind the pointless and unsatisfying task you're expected to complete, why complete it? If the work itself is unrewarding how do you intend to motivate people to do it?

      7 votes
      1. ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Work is never pointless unless it's been made to be. If you aren't satisfied with doing something, I figure you shouldn't do it and see where it gets you. I've abandoned some basic things in my...

        Work is never pointless unless it's been made to be.

        If you aren't satisfied with doing something, I figure you shouldn't do it and see where it gets you. I've abandoned some basic things in my work and life, and I'm doing just fine afterwards.

        1 vote
    3. [6]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      I am sometimes goofy. Part of the reason is that I spent a lot of time around people who took things too seriously. These are people for whom following the rules is the purpose of doing anything...

      I am sometimes goofy. Part of the reason is that I spent a lot of time around people who took things too seriously. These are people for whom following the rules is the purpose of doing anything rather than the eventual outcome of having followed a set of rules. These are the types of people who think that the purpose of going to school is to get good grades and memorize facts. I could never get myself to care too deeply about a grade, but cared very deeply about understanding the material and being able to use it in some way. Being goofy is a way to remind myself what the true purpose of what I'm doing is, and also a way to rebel against those people from my upbringing.

      There's also the issue of motivation. For some, the work of putting together the party for everyone, making the party run, and cleaning up after it lead to the social interaction of sitting with your friends over beers and realizing what you just achieved. And for some that may be more motivating that the party itself.

      There's also the issue of bike shedding.

      Parkinson's law of triviality is C. Northcote Parkinson's 1957 argument that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.[1] Parkinson provides the example of a fictional committee whose job was to approve the plans for a nuclear power plant spending the majority of its time on discussions about relatively minor but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bike shed, while neglecting the proposed design of the plant itself, which is far more important and a far more difficult and complex task.

      7 votes
      1. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        Oh man, this is one of my favorite things to bring up in meetings where conversations have gotten complex and/or difficult. It works especially well if you bring it up well before any meeting...

        There's also the issue of bike shedding.

        Oh man, this is one of my favorite things to bring up in meetings where conversations have gotten complex and/or difficult. It works especially well if you bring it up well before any meeting where it might happen so people are then aware of it. Then if you ask "are we bike-shedding right now" in the middle of a meeting, usually people will be more receptive to the fact that it's happening.

        5 votes
      2. [4]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        We may not share the same definition of "being goofy". Could you elaborate on yours?

        We may not share the same definition of "being goofy". Could you elaborate on yours?

        1. [3]
          joplin
          Link Parent
          You originally said: I can be like that at times. I make jokes about the topic we're discussing, even if it's a serious topic. (Sometimes - I probably wouldn't at a funeral, for example.) I often...

          You originally said:

          Goofiness. Not taking things seriously. Sometimes referred to as "clowniness".

          I can be like that at times. I make jokes about the topic we're discussing, even if it's a serious topic. (Sometimes - I probably wouldn't at a funeral, for example.) I often engage in creative thinking that can look to someone else like I'm not taking things seriously. ("What if we filled the second tier of this cake with Helium so it floated?" - I may be thinking of the result I want - a cake tier that looks like it's floating - in a humorous way, but maybe I'm leaving thinking up the actual implementation until later, after I've spit-balled whether I even actually want that result in the first place.) I find that being rigid and ignoring curiosity and human wants/needs/desires often leads to boring uncreative work. But sometimes I come off as flippant or "not taking things seriously" when I'm in this mode. I may go down a thread that's tangential to the topic at hand to fulfill some curiosity I have, and it may end up derailing the conversation a bit. It may or may not lead back to the task at hand depending on where it goes, and I'm OK with that. I often find that avoiding doing work leads to me figuring it out subconsciously and it's easier and faster than if I sit down and try to focus on it.

          But my manner of doing the above can seem goofy to others. Things like making jokes, talking about some interesting tangent, asking people about their random feelings or ideas, all come off as acting goofy by some definition.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            We most certainly have different definitions of "being goofy". What you describe is creative outlet. You are taking things seriously, but in a manner that's different to folks less creative than...

            We most certainly have different definitions of "being goofy". What you describe is creative outlet. You are taking things seriously, but in a manner that's different to folks less creative than yourself. (I do like the floating-tier cake idea. That would be neat.)

            Let me ask you: do I come off as overly serious, in your understanding of it? do I come off as rigid to you?

            1. joplin
              Link Parent
              From your other posts, no. I don't know the personalities of the people you were dealing with, so if they tend to have a problem with focussing, then you were probably justified in trying to steer...

              Let me ask you: do I come off as overly serious, in your understanding of it? do I come off as rigid to you?

              From your other posts, no. I don't know the personalities of the people you were dealing with, so if they tend to have a problem with focussing, then you were probably justified in trying to steer things back to the task at hand. If not, though, then the description of this particular interaction seemed slightly rigid to me. Not like you're a no fun, no party, no relaxing kind of person or anything. Just that this was a planning session for something fun, and they were thinking of other fun things tangentially related to the topic at hand. Maybe that would somehow get them into the mindset of doing the party planning.

              Some people see a big task and freeze up. They need a way to break it down. If planning a small after-party helps them think about the bigger main party, then maybe it's fine to go off on a tangent. If they think, "Hmm... we have 6 of us planning this (or whatever), and each is going to bring their significant other, so that's 12 people. We'll need at least 3 tables that can seat 4 each. Or maybe 2 that can seat 6," maybe that gets them thinking about the larger party and how many resources they'll need for the expected number of people. But maybe they couldn't see that until they went on the tangent.

              Or maybe they're just not good at planning. Since I don't know them, I can't say.

              1 vote
    4. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Reading the rest of your response, I think what you're describing isn't goofyness/not taking things seriously, it's other people not prioritizing in the same way you do. I'm a pretty goofy person...

      Goofiness. Not taking things seriously. Sometimes referred to as "clowniness".

      Reading the rest of your response, I think what you're describing isn't goofyness/not taking things seriously, it's other people not prioritizing in the same way you do.

      I'm a pretty goofy person sometimes. I deal with social anxieties through humor, which sometimes leads to me misjudging the level of humor that can be injected into a situation, which can come off as very inconsiderate. From my perspective, the example you described I would interpet as a different form of small talk. Small talk isn't actually about the weather or That Sports Team. It's about discussing something very common and safe, that most everyone can engage in, to level-set the rest of the conversation. It's a shibboleth for every day conversation with sane people.

      All that said, if your meeting is 1hr and the first 20min have been burned talking about the bar everyone's going to afterward, that's a waste of time and is inconsiderate and should be called out as such.

      3 votes
  11. [4]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Despite my efforts, the vast majority of the political right. Cultural conservatism is either: Exclusion of other races (skin color or facial appearance) Devotion to some religion that's at least...

    Despite my efforts, the vast majority of the political right. Cultural conservatism is either:

    • Exclusion of other races (skin color or facial appearance)

    • Devotion to some religion that's at least hundreds of years old and exclusion of all the others. The only religiously based ethos I have taken seriously is This comment on Buddhism but it outlines practically nothing beyond a set of values and a bunch of truisms which while neat, don't resemble anything like a Bible.

    • A comical amount of patriotism/nationalism. ("Nation" and "homeland" always in the eye of the beholder and "who belongs here", even more so.)

    Economic conservatism is probably the one that makes the most sense out of these. 'Competition drives innovation and efficiency and rewards those who drive it' is darwinian evolution in an economic form and meritocracy is a great ideal (hence why, IMO, classical liberalism, libertarianism and neoliberalism are the most palatable right-wing ideologies.) But that runs into major problems if:

    • Those at the top are allowed to write the rules, in which case they will just write them to benefit themselves and thus the ideal that people are competing in a level playing field and winning based on their own merit, the core ideal of capitalistic conservatism becomes hollow.

    • Society becomes too complicated for hierarcies to be easily ascendable on your own and these hierarchies have become multi-layered, meaning that even if a conservative society manages to achieve a high and equal level of social mobility across all classes, some people will inherently need to ascend more steps in the hierarchy to get to the top because the hierarchy is so tall, which is inherently unfair and not 'meritocratic'.

    Let's suppose that we live in a society with 10 classes and 2 people climb 4 classes each and they come from the 2nd and 4th classes respectively. The result is they end up at the 6th and 8th classes each despite having put in the same amount of effort, which is inherently an unfair result. This is only made worse when you take out the abstractions of what a social class is and the consequences of this in your ability to bootstrap yourself.

    5 votes
    1. vektor
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Imo it is a reasonable position to hold - for a minority. What confuses me is the amount of people who get shafted by it (the ones not driving innovation or profiting off it) who also support it....

      Economic conservatism is probably the one that makes the most sense out of these.

      Imo it is a reasonable position to hold - for a minority. What confuses me is the amount of people who get shafted by it (the ones not driving innovation or profiting off it) who also support it. Think, poor US conservatives who have no nationalist/religious/racist reason for being that. The ones where the only rational explanation the could have is that they plan to be a millionaire. Actually, I'm not so much confused by these people existing, but more astounded at the effectiveness of conservative propaganda in convincing these people.

      8 votes
    2. johnh865
      Link Parent
      Conservatives are likely beneficiaries of the status quo social, sexual, and economic hierarchy. Right-wing Libertarianism is a conservative ideology because libertarianism preserves social and...

      Conservatives are likely beneficiaries of the status quo social, sexual, and economic hierarchy.

      Right-wing Libertarianism is a conservative ideology because libertarianism preserves social and economic hierarchies. Libertarianism is based on private ownership, which is synonymous with private control of property. Private ownership of land is synonymous with territorial ownership and therefore is equivalent to a state. Ultimately libertarianism is not about freedom but rather about privatization of governance. A traditional example of a privatized, "family-owned-and-operated" government is called monarchy. Unsurprisingly the vast majority of libertarians are aligned with the right rather than the left.

      Merit, innovation, and efficiency aren't really a part of conservative ideology in my opinion. The basis of private property is exclusionary and monopolistic in nature. By definition of ownership of land, the land owner controls all that goes on within the land, and therefore a land owner is someone with a local monopoly.

      So don't buy into the marketing. Libertarian ideology markets a kind of "freedom" that no normal person would actually define as freedom. Libertarians only believe in a single right. Private Property. That's it. They don't care about anything else. However by equating rightwing libertarian freedom with actual freedom gives Libertarians a sort of legitimacy they otherwise would not have.

      That's why the tax rate is ultimately the most important thing they care about. The tax rate is a government imposition on their private property.

      Conservative ideology over the ages is always flexible. Sometimes it will be libertarian. Sometimes it will be traditionalist. The ultimate goal of conservatism is to always protect the entitlements of an entitled class of people.

      Therefore conservatives are happy to tolerate Trump and huge violations of human rights. Trump lowered their taxes and therefore "freed" their private property! Trump therefore is a liberator (of their property)! Trump also protected their entitlements by kicking out labor competition (Latinos)! Tea Party Republicans were just all too happy to embrace xenophobia.

      4 votes
    3. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I like to think that nowadays the right is generally proud of its lack of empathy, while the left generally values the opposite. A psychological distinction instead of a political and economical one.

      I like to think that nowadays the right is generally proud of its lack of empathy, while the left generally values the opposite.

      A psychological distinction instead of a political and economical one.

      1 vote
  12. [8]
    mrbig
    Link
    I have one more: selective irrationality in otherwise reasonable and sane people

    I have one more: selective irrationality in otherwise reasonable and sane people

    5 votes
    1. [6]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I find this is pretty common, maybe even universal, and I think our ability to compartmentalize is a good thing. Religious people can be very reasonable in day-to-day interactions. The way I think...

      I find this is pretty common, maybe even universal, and I think our ability to compartmentalize is a good thing. Religious people can be very reasonable in day-to-day interactions. The way I think about it is "everyone is a little crazy sometimes." In a pluralistic society we just have to get over that and concentrate on the matter at hand.

      The idea of a person as a consistent logical system just doesn't work.

      5 votes
      1. [5]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        I am religious. I do not think that’s an expression of irrationality except when it leads to evidently rational behavior.

        I am religious. I do not think that’s an expression of irrationality except when it leads to evidently rational behavior.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I think I agree with that (assuming you meant evidently unreasonable behavior), but I'm going to quibble with the definitions a bit. You use "reasonable" and "irrational" as if they were...

          I think I agree with that (assuming you meant evidently unreasonable behavior), but I'm going to quibble with the definitions a bit. You use "reasonable" and "irrational" as if they were opposites, but I think of "reasonable" and "rational" as being two different things. (I"m following David Chapman on this; it's not common usage.)

          A rational system models the world using math and logic. I don't think of people as using rational systems much when doing common-sense reasoning and everyday communication. You might do a bit of math now and then, make a checklist, or fill out a form. And of course computer usage is based on rational systems, such as on Tildes with our hierarchical groups, tags, preferences, labels, and votes.

          But attempts to make universal systems based on logic have failed. Logic is an important but specialized tool that only works in important special cases (including in math, science, and engineering), and only when you set up the preconditions to make it work. (As a famous quote goes, all models are wrong, but some are useful.) And I don't think this has much to do with religion, though religious bureaucracies have their forms too.

          I also think just about everyone has beliefs that it would be unreasonable to insist that others agree on, since they aren't based on common, communicable standards of evidence. But they can still act reasonably by agreeing to disagree or by basing persuasive arguments on mutually agreed evidence. And, following the courts, I think it's reasonable to consider religious beliefs to be one of those things you can't use as hard evidence.

          But then again maybe this isn't what you meant at all by "selective irrationality?" What's an example of that?

          2 votes
          1. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yes, that is what I meant. I'd make a distinction between irrational and arational. Irrational is in defiance or opposition to reason. It applies to fields of human experience that should probably...

            I think I agree with that (assuming you meant evidently unreasonable behavior)

            Yes, that is what I meant.

            I'd make a distinction between irrational and arational. Irrational is in defiance or opposition to reason. It applies to fields of human experience that should probably be governed by reason (but not necessarily just by reason). Refusing to vaccinate your children out of unjustified beliefs is an example of irrationality.

            There are other situations in which rationality plays a much smaller role (they're arational). Love and sexuality are mostly governed by emotion (but not necessarily just by emotion). Choosing romantic partners out of mostly logical considerations is usually a bad idea, and a sexual act governed by reason would be probably a waste of time.

            Religion is more or less in the same group (my religion -- at least in the way I practice it -- is probably distinct enough to not be considered a religion in some cultures). They're metaphysical systems that help navigate some metaphysical aspects of the human condition. Metaphysics itself can be rational of course. So can theology, and, by extension, religion. But that's less of a requirement, I believe.

            2 votes
        2. [2]
          Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          Care to elaborate? That's like calling yourself a Democrat or a Liberal. (Although this word has some concrete definitions.)

          Religious

          Care to elaborate? That's like calling yourself a Democrat or a Liberal. (Although this word has some concrete definitions.)

          1 vote
          1. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Spiritism places a great value on science and rationality and was created as a rational effort with the purpose of investigating the spiritual phenomenon. It states that it shall forever strives...

            Spiritism places a great value on science and rationality and was created as a rational effort with the purpose of investigating the spiritual phenomenon. It states that it shall forever strives to be in accordance to science and recognize its conclusions whenever our beliefs are proved wrong.

            This is not equivalent to say that all spiritists enact this core principle, of course.

            2 votes
    2. wervenyt
      Link Parent
      I'd say that humans are not rational by design, and it's instead a learned tool for analysis. However, life is not necessarily entirely a matter of computation and reason. It's full of slight...

      I'd say that humans are not rational by design, and it's instead a learned tool for analysis. However, life is not necessarily entirely a matter of computation and reason. It's full of slight nuance and guesswork that often makes seeking full rationality a fool's errand. In theory, we can make the best decisions, and learning about the world and breaking down cognitive biases can push our models closer to the truth, but to pretend that's achievable feels like setting all of humanity up for failure.

      3 votes
  13. aethicglass
    Link
    More of a source of frustration at this point, although I wouldn't be opposed to anyone shining some light on the subject... Digital audio seems to be trapped in the early 00s for the most part....

    More of a source of frustration at this point, although I wouldn't be opposed to anyone shining some light on the subject...

    Digital audio seems to be trapped in the early 00s for the most part. Specifically, my source of frustration lies in the routing capabilities. Things are largely handled on a driver level. This is fine for the vast majority of users who just want their audio to come through a pair of speakers and be done with it. It immediately becomes problematic if you want to actually do anything else with that audio.

    For example, I like to stream working in blender with some friends in discord. I also like being able to have some music playing while still being able to talk through the mic. Under normal operating conditions, this results in the entirety of system audio being piped back into voice chat, including the audio of anyone else talking in chat.

    Yes, there is a software solution to the problem. It is not elegant. It's a hodge podge of various applications combined to split audio sources on a per-app basis into virtual drivers that are then controlled by another application to adjust levels and map outputs. It's very finnicky. It needs to be set up each time I stream, then set back when I'm done. It's high latency and doesn't match up with video unless I go through the effort of manually adjusting a rendering delay for all video sources. And it's prone to failure, with failure being anything from popcorn crackles to complete loss of audio requiring a reboot.

    There is also a hardware solution now. And it's actually quite elegant, but it's doesn't come cheap. It's basically an audio interface which comes with multiple drivers that you can permanently map sources to, with a clean interface that allows complex routing. I'm not gonna bother plugging the device. I've never had a chance to use it because it's sold out everywhere.

    And don't even get me started on audio plugins. Everything from the framework to the interfaces and the pricing is all stuck back in the early 00s. When they actually work, it feels like the luckiest thing ever. Render that out because it might not stay that way.

    Point is, audio feels like such an afterthought it's ridiculous. It's an absolute nightmare to troubleshoot, as a single setting (one virtual driver with an output of 48000 instead of 41500) can wreak havoc across the entire stream. Everyone who has tried setting up streams more complex than single sources knows the woes of which I speak. There's a great deal of demand for an elegant solution, yet there is only a single company so far that has actually developed an elegant solution. It's similar with capturing video, and yet there are dozens of solutions for capturing video.

    All that said, there are a couple things that give me hope. The number of people who are turning to streaming in order to stay in touch with friends and loved ones has increased dramatically (myself included), and so the amount of demand has increased as well. Just looking at youtube videos of some of the possible software solutions to the problem illustrates this effect. There is a rising tide of people trying to explain their own solution to the problem as they spend days or weeks figuring it out and sharing it for others to avoid the pain.

    Second is the development of more advanced audio solutions. The device I mentioned earlier is just the first. There will likely be more. As they gain in popularity, there may finally be a push to incorporate that functionality on the motherboard level, and within the OS itself. (Again, I'm only speaking for windows here. I know linux and mac have slightly better routing solutions, but I'm honestly not particularly impressed with those either.) The development of the audio in the PS5 is also giving me hope. They're supposedly adding in a much more robust audio chipset capable of compiling thousands of audio sources, performing FFTs, and rendering to 3d virtualization for a variety of speaker configurations without discernible latency. This development also gives me hope that maybe more attention to audio will be warranted in future generations of PCs.

    I wouldn't even call myself an audiophile. It just honestly feels like audio has fallen by the wayside for the last couple decades. It got "good enough for most people" and left at that.

    (edit: holy smokes that was longer than I intended. Guess I just had to get that of my chest.)

    4 votes
  14. wervenyt
    Link
    Hate. I understand feeling it, and I'm not as much of an asshat to say I don't hate anything or anyone, but I really dislike it. However, a large number of people seem to revel in it, or at least...

    Hate. I understand feeling it, and I'm not as much of an asshat to say I don't hate anything or anyone, but I really dislike it. However, a large number of people seem to revel in it, or at least find it fulfilling in some way. Hate feels like taking the good parts of caring about things and turning them bad. It can be used productively, but that doesn't make the thing in itself positive.

    4 votes
  15. [7]
    FishFingus
    Link
    I am completely confused by the old British system of classifying guns as 2-pdr, 6-pdr, 17-pdr, etc., as well as gun calibre measurements and the reasoning behind picking certain ones (e.g. 5.56mm...

    I am completely confused by the old British system of classifying guns as 2-pdr, 6-pdr, 17-pdr, etc., as well as gun calibre measurements and the reasoning behind picking certain ones (e.g. 5.56mm and 7.62mm for rifles, or 75mm and 105mm for artillery pieces).

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I was hoping there was one in here I can answer! #-pdr stood for the weight in imperial pounds of spherical solid iron shot of diameter to fit the bore. Not the round itself. This was used because...

      I am completely confused by the old British system of classifying guns as 2-pdr, 6-pdr, 17-pdr, etc., as well as gun calibre measurements and the reasoning behind picking certain ones (e.g. 5.56mm and 7.62mm for rifles, or 75mm and 105mm for artillery pieces).

      I was hoping there was one in here I can answer!

      #-pdr stood for the weight in imperial pounds of spherical solid iron shot of diameter to fit the bore. Not the round itself. This was used because at the time that modern artillery began there was no standard of caliber for artillery pieces, but much knowledge of the size of the bore of a old muzzle loading cannon was still well known and so they kept the pounder naming convention instead of something more obvious like bore diameter. Being that military traditions/old men stuck in their ways die slowly (see: cavalry charges in WWII) it stuck around for awhile.

      For small caliber arms it's generally an evolution of previous cartridges. The modern 7.62x51 was evolved from the older .30-06 cartridge (itself a holdover from the .30-40 Krag, which was a round developed in response to the 7mm cartridge used by the Spanish) in use by the US from the early 1900's. The .30-06 is a 7.62x63 cartridge and was nearly replaced by an even smaller caliber until it was proven that .30-06 could be reliably fielded in a semi-automatic rifle. A nations military is generally always trying to lighten the load of a soldier (even if it means they add that weight back by giving them more stuff to carry) and advances in gunpowder allowed the power of a .30-06 round to be available in the 12mm shorter case of a 7.62x51, so it was a win-win. The 7.62mm round is/was held onto for the increased effectiveness (range and energy expended upon the target) that a larger bullet carries as at the time the US kept to the idea that their soldiers should be riflemen and individual shots in semi-auto shouldn't be made less effective and only use full auto firing for emergencies. Which brings us to...

      ...the 5.56! Because there's always development going on to try to sell the military more toys a project was set out to scale down the 7.62x51 cartridge (and therefore the rifle, the larger the round, the larger the firearm must be). Because there's typically little reason to reinvent the wheel development started with existing tech, this time being the .222 Remington round. Shoving more and better gunpowder into that cartridge provided the ballistics and range desired, but pressures were too high for the thickness of the case. So a thicker case was developed and became the .223 Remington. Testing showed this to work well, be reliable in the rifle being developed, and that soldiers were more accurate with it than the 7.62x51, about doubly so. Military testing commences, they realize that a smaller bullet that hits a target more often is better than a larger bullet that misses, plus it's lighter and they can carry more ammunition at the same time. The US military adopts it, and since the US military (unlike the rest of the US) had already moved over to the metric system it became known as the 5.56. NATO standardizes it for all of the countries involved and it's then known as the 5.56x45 NATO.

      For artillery you can blame 75mm on the French as they were the first to field modern artillery and everyone else just copied them. They were the first to make an effective breech, instead of muzzle, loading artillery piece and it worked. Refer back to the "no need to reinvent the wheel" notion earlier. The 105 can similarly be blamed on the Germans. Post WWI with the victors looting the country for spoils they of course seized the 105mm artillery being used and finding them to be a suitable step up from the 75mm and a nice middle ground between it and the 155mm added it to their arsenal as well. The larger the caliber, the heavier the gun, the heavier the gun, the harder it is to move, and therefore the further back from the front line it tends to be. This continues all the way down to the early hand held 40-50mm mortars and grenade launchers.

      8 votes
      1. FishFingus
        Link Parent
        I see. That was a very neato reply, thank you. I feel considerably more up-to-speed now!

        I see. That was a very neato reply, thank you. I feel considerably more up-to-speed now!

    2. [4]
      vektor
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Tradition, most likely? As far as I'm aware, the poundage of a gun describes the weight of the cannon ball of a certain material? Iron, most likely, given we're talking balls. Look at how the...

      Tradition, most likely? As far as I'm aware, the poundage of a gun describes the weight of the cannon ball of a certain material? Iron, most likely, given we're talking balls. Look at how the gauge designation for shotguns works: You split a pound of lead into X equal balls. The diameter of the balls is the gauge of the gun. So a pound of lead will make 12 balls appropriate for a 12-gauge gun. That means a smaller gauge is a bigger diameter. (Edit: Apparently I was right - however, since this originated in the olden days, a pound is not always a pound and guns needed a bit of clearance around the ball, so it's a very noisy relationship between weight and diameter.)

      There's a lot that goes into the ballistics and logistics of certain calibers. 5.56 was created, as far as I know, to lighten the load on soldiers. Create a very light round so you can carry and shoot a lot, because they found out that the most important part in shooting people is not hitting them hard, but hitting them at all. Currently, the trend goes towards larger calibers, in the 6.5-6.8mm range with a lot beefier projectiles and propellants to give guns better range.

      7.62 (NATO) was the predecessor of 5.56, basically. It was a step towards lightening the weight of "full-scale" rifle cartridges (.30-06 for the US, eg.) while retaining most of the benefits. Hence the similar diameter. I think it also addressed the fact that these old cartridges were designed with older materials in mind.

      Regarding artillery, I think the main trade off at work is [range, firepower] vs [mobility, cost, availability]. Generally, you wanted guns of various calibers around. The smaller ones were more mobile and could more closely follow the front lines. Sometimes you need the big ones though. This should be reflected in the organisational chart of the unit employing the guns. A division might have a lot of lighter artillery batteries attached to, say, infantry regiments, while only one heavy artillery battalion is attached to the division directly. The individual infantry companies might have even lighter artillery, like mortars, as part of a support platoon.

      If you're interested in this stuff, check out forgotten weapons on youtube, it's the most academic, apolitical firearms channel I know.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        FishFingus
        Link Parent
        Thanks. I've enjoyed quite a few vids of his, but never remember coming across anything that explained the calibres before. I'll have another look.

        Thanks. I've enjoyed quite a few vids of his, but never remember coming across anything that explained the calibres before. I'll have another look.

        1. vektor
          Link Parent
          Oh, I don't think he had one on that specifically, he has a lot of videos where he sprinkles in some of these details.

          Oh, I don't think he had one on that specifically, he has a lot of videos where he sprinkles in some of these details.

  16. [2]
    Staross
    Link
    Heidegger, I haven't read much of it but it always seemed void of meaning to me.

    Heidegger, I haven't read much of it but it always seemed void of meaning to me.

    2 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      It’s really not void of meaning. Not that I can explain. /r/askphilosophy might help.

      It’s really not void of meaning. Not that I can explain. /r/askphilosophy might help.

  17. [2]
    vegai
    Link
    This probably ages me, but... slim-fit jeans. They've always been uncomfortable and ugly.

    This probably ages me, but... slim-fit jeans. They've always been uncomfortable and ugly.

    1 vote
    1. Halfdeaf
      Link Parent
      I was the same until I got gifted a pair of expensive slim fit jeans which fit me perfectly. I'm not a slim man but somehow these jeans are comfortable in a way that normal jeans aren't. No...

      I was the same until I got gifted a pair of expensive slim fit jeans which fit me perfectly. I'm not a slim man but somehow these jeans are comfortable in a way that normal jeans aren't. No chafing, no ball twisting or excessive sweat. It's down to the material as well. They are mostly made of thinner more elastic denim.

      3 votes
  18. [7]
    freddy
    Link
    America.

    America.

    1. [6]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      You might wanna be more specific. It might be helpful to consider that there's no such thing as "America": there's granularity and connections within the vast system the notion of a single country...

      You might wanna be more specific. It might be helpful to consider that there's no such thing as "America": there's granularity and connections within the vast system the notion of a single country represents.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        freddy
        Link Parent
        Specifically, the United States. Through-out both the Covid-19 crisis and their response to the killing of George Floyd, America has both confused and shock me. As a European, it seems mad to me...

        Specifically, the United States. Through-out both the Covid-19 crisis and their response to the killing of George Floyd, America has both confused and shock me. As a European, it seems mad to me that Americans were protesting about lockdown, as it puts everyone at risk. Why are the police responding to Brutality with Brutality? That makes no sense. Equally, the fact that CNN and Fox News can report on the same story and have completely different takes seems very strange. These are just a few things...

        1 vote
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          There is no "their". There is no consensus. It is impossible to find two people in the world that agree on 100% of things let alone a country of 330,871,830 people. 330,871,830 people with...

          their response

          There is no "their".

          There is no consensus.

          It is impossible to find two people in the world that agree on 100% of things let alone a country of 330,871,830 people.

          330,871,830 people with individual experiences that have shaped them from the day they were born and formed the opinions they have along with those they can be influenced by.

          7 votes
      2. [3]
        FishFingus
        Link Parent
        I got one: if Canada is considered part of North America, why isn't the US considered Southern Canada?

        I got one: if Canada is considered part of North America, why isn't the US considered Southern Canada?

        1. ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Conflating "America" as in "The United States of America", a sovereign state, with "America" as in "either of the American continents, neither named after any of the countries that inhabit it" is...

          Conflating "America" as in "The United States of America", a sovereign state, with "America" as in "either of the American continents, neither named after any of the countries that inhabit it" is what got you to that question.

          4 votes
        2. Sand
          Link Parent
          Because Canada is a country and not a geographical area, and the US isn't part of that country.

          Because Canada is a country and not a geographical area, and the US isn't part of that country.

          3 votes
  19. [2]
    Comment removed by site admin
    Link
    1. Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Removing this section of the thread until I have some time to look through it and see why Malice flags and other issues are rapidly starting to fly out of it. Edit: I'm just going to leave it...

      Removing this section of the thread until I have some time to look through it and see why Malice flags and other issues are rapidly starting to fly out of it.

      Edit: I'm just going to leave it removed. There were some good comments that I feel bad about removing, but overall it's an extremely tedious argument that's been done a million times on the internet and always gets people worked up while never making any new progress.

      5 votes
    2. Removed by admin: 19 comments by 9 users
      Link Parent