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  • Showing only topics with the tag "society". Back to normal view
    1. [Rant] The Great Wall Of Text #1

      From today, I've decided to write at least something every day until the writer's block frees me of its hold. I face this from time to time and don't really understand what to do, there is no cure...

      From today, I've decided to write at least something every day until the writer's block frees me of its hold. I face this from time to time and don't really understand what to do, there is no cure really except hoping that something will happen or some inspiration will strike at some point causing me to write something.

      One of the reasons could be that I'm a computer programmer and mostly blog about technology topics. But programming isn't really a topic or subject on which you can keep churning out rivers of literature, can you? It's a very exact and precise science just like mathematics and I feel most things that must be written about it are already written. In fact, I pretty much feel the same way about any kind of topic, we are literally swimming in oceans of information already! That's probably one of the reasons that keeps me from writing. I don't want to unnecessarily add my useless pennies to great literature contributed by people who are wiser and smarter than me.

      But then the question arises what should I write about or blog about? I can write about nothing in particular and whatever that comes to mind (like I'm doing now) or I can write a research or news article or something. But I don't know how exactly people go about that. Most articles today are opinion pieces anyway and mine will probably be the same. But where do these "opinion writers" get their information from? There have to be some primary or base level sources. What are they? Can you recommend some good ones?

      Another thing that keeps me from writing freely is all the environment you see on the interwebs these days which is just so toxic and discouraging, isn't it? It's not just about having a thick skin anymore but you live in a constant fear of getting canceled for something as trivial as your mere mentioning of some individual (about whom you may not even be fully aware of). I have to think a million times before writing something if this will offend any netizen or not, my guess is that many other writers must be going through the same thing and this is what results in the infamous contemporary expression, Self-Censorship!

      If you're going to constantly self-censor yourself and kill many great ideas when they're just in their infancy, I don't think you'll be left with a lot of creative stuff to write and you may not even feel like writing anymore. Self-Censorship beyond a basic extent (like filtering of abusive words and phrases, etc.) is counter-productive and should be highly discouraged in my humble opinion.

      Other natural antagonists like lethargy, laziness, procrastination, etc. also need to be blamed, of course! Sometimes, I don't find the motivation to read or do further research on a topic. Without reading, you can't get enough material to write, a good writer must be an avid book worm also. I feel sure I can contribute a lot to the literary world some day and I've decided to keep battling with my proverbial pen (actually the keyboard!) until the day it happens.

      I think that's enough for today, might come up with another great wall of text tomorrow! Sorry if I wasted your time.

      9 votes
    2. How are things in your country right now?

      It's a very broad question, but seeing the latest extremely worrying news from where I am made me wonder: how's everyone else getting on? Now that we're moving past the lockdowns and furloughs, do...

      It's a very broad question, but seeing the latest extremely worrying news from where I am made me wonder: how's everyone else getting on? Now that we're moving past the lockdowns and furloughs, do things look hopeful where you are?

      Things in the UK are pretty bad right now - huge inflation, energy prices hitting points that will seriously harm people's financial stability just to stay warm in winter, unending political scandal, increasing pollution, and little real sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm fortunate enough to be able to handle it at least for now, but I'm genuinely worried for those around me and for the country as a whole.

      The pandemic hit us all hard, but it's difficult to gauge how hard. Obviously Brexit is an extra anchor around the UK's neck, but then the US has the legacy of Trump and mainland Europe has a war on the doorstep, so we're far from the only ones with problems. Are we in a uniquely bad position, or is this how everyone's feeling right now?

      21 votes
    3. I can't stand how many adults actively campaign for the suffering of children

      The title says it all, really. Today there was a story about the Flordia Department of Education rejecting a record number of books for containing Critical Race Theory. But when I read the article...

      The title says it all, really.

      Today there was a story about the Flordia Department of Education rejecting a record number of books for containing Critical Race Theory. But when I read the article it said that it was rejecting these books for other things - for Common Core and for a thing called Social-Emotional Learning, or SEL.

      SEL is not a term I'm familiar with, so I looked it up. There's an organization that advocates for it called CASEL who has a more in-depth writeup, but to put things as simply as possible, it's the idea that lesson plans should include material to improve a person's social and emotional growth and is largely concerned with students' mental health. I couldn't understand why anyone would have a problem with this kind of thing; kids today are put through a lot of stressful situations and it looks like mental health for children has been an issue that has exploded over the past few years. So I found and read an article about why it's controversial and I'm practically in tears over here.

      Right now we are living in a world where children are tortured so much that they attempt to kill themselves and there are grown adults - legitimate parents of their own children - who are fighting against the people who are trying to help them. And all of the answers to why they are doing this are just absolutely insane to me. Some of them don't want their children to realize they were racist. Some of them don't want to ever discover the concept of sexuality or gender identity for fear that their child might not be straight cis baby factories. But overall, it seems like they oppose it because it threatens their control over their children, as if they were puppets to command.

      I already knew how fucked up they were when they were trying to pass that Don't Say Gay bill, but this is just absolutely next level insanity. I'm sure they don't realize that the concept of SEL exists largely because there are so many children in the world who have had to deal with parents who think and act like these people do.

      Utah Parents Unite, an activist group that says it’s fighting indoctrination and mask mandates in schools, urged its members to lobby against a bill to expand suicide prevention programs to elementary schools, where, the group said, “suicides are not happening.” (National data obtained by NBC News show that the number of children ages 6-12 who visited children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or self-harm has more than doubled since 2016.)

      ARGH!

      26 votes
    4. What do you think are some good things about the US?

      Admittedly independence day was a week ago so this is kind of late. Most people in the left consider the US to be one of, if not the worst country in the (developed, unless you're a right wing...

      Admittedly independence day was a week ago so this is kind of late.

      Most people in the left consider the US to be one of, if not the worst country in the (developed, unless you're a right wing strawman) world and, we have listed the bad things about the US many, many times, so I think a thread about the good things about the US would be neat.

      The 3 main things I think are good are:

      • Honestly, I think party primaries where most people vote for president are good. While I do think they would be much more beneficial in a multiparty system as opposed to the US's 2 party system, I think it's better than having your presidential candidates be chosen by usually politicking with the party. I don't mean this to say the way party primaries are conducted in the US is the way because it isn't, but I think it's better than not having a primary.

      • I also think midterm elections are good, because it means that if people dislike the course of the current government, they can vote for that in a midterm. In the US, this means they only had 2 years of a Republican trifecta led by Trump as opposed to 4 like here in Brazil and I suspect a lot of other places. I don't mean this to say elections every 2 years is unequivocally good, and for such elections you would definitely need shorter primaries so elected politicians don't need to spend most of their time campaigning which I've heard is often what they do.

      • Lastly, I think the US is by far the country most concerned with things like electoral systems and methods, campaign finance, whether there should be an upper house or not (not that senate abolition is popular even among leftists, but it is much more popular than a place like, say, Brazil, where I live), and this is the third good thing about the US.

      Of course, all of these originate from the worst parts of the US political system, but I think the fact that there's any public conscience of them existing is still a good thing.

      One can argue the fact that the largest amount of influential companies being under US regulations means that if any positive changes to said regulation are implemented the entire world benefits (most obviously concerning the Internet), but the opposite is equally true and far more common.

      There's also probably many good things about US culture, by virtue of that being true for most most cultures, but I don't know what US culture specifically is enough to list them.

      12 votes
    5. Thinking about the societal problem "stack"

      This past year and a half I've been in a strange sort of depression over the dysfunction of human society, especially in how nations around the world have collectively dealt (or failed to deal)...

      This past year and a half I've been in a strange sort of depression over the dysfunction of human society, especially in how nations around the world have collectively dealt (or failed to deal) with the coronavirus.

      I'm trying to get myself out of this funk. I'm normally a doer, not a sit-on-my-butt-er. I'm trying to think about the nature of human problems, see the problem space along different dimensions, and find high-leverage points for solutions. Trying to outline the problem "stack" so to speak.

      This is a lot of paper napkin thinking from me. There are going to be a lot of naive thoughts here. But I'd like to have an open conversation, so we can stumble on some new interesting insights, rediscover what others already have, and not get too bogged down in "well, ackchyually..." nitty-gritty details.


      The pandemic is a relatively 'easy' problem — at least if you compare it to the threat of an incoming extinction-level asteroid, a wandering black hole, or a dying sun, which would require technical solutions impossibly beyond our current capabilities. In those scenarios, we can only pray and party. But for the pandemic, we had the political tools: Taiwan showed us how a combined approach of strict border controls with hotel quarantining (no kindly asking people to maybe please quarantine — travelers will quarantine), wearing masks everywhere, extensive contact tracing, and cross-governmental data-sharing, can successful contain the virus. Now we have technological tools: a myriad of vaccines.

      Yet...

      • It's been nearly a year and a half. A concerted global effort could have ended the crisis within a month or two early on, right? Granted, this would entail giving up our human rights for a short while — but that seems way better than dragging it for so long. Instead we watched as we tried to carry on as normal as possible and the virus spread like wildfire.
      • A third of U.S. adults are unvaccinated despite being eligible and there being plenty of vaccines to go around (in the US at least).
      • Significant numbers of people believe wacky stuff: COVID isn't real, masks don't do anything, and so on.

      From what I observe: nearly all human problems are policy problems. The human race has sufficient material and technological resources to solve most problems. Underlying those policy problems are coordination problems — coordinating people on the facts, solutions, and implementations.

      1. Human problems
      2. ... are policy problems
      3. ... are coordination problems

      So the human race has a bunch of solutions, institutions, and tools to help with the coordination problem:

      • the UN and other intergovernmental bodies like the WHO to coordinate at the international level
      • National institutions to coordinate
      • Newspapers to spread information and generate consensus

      But as we well know, these coordination solutions have problems. Now I'm thinking what are the coordination sub-problems.

      • Incentive problems / The Game: Broadly in game theory speak, some players are incentivized to not cooperate, even if at the detriment of everyone. This seems to me to be the crux of the coordination problem.
      • Culture problems: This is a whole nest of problems.
        • Cultural norms around equity. I think that this is a big one. It's been shown that different societies have different norms and ideas about what's fair and equal. The norms often develop around economic realities. Forager societies favor egalitarian distribution over meritocratic distribution as high cooperation is required between members: unequal distribution threatens relationships and cooperation. Perhaps our merit-based norms may need to shift from a pre-industrial era where people more or less produced what they consumed — to a new era of automation and robotics, where a relative few produce most everything.
        • Cultural norms around consumption and transmission of information. This stems from our education culture. Media consumption in our societies — western and non-western alike — is passive. Socratic seminars are rare in schools: pupils receive lessons passively from their teachers. Most people aren't educated or trained on how to have open discussions or on how to avoid rhetorical fallacies.
      • Education problems: there is only so much information can do if people don't know how to process information.
        • Mentioned above cultural norms around how we consume and transmit information.
        • Statistical thinking. The abuse and misuse of stats in popular discourse.

      Among others.

      7 votes
    6. What's something (opinion/sentiment, problem, culture, type of content) that has been present for longer than people might expect?

      A political example might be the fact that according to gallup, people have supported a popular vote for the US presidency for more than 75 years (this article is 20 years old, but the numbers...

      A political example might be the fact that according to gallup, people have supported a popular vote for the US presidency for more than 75 years (this article is 20 years old, but the numbers still stand), albeit the partisan difference in opinion seems to be more recent and it's not clear if people knew what to replace it, or if they knew about all the other faults in the US political system.

      Other more cultural examples might be things like romans drawing dicks on Hadrian's wall, eating fast food and their timeless graffiti, surrealism being 100 years old as opposed to 'Zoomer humor', etc.

      So, what are your examples?

      18 votes
    7. What memo did you not get?

      We've all been in situations before where we're the odd one out: everyone's using a new app you had never heard of, everyone is wearing the same color for an event, etc. An often refrain in such...

      We've all been in situations before where we're the odd one out: everyone's using a new app you had never heard of, everyone is wearing the same color for an event, etc. An often refrain in such situations is "Well I didn't get the memo". So I'm curious, what memos have you missed?

      An example for me: I suddenly have started seeing lots of people using this substack website, which seems kind of like a Medium alternative. No clue where this came from or how it got big - I totally missed the memo on Substack.

      19 votes
    8. What social norm(s) you would like to see changed?

      Anything goes for this one: they can be general or specific, regional or global, IRL or digital, big or small, significant or insignificant. Pretty much any shared norm anywhere is fair game....

      Anything goes for this one: they can be general or specific, regional or global, IRL or digital, big or small, significant or insignificant. Pretty much any shared norm anywhere is fair game.

      State what the current social norm is (and if it's specific to certain regions, cultures, or environments), why you want it to be different, and how you would improve it if you had the power to do so.

      28 votes
    9. If you could completely refresh something and rebuild it from the ground up, what would it be and why?

      A lot of things we live with have significant technical debt because they were designed and implemented without modern knowledge and understanding. Knowing what we know now, in the present moment,...

      A lot of things we live with have significant technical debt because they were designed and implemented without modern knowledge and understanding.

      Knowing what we know now, in the present moment, what would you be interested in fundamentally redesigning if you could?

      This does NOT have to be technology related, by the way, though it certainly can (anyone want to talk about redesigning usernames and passwords -- please?). It can pretty much be anything: NASCAR races, art criticism, specific social norms, sunglasses, etc.

      In your explanation, don't just share what you're interested in tearing down, but how you would rebuild it for the better. What improvements would your methods bring to the table?

      39 votes
    10. In what small ways are you considerate towards others?

      I haven't been able to get samfundssind out of my head since reading the article. It's the polar opposite of what you see in a lot of the US, and I wish that more people in this country weren't...

      I haven't been able to get samfundssind out of my head since reading the article. It's the polar opposite of what you see in a lot of the US, and I wish that more people in this country weren't selfish assholes. It blows my mind that people are unwilling to make such small personal sacrifices, like wearing a mask, for the benefit of their neighbors.

      On that note, what are some small, self-imposed inconveniences you put up with to improve the lives of others?

      I'll start: if I'm pulling up to a red light in the right-most lane and there's a car behind me, I'll always move over to the left. There's a chance they want to make a right turn, and there's no need for them to wait behind me for the light to cycle.

      18 votes
    11. Are there any major problems in society that we genuinely do not have any good solutions to?

      One of the most notable aspects of political discourse today is how many of the problems we have seem to have relatively simple solutions for how consequential they are: To reduce wealth...

      One of the most notable aspects of political discourse today is how many of the problems we have seem to have relatively simple solutions for how consequential they are:

      To reduce wealth inequality, we can use progressive taxation, antitrust, support of unionization so that poor people/workers have a large stake in their wages.

      To give poorer people equal opportunity, we can use welfare initiatives like free (as in paid by taxes/free at the point of use) college, better pay for teachers and more equitable resource (as in textbooks, tables, chalk distribution for schools so poor people get more equitable education to rich people.

      To reduce crime, violence and repeat sentencing we can reduce poverty (see the top question), encourage mental health initiatives and do not have cops take thatand have jail be rehabilitative rather than punitive.

      To make make software less centralized and invasive, we can require Internet companies give you full, immediate disclosure of all the forms your data will be used and let people opt out of all of them, delete all their data, and also enforce antitrust when it comes to social media platforms (I.E Facebook should not own Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and their new TikTok analogue and the first thing you should see when logging into any of them is a list of ways these companies will collect your data and let you opt out of all of them and be as anonymous as you please)

      To make sure democracy is indeed representative of the people and works well, we can introduce a parliamentary system or multi-winner congressional seats and institute STV or RCV or just approval voting if you really can't have more than 1 representative for an area (the US senate is cucked)

      To make more progress in stopping COVID, we can have mass testing by the government, people must take social distancing seriously and wear masks, medics need to be taken seriously and properly supplied with PPE and all that.

      Given these solutions, what are large problems we have/will have that we genuinely don't have an answer to instead of just not wanting to do something about it?

      A few examples that come to my mind are:

      How do we get corrupion out of a government? Since the vast majority of stuff I have mentioned in this post would be done by governments and governments under extensive corruption cannot be trusted to regulate anything.

      How do we regulate news outlets to be fair and objective? We can get news outlets to be publically/popularly funded instead of ad(large-corporate)-funded and enforce antitrust, but that doesn't stop bias, outright lying and sensationalism.

      How do we get peple to change their minds? Evidence of everything I've mentioned in this post is more than around, but that hasn't convinced Republicans/conservatives. For some people groups, acceptance has literally been a decades-long political campaign to be recognized as normal or ok.

      EDIT: 3 4 more.

      How do we get people to befriend eachother and be social and tell apart those who genuinely don't want to do this and those who do but don't know how to or don't like to/aren't good at doing it in the ways usually available?

      If we choose to let the population decline (see the climate change question), are we fully prepared for the consequences of having a society that will be growing older and older, perhaps indefinitely?

      If we choose to not let the population decline and seek to keep birthrates at replacement level, how do we convince people to do so? If we don't/can't and start using things like artificial wombs to have children, who will take care of them? Do we make orphanages socially acceptable/valued and well-funded? Do we turn kindergartens and schools into a 24/7 institution and add in non-study things like housing and video games, and make teachers basically parents, but with many children to take care of?

      If electoralism fails, what can we do to still have a voice in the world? Can we do anything?

      18 votes
    12. On apathy

      Hello again! There have been quite a few posts on Tildes as of late that have rubbed my opinionated brain the wrong way. The purpose here is to have a conversation about apathy in general, less...

      Hello again!

      There have been quite a few posts on Tildes as of late that have rubbed my opinionated brain the wrong way. The purpose here is to have a conversation about apathy in general, less focused on political or social issues and more on why we've seen an increase in apathy. This isn't a public shaming or an attack on anybody in particular. Apathy is at an all time high universally, and we've had several conversations here on Tildes where it has come into play in front of important issues.

      ...Everything's fucked. We are totally and utterly done for. 2020 is the worst year ever, I want a time machine. We are all going to die. Why does any of this even matter?...

      I think we've all seen some variant of that sentiment this year, especially on the internet. It has been rough: COVID-19, the rise of fascism, climate change and ongoing political and social strife around the world. It is quite the cluster! It has been almost impossible for most of us to not look away at some point or another: turn off the news, disconnect the internet, run off into the woods (that's me!), self-isolate (thanks 'rona!) This is all entirely understandable. It's perfectly acceptable to do this for mental health reasons.

      Let's be real though, 2020 has been rough, but let's get even more cynical, shall we? In the last two decades we've seen endless war and suffering in the middle east and elsewhere, we've noticed an ongoing rise in extremism all over the world, we saw the towers fall, we've witnessed school shooting after school shooting after school shooting after school shooting, we have (Yes, we. You may have voted for someone else, but we all have a hand in this democracy.) put a fascist in office (yeah, that was going on 4 years ago), we've seen so much horrible shit happen.

      2020 isn't the outlier, I'd posit it's a combination of being the culmination of decades of growing strife and the sudden realization that total societal collapse (in a way) and the dangers that much of the 3rd and developing worlds have been facing for centuries can happen right here, right now, in our comftorable first world nations.

      So looking at these factors, it is easy to see why apathy has grown, right? I mean, in the face of all of this adversity it'd be hard to not get discouraged. We see the powers at be spins their wheels and balk at solutions; train after train screaming down the tracks, the brake lever sitting right there, we scream and scream, "PULL THE FUCKING LEVER"... they don't. For whatever reason, be it money or self interest or whatever... they don't. So yeah, fuck this system! These people are supposed to do our bidding and they don't. These leaders can't even lead, so why the fuck do we even bother? How many times does this happen? How many people do we need to elect to fix our system? How many votes, protests, rallies, legislative sessions, meetings, politician offices, social media posts? How much effort have we put in, how much does it take? I'm so fucking tired. I give up. Why the fuck do we even bother?

      We've all been in this place, and I think some of us don't want to think about it. We don't want to question why we feel this way, why political and social systems are broken, FUBAR. I'd suggest that some people feel a related guilt, they know they could be doing more but... insert excuse here. I'd venture to guess some people just honestly don't care, true apathy. Fueled by a lack of empathy that in my opinion comes from the numbness associated with witnessing atrocity after tragedy after trauma via the internet. This doesn't account for all of the apathetic populations in the world, but I think topically it covers a good portion.

      So what do we do? I could rant all day about why we need to be on the streets. I could lecture about how a functioning society is a privilege and that it takes good willed effort to maintain. I could soapbox for the rest of my life about how a functioning democracy is not just a privilege but a requirement and that, it too, takes effort. That's not what I want to do though! Me or somebody else talking to people about apathy most often turns into talking at the apathetic masses. Talking at isn't a conversation and it almost never bears fruit.

      So Tildes, I defer to you. What do you think we need to do to reform our society and political system to a functioning point? How do we stoke people to make the effort? As it is currently, that won't happen in America it seems. So what's the solution? We know why there is apathy, how do we beat it?

      10 votes
    13. Digital Lithium

      I'd like to preface this with saying I'm not a super big fan of the internet. While it's a great tool and places like Tildes exist, I'd posit that a vast majority of the internet is less utility...

      I'd like to preface this with saying I'm not a super big fan of the internet. While it's a great tool and places like Tildes exist, I'd posit that a vast majority of the internet is less utility and more waste of mental space for most people. How much information does the typical web page for different types of content offer? How much do we intend to absorb? How much do we actually absorb? Most people say it is a decreasing trend, the web page offers (in ELI5 fashion) three informations, we try to absorb two, we generally only get one.

      I believe it's different now-a-days. The web page offers two, we intend to absorb one, but we end up with three informations. Modern internet journalism preys on our emotions, social media preys on our emotions. The authors of major internet outlets sensationalize everything. So we end up with:

      1. The information we are interested in.
      2. The superfluous information, often irrelevant, through content like advertisements, "related topics/articles/pages" and other people's comments (not always made in good faith or constructive).
      3. Our emotional reaction. This is something that while engineered by the content creators, only exists in our minds.

      Like any good book, we pick up the content and when we put it down we walk away with more to think about than what was originally written. Except, what do we do when this concept is detrimental to societal development and our own health?

      Then we think about the speed of information. What prompted this entire post for me was an article I was reading on CNN today, about the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee. This is not a man I have any sympathy for, I do not like him or any ideas he represented. A man convicted of killing three people and a self-proclaimed white supremacist was executed this morning.

      This morning.

      I got into town this morning and read the article, it had been posted 10 minutes prior.

      10 minutes.

      Mr. Lee was pronounced dead at 8:07AM ET. I read this article at about 6:30AM MT. Within 30 or so minutes of a man being killed for what the state claims is his crime, I was informed by an internet article. I am about 2000 miles away from where this man was killed.

      30 minutes.

      I have been off the internet for quite some time, so I'm getting back into the groove a little bit. This hit me like a truck, had this occurred 3 months ago I don't think I would have flinched. What kind of world do we live in, where a ubiquitous monstrosity called the internet can so easily desensitize us to the fact that a human being was just killed by the state for their crimes?

      I offer no sympathies for the man or his actions, I do not wish this to be a post about the death penalty but that is still a human being that was just killed. I argue not whether or not he should have been executed, I instead posit that our reactions as a society are a testament to how much empathy and humanity has been lost in the modern age. In the grand scheme of things, for everybody but the most intimately familiar and impacted people, this is just a headline. It will be forgotten in a few days, life will go on. I believe this is a direct consequence of the aforementioned information overload in association with emotionally driven content.

      Is this the world we created? Is this how we want to live? In this society where the loss of one is equal to the loss of none? Even the loss of a distant many is inconsequential in the modern, desensitized age. I believe we as a people are numbed by our own creations, and I honestly don't know what we can do about it.

      9 votes
    14. What does your ideal society look like?

      We all want changes to our societies that we think would be beneficial, either for ourselves, our families, or as a whole. Rarely do I see discussion on a personal level of what posters envision...

      We all want changes to our societies that we think would be beneficial, either for ourselves, our families, or as a whole. Rarely do I see discussion on a personal level of what posters envision for society at whole. So I figured I'd try that here. You can be as expansive as you'd like. Economy, governmental structure, citizen responsibility, guaranteed rights, etc. You can make it a future utopia or what you think could be feasible today.

      27 votes
    15. How did we reach 7 billion people without informing/educating all about how we really live?

      [M/29/small town India, English isn't my first language] I'll admit to being what is called a country bumpkin. The education I received was lacking in many ways, I wasn't taught about the real...

      [M/29/small town India, English isn't my first language]

      I'll admit to being what is called a country bumpkin. The education I received was lacking in many ways, I wasn't taught about the real world, I never really thought about how the food on my plate was grown or how we plunder the living world for resources etc.

      My question is, how did humanity reach 7 billion plus people without even paying a thought about educating the kids properly.

      There is a bitter irony to the fact that we have all been convinced to use the word "growth" to describe what is ultimately a process of depletion and breakdown. tweet

      If we are depleting the earth of all resources, how will coming generations live?

      But if we don't grow, how can we progress?

      Edit: Why can't we have good quality education for everyone and good quality healthcare for everyone on this planet?

      21 votes
    16. I'd like to talk about the world these days, care to join in?

      Hey, friends. I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to talk and converse. Please, feel free to join in. I'm not trying to make any points or whatnot, but I need to get this out of my head....

      Hey, friends. I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to talk and converse. Please, feel free to join in. I'm not trying to make any points or whatnot, but I need to get this out of my head.

      It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see that there is a lot going on these days. I know that there's always a lot going on, but it just seems to be on my mind a lot more than it used to. I'm unsure if it's because things out there actually are heating up, if the current news cycle is finally paying some attention, if I'm just more interested/aware as I get older, or if it's some combination of these. Regardless, it just seems like there's so much to think about.

      To begin, there's the domestic stuff. We have an inevitable recession coming our way sooner than later (recessions being a feature of our application of Capitalism, after all), and, of course, the mess in the other Washington. I'm doing my best to keep up with the impeachment, while not letting it really "get to me". As I get older, I find that I care more and more about the wellbeing of my country, and the utter shame that is this current administration makes me genuinely concerned for the health of our nation and the people in it. I cannot help but think to myself that I am watching the arguably most significant political crisis since Watergate unfolding before me - live, in real-time. It's wild, as you know that you live through history in the making, but you never really think that you're going to live through something of this caliber.

      While I'm hopeful that our own brush with populism will turn out OK (our 3 branch government is remarkably robust), I still worry about us and the other countries that are dealing with it now too. We have Bolsonaro and Duerte, Brexit and Trump. We have the mess in Bolivia, and frankly I still don't exactly have my head wrapped fully around what the hell is actually going on there. We have the trickery of Putin and his loyal cronies. Even populism aside, we have the unrest and violence in Lebanon, Syria, Chile and Iran. And of course, let's not forget our friends in Hong Kong.

      I look at the HK situation and feel extra helpless. I was 7 when Tiananmen Square happened, and I kinda remember it. I certainly remember tank man on the news, but that was about it. I see what's going on in Hong Kong and I cannot get past the feeling that they're literally fighting a losing battle for their lives. I can't imagine how they'll survive this without getting steamrolled, unless a foreign power steps in. You know that'll alter the course of the 21st century. I mean, hell. Even if things turn out rosy, this is still probably one of the most significant events of this century. And here I am, watching it in real-time again.

      This isn't even touching on the literal concentration camps that China is running for the Uighur Muslims. Shit, even my own country is running camps for children right now. How TF does this even happen? By the time half of us even find out, these camps have already been up and running for a good while. What can you even do?

      Then there is a the ever-looming specter that haunts us and feels inescapable: global warming. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one, just a quick peek at the fires and floods, droughts and melting glaciers says it all. Again, we're along for this ride in an enormous mechanism that individually we are wholly powerless against. I sincerely hope that we do manage to engineer our way out of the worst of climate change, but I am honestly not hopeful that we will limit our emissions enough to keep us under the 4° warming that we're seemingly on the trajectory for. I sure won't be alive in 2100, but my youngest nibblings just might - or at least their kids will be. What kind of world are we leaving for them?

      How will these things affect and feed off each other? Will we look at the period between WWII and the early 21st century as one of unusual peace and prosperity?

      This stuff keeps me up at night, and sometimes it feels like doing your best is just a vain exercise in futility. I know it's not, in that everyone doing their best would make huge changes, and that no matter what happens, I can go to my grave in good conscience knowing that I did what I could. Still, some days it all feels like too much, you know?

      Anyway, thank you for listening to me, and letting me talk. There's a few people in my life that share the same concerns, but it's hard to find anyone to talk to about the breadth of all this shit that there is to worry about.

      So, anonymous strangers on the internet, how are you feeling about the world situation these days?

      21 votes
    17. Where do you get your sense of community and belonging from?

      I watched this talk with David Brooks and I was blown away. It was an eloquent talk with strong words on how we need to find our sense of community again at a variety of levels (local to...

      I watched this talk with David Brooks and I was blown away. It was an eloquent talk with strong words on how we need to find our sense of community again at a variety of levels (local to national).

      So I'm curious, what communities are you involved in? If you don't have a sense of belonging, where would you like to belong?

      I suppose online communities would count, but I think the point is to have away-from-keyboard interactions because of the additional layers of intimacy.

      19 votes
    18. What are good, modern right-wing values anyways?

      I'm in too much of a left-wing echo chamber, to the point where anything conservative or right wing appears to be 'evil' or not necessarily purely right-wing. For example, conservatives generally...

      I'm in too much of a left-wing echo chamber, to the point where anything conservative or right wing appears to be 'evil' or not necessarily purely right-wing. For example, conservatives generally promote family values and the family as the foundational unit of a society. But this too often gets grouped together with same/opposite sex marriage arguments. Another point is small government, but that often manifests in deregulation in areas where regulation is now necessary (e.g. environment).

      So, what does it mean to be an ethical right-winger today and in the next decade?

      40 votes
    19. In what ways is the world better now than it was ten years ago?

      I could use some optimism and positive reframing right now, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. As such, I want to know about some good things! Progress and such! In my question, I asked about "the...

      I could use some optimism and positive reframing right now, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. As such, I want to know about some good things! Progress and such!

      In my question, I asked about "the world" but I am really interested in any example, no matter how global or local. It also doesn't have to be explicitly human-focused, so feel free to gush about the improvements in, say, a programming language you love, or the tabletop gaming ruleset you use. I'm interested in positive examples of all types.

      20 votes
    20. How do you define your masculinity/femininity?

      In lieu of the recent Gillette ad, and seeing as the conversation around it has stirred the pot quite a bit, I wanted to propose a conversation where we start from the very beginning: Without yet...

      In lieu of the recent Gillette ad, and seeing as the conversation around it has stirred the pot quite a bit, I wanted to propose a conversation where we start from the very beginning:

      Without yet talking about subsets, variants, or interpretations of masculinity/femininity (toxic or otherwise). How do you define it for yourself: what makes you masculine or feminine, or what parts of you would you describe as such, do you feel that those things go as universal descriptors or are they specific to your case?

      There may also be some deeper questions in here about where you think you gained this conception (your family? your immediate circle of contacts? Role models?) or who you think best embodies your ideal definition of your gender.

      23 votes
    21. If human population stops rising or decreases, what will be the negative effects for people?

      From the environmental standpoint shrinking of human population is often quoted to have desirable effects, and that's reasonable. But from the point of view of our daily lives and functioning of...

      From the environmental standpoint shrinking of human population is often quoted to have desirable effects, and that's reasonable. But from the point of view of our daily lives and functioning of the human society, what negatives could we then expect? (I mean a soft decline due to lower birth rates, not some abrupt events.)

      For example, with smaller population fewer music albums could be made every year than some time before, and people would maybe feel less inspired and satisfied. Less scientific research, less choices for relationships... and maybe other things? Would being more technically advanced compensate for the issues? Won't we feel ourselves in oblivion and romanticize the "numerous" past?

      15 votes
    22. What does the online / social media world look like to you, what would you want?

      Some of you may have heard that Google+ will be shutting down in August, 2019. Though much criticised (including by me), the site offered some compelling dynamics, and I've reflected a lot on...

      Some of you may have heard that Google+ will be shutting down in August, 2019. Though much criticised (including by me), the site offered some compelling dynamics, and I've reflected a lot on those.

      I'm involved in the effort to find new homes for Plussers and Communities, which has become something of an excuse to explore and redefine what "online" and "social" media are ("PlexodusWiki").

      Part of this involves some frankly embarrassing attempts to try to define what social media is, and what its properties are (both topics reflected heavily in the recent-changes section of the wiki above).

      Tildes is ... among the potential target sites (there are a few Plussers, some of whom I really appreciated knowing and hearing from there), here, though the site dynamics make discovering and following them hard. This site is evolving its own culture and dynamics, parts of which I'm becoming aware of.

      I've been online for well over 30 years, and discovered my first online communities via Unix talk, email, FTP, and Usenet, as well as (no kidding) a computerised university library catalogue system. Unsurprisingly: if you provide a way, especially for bright and precocious minds to interact with one another, they will. I've watched several evolutions of Internet and Web, now increasing App-based platforms. There are differences, but also similarities and patterns emerging. Lessons from previous eras of television, radio, telephony, telegraphy, print, writing, oral traditions, and more, can be applied.

      I've got far more questions than answers and thought I'd put a few out here:

      • What does online or social media mean to you? Is it all user-generated content platforms? Web only? Apps? Email or chat? Wikis? GitHub, GitLab, and StackExchange?

      • Is social networking as exemplified by Facebook or Twitter net good or bad? Why? If bad, how might you fix it? Or is it time to simply retreat?

      • What properties or characteristics would you use to specify, define, or distinguish social or online media?

      • What emergent properties -- site dynamics, if you will -- are positive or negative? What are those based on?

      • What are the positive and negative aspects of scale?

      • What risks would you consider in self-hosting either your own or a group's online presence?

      • What is/was the best online community experience you've had? What characterised it? How did it form? How did it fail (if it did)?

      • What elements would comprise your ideal online experience?

      • What would you nuke from orbit, after takeoff, just to be sure?

      • Are you or your group seeking new options or platforms? What process / considerations do you have?

      I could keep going and will regret not adding other questions, but this is a good start. Feel free to suggest other dimensions, though some focus on what I've prompted with would be appreciated.

      19 votes
    23. White girls in cars drinking coffee

      I've been sick the last couple of days; cooped up in my dark basement apartment. I've been dying to get outside, but it's misting and cloudy, so I went to Starbucks drive thru and drove to a...

      I've been sick the last couple of days; cooped up in my dark basement apartment. I've been dying to get outside, but it's misting and cloudy, so I went to Starbucks drive thru and drove to a nearby park to sit and read. I opened all the windows and reclined my seat in the park's deserted parking lot. After a few minutes, a police car came up the driveway, pulled into the parking lot kinda fast and drove up to my car. I got ready to talk to him, but he averted course, drove around my car in a circle, glanced at my face (pleasant smile) and drove off again.

      The whole situation left me feeling a little pensive. I'm a young-ish white woman in a ten-ish year old car, drinking tea and reading a book (though i doubt he got close enough to see that part) in a parking lot of a deserted park on a rainy day. How could the story have changed if I was a darker color and/or/and a different gender? Would that cop have still driven off? Possibly. Hopefully. Or would he have inconvenienced me? Questioned me, demeaned me, dehumanized me? Would he have given me the benefit of the doubt? If i got scared because of a lifetime of tense police encounters, would he have hurt me, tazed me, shot me?

      I get the basics of managing risk. But having dark skin does not predispose us to be risky. Systemic oppression, un/official smear campaigns, mistrust, xenophobia, unequal opportunity, gerrymandering, propaganda have taught us that white girls in cars drinking coffee in a parking lot on a rainy evening are less risky than a black man in his home or his neighborhood or in his car drinking coffee in a parking lot on a rainy evening. And it hurts us all.

      I haven't posted in a while, and I want to do my part; also, I wanted to tell this story, but not on Facebook. Thanks.

      33 votes
    24. Thoughts on male relationships

      Right now, the number one post on my personal Reddit feed is this: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/9bryj8/straight_guys_of_reddit_whats_the_most_intimate/ Reading through this made me...

      Right now, the number one post on my personal Reddit feed is this: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/9bryj8/straight_guys_of_reddit_whats_the_most_intimate/

      Reading through this made me feel quite a few different emotions, but I would say that my biggest takeaway is disappointment.

      I'm pretty young, being in my late twenties, but I know that the largest Reddit demographic is younger than me. And it terrifies me to see that people who are probably less than 15 years younger than me appear to be far more stricken by toxic masculinity than I was when I was their age. Right now the top response is a story about someone scratching his friend's back during a military deployment. He later mentions that his comrades gave him a hard time for it. Is the idea of machismo so fragile that we cannot take simple actions - even to provide relief to a friend?

      I'll be the first to admit that a single AskReddit thread is not going to be an accurate representation of the levels of intimacy men actually give each other. But the simple fact that it's full of jokes, to me, makes it appear that they are using humor as a defense mechanism.

      The fact that young men have so many barriers preventing them from building bonds with other men in a society often partitioned by gender deeply concerns me. I worry that this is the beginning of a societal issue in the same vein as racism was for our parents and grandparents and will only cause more problems as we age and gain political sway.

      I'm bringing this up here because I would like some perspective on this. I've always been very sympathetic to other people, and my views as a gay man are obviously going to be different from straight men. Where is this toxicity coming from? Is there a way we can stop it, or is it already ingrained in the collective psyche?

      29 votes
    25. Political correctness: Where do we draw the line on drawing lines?

      This post will be discussing the nature of political correctness and its ramifications on our culture, intended to analyze current trends and provide a basis for discussion on a very relevant...

      This post will be discussing the nature of political correctness and its ramifications on our culture, intended to analyze current trends and provide a basis for discussion on a very relevant issue in our society. This is a long post, so buckle up.

      DISCLAIMERS

      Before I begin, I will begin a series of disclaimers, as I’ll be making a lot of claims in this piece, so sorry for the length. For the sake of this post, I will be assuming the role of a neutral character, with no intended leanings towards any political or cultural ideology. Any reference that I make towards a specific side of the spectrum of politics or to social cultures does not reflect my personal opinion on them nor show a bias/prejudice towards that side. I would also like to note that, while I’m trying to make this a quality read about politically correct culture, this isn’t a lecture, a thesis, a Pulitzer article, or even a simple college essay, and is simply very informal essay. A lot of what I say goes off of either whatever comes off the top of my head or things that I find out from a quick search on Google. Some things may or may not be correct, and if they are, please feel free to call me out for it in the comments.

      With that said, let’s get into it: Political correctness. Defined by a Google search as “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”, has become a powerful influence in the media that people consume as more and more creators, fans, and everything in between try to avoid language or dialect that would offend audiences. Our society progressively has become more and more PC (politically correct) due to an increasing attempt to remove toxic or otherwise harmful material, generally rhetoric like slurs or playing upon stereotypes, from media in an attempt to create a safer, more friendly environment and community, especially for those who often feel targeted by such harsh rhetoric. PC culture is inherently good-willed with an unquestionably noble goal fueling it. However, in the act of making more and more things PC, the media that is affected changes, for better or for worse. In the viewpoint of many, PC culture has become increasingly threatening to the quality of the media they consume, as the element of vulgarity that media possesses sometimes is attributed to their success or favorability. An increase in avoiding content that is in any way threatening to a certain culture has upset many because it dampens the reality of the content, affects its strength, or births new weaknesses. In short, people believe that making things more PC is making them less good.

      The big question of this post is why PC culture matters to the opinions of those who digest media affected by it. It is a question with a myriad of answers, as its influence has been taken in many directions. As iterated before, some claim that it strips away the reality of the content and provides a false reality or delusional perspective; some claim that it softens content too much and dampens the quality; and others think that it is simply stupid to try to be so friendly with what content they make or consume. The element of vulgarity that political incorrectness adds to content makes things more interesting than what they actually are, ironically because they highlight or exaggerate the reality of what they offer, and taking that away from people or reducing it takes away that precious component by avoiding any sort of offensive material. Take SNL, for instance; their skits like Black Jeopardy plays upon Black culture/stereotypes and is widely acclaimed for the hilarity of their vulgarity, but were it to face a demand for more PCness, it would lose a lot of the charm it had because of the necessary avoidance of content that would offend Black culture. The problem with this is that offensive material is not always a great sin that must be purged away. Material that PC culture can see as offensive encompasses a great deal of things, from simple slurs to stereotypes of cultures and societies. While it is good, even preferable, that things such as slurs or directly offensive comments are censored or dismissed, other forms of content seen as offensive are necessary to provide an ounce of harsh reality to the content that is provided. A specific example of such a case would be how the news handled the increase of refugee crimes in Germany and Sweden since those countries took in more Syrian immigrants. PC culture would try to dissolve the correlation as one being the product of another, but non-PC content would assume that the increase in refugees led to that increase. While it is very offensive to assume that the large intake of Syrians has led to that increase, being too PC by dancing around the issue and saying that refugees from other countries relatively contribute the same amount to the violence would be feigning ignorance to a clear and very possible causality, ultimately affecting the quality of the news piece. The same could be said for many other things, like TV shows, blog posts, etc.; When concerning or including potentially controversial content, avoiding the elements that make them controversial or ignoring them takes away from the media’s effectiveness. In other words, being too PC and removing the gritty elements of something can remove the punch that it has and make it seem fake, uninteresting, or any other dissatisfying adjective.

      That’s not to say that offensive material must be in abundance, however; one must never have too much of something, as it may upset the balance of acceptable and unacceptable content. But certain material like social commentary, often in the form of societal stereotypes or portrayals of a culture, is a necessary element to add truth or interest in whatever is being made, albeit it being handled with an utmost delicacy and respect. Saying that the increase in refugee crimes means that all Syrians are criminals, scum of the earth, and a true representation of how shit the Middle East/Islam is would be greatly offensive and also detract from the quality/esteem that that news piece may have. Having the PC to refer to them less offensively, as well as discussing the issue in a manner that doesn’t clearly perpetuate Syrians as the devil, allows for the controversial content to be taken more seriously, basically adding civility to otherwise provoking content. On a gentler note, Black Jeopardy often plays upon the tropes of black culture on relatable, universal grounds, like home culture or the more meaningful discrimination from white people. It doesn’t say that all black people act without genteel to one another or that all white people are evil/stupid, but plays upon familiar stereotypes and experiences shared by many people of both races and enhances their hilarity with their trademark controlled crudity. While this example reflects how PC culture can mitigate offensiveness, it can also bridge gaps between people by portraying them as equals, not separated the nature of their age, sex, race, sexuality, or disabilities. Diversity within a space, such as a profession, a community, or group, is PC culture at its best, for it highlights inclusiveness and unity that political incorrectness would draw borders with. It allows people of any background to pursue the same career choices or interests without discrimination or other forms of inequality, putting forward the message that despite the differences those people may have, they are still human beings, one alike to another, all part of one human society.

      Now that we’ve gone over the merits of both PC and non-PC culture, it’s time to evaluate the consequences that they each have on society. I say consequences because the developments both cultures set precedents for how media controls the amounts of PC put into their content as more and more new media juggles the amounts of friendly content they put in and the vulgar content they take out; and of course, vice versa. Political correctness has shown a powerful trendsetting effect in that once an action is called out for not being PC, it creates a rippling effect where all other forms of media avoid that un-PC element. If you take the Me Too Movement, once sexual harassment claims have been made against one big Hollywood figure, a million more followed in its wake, and now many Hollywood big wigs and US politicians reel in the fear of getting “Me Too’d” and losing their job/getting indicted. While it’s not a real presentation of PC culture at work, the Me Too movement’s rippling effect demonstrates how severe PC culture has influencing society, as now the sexually harassed don’t feel the need to cower behind the fear of denial and claims of insanity that would have been used against them pre-Me Too. And while it’s excellent that sexual harassers are getting what’s coming to them, the crossfire catches many unfortunate victims in the rise of Me Too and its anti-sexual harassment waves. James Gunn is a very relevant example of this, as his history of highly distasteful vulgar Tweets caught up to him and led to his expulsion due to Disney’s attempts to be PC. But Gunn’s expulsion has caused a big issue since he’s not actually a rapist or someone who has harassed his actors, but simply someone who made a couple of extremely stupid jokes, jokes which he had already apologized for 6 years ago. Despite apologizing twice, Gunn is still seen as too much of an un-PC person to work under Disney. This presents the problem of PC culture having too high of a sensitivity for things that they think are absolutely wrong and criminal. Gunn’s actions reflect the rising issue of where any hint of vulgarity in the publicity of an individual can be used against them to tarnish their image, something that has been in prudent effect by the Me Too movement. And while social justice demands that individuals like these who have a history of offenses must be reprimanded, the work that they have created shall suffer in quality after losing an essential component of what made them great. This is not to say that all individuals who have been accused and punished don’t deserve their fate, but merely a claim of consequence.

      Sensitivity is the name of the game in today’s culture. People are becoming increasingly sensitive over things that present even a hint of harm towards an individual or group, attacking that thing like vultures in order to dispel the negativity whatever comment or element that object has to enforce a positive atmosphere. This particular trend is something associated with social justice warriors, or SJWs for short, which has become something of an internet slur because of the reputation that they carry of being agents of anti-vulgarity. They have become such an issue to many people because they are being claimed to attack the right to free speech that individuals carry, becoming a nuisance to many who now have to watch what they say with extreme delicacy, lest they become swarmed by attacks by those who denounce them for their profane statements. But their actions aren’t inherently bad, they’re just people trying to create a safer environment for people who frequently find themselves harassed by the world around them. It’s simply that they exaggerate their efforts to such a point that their actions carry a negative connotation with them. They even fight fire with fire, attacking individuals and harassing them to get them to stop their offensive comments through brute force. But when you fight fire with fire, it just spreads, and those who are attacked by SJWs and see them as a threat to their experiences will double their anti-PC nature to combat these SJWs, creating a loop of toxicity as both sides wage a war to maintain their ideal community. This is unfortunately the great conundrum of PC vs anti-PC: Two sides fighting for absolutes that can never be achieved. SJWs and advocates for absolute PC environments will never achieve it because there will always be people who want to speak their mind about people and things that others will find offensive, and anyone can get offended by anything. A truly PC environment would have to restrict all forms of communication, otherwise someone will eventually get offended and upset the “harmony” the absolute PC achieves. On the other side of the spectrum, an environment without any form of PC will find itself quarreling with each other all the time as people will lack the restraint to say offensive things and therefore find themselves at ends with whatever group their speech or actions offend. An environment without PC is an environment without rules, and an absence of rules will result in chaos.

      Now the question to this is: Where’s the sweet spot? If too much PC and too little are both bad, is the medium the best? In truth, I don’t really think any balance of PC and anti-PC will ever be truly perfect. There will always be advocates for both sides fighting to increase the influence of whatever they fight for, and the balance will always tip to one side or the other. Fortunately for the human race, we have the ability to exercise a lack of care. The reality of this feud is that there will always be something you don’t like, and nothing you or people like you can do will change that fact. You can call out as many sexual predators, societal offenders, and all other forms of anti-PC individuals all you want, but you won’t stop people from doing it. You can label SJWs as thin-skinned and juvenile all you want, but you’ll only be feeding the fire. The only happy solution to this issue is to simply accept the reality that you can’t create a perfect world for yourself by changing everyone else. You can keep fighting the battles and win as many as you’d like, but you’ll never win the war. If you’re someone who wants the absolutes, you’ll never get it. The only semblance of peace you’ll get is accepting there will always be bad.

      PC and anti-PC cultures both possess a merit to them valuable to our society: PC culture imposes civility and friendliness to all people, especially those who are frequently discriminated or treated unfairly, ensuring they feel safe, happy, and equal to their fellows; anti-PC culture, however, advocates for the freedom to say what needs to be said, and while it is vulgar, it is real, and reality must be embraced. People may always fight with each other for each side as they get increasingly sensitive, and sometimes even do something that turns the tides for them, but they will never truly defeat one or the other. The balance between them is always shifting and will never really settle, but the beauty of this war is that it teaches us about people, about their experiences and their beliefs, and help us come to terms with reality. Whether we want to change that reality for the better or champion its present merits, it is, and always will be, up to us.

      Thanks for reading. Feel free to discuss, criticize, compliment, etc. in the comments.

      15 votes
    26. Emergency medical services in America

      This comes from an article in Current Affairs, which to be upfront is an openly leftist publication. I thought it was an interesting anecdote, especially with the news from a few weeks ago about...

      This comes from an article in Current Affairs, which to be upfront is an openly leftist publication. I thought it was an interesting anecdote, especially with the news from a few weeks ago about the woman in Boston begging for people not to call an ambulance for her because she wouldn't be able to afford it (which is also mentioned in the article).

      I was in a New York City diner two nights ago and something disturbing happened. It was about 2am, and a woman was sitting alone in the next booth. She was disheveled and possibly homeless, and looked unwell. She had been eating a plate of food, but then sprawled herself along the seat and fell asleep. Someone in the restaurant must have called 911, because an ambulance showed up. They parked directly in front of the entrance and left the flashing lights on, and through the large windows the lights filled the restaurant and were overwhelmingly dazzling. The two paramedics approached the woman and told her to sit up. She mumbled a refusal. They insisted. As she finally sat up, bleary, they told her she would need to leave with them and that she should pay her bill. She replied that she had no money. The paramedics became upset, one of them asking her why she would order food if she couldn’t pay for it, and telling her she’d need to pay before they left. While the paramedics stood issuing her instructions as she muttered and fumbled, a young man at the front of the restaurant quietly approached a server and paid her bill. He then told the paramedics he had paid for her. They looked vaguely annoyed, and told her she should be grateful that a stranger just paid for her. The woman did not seem to comprehend, and just made a noise. Then the paramedics took her out to the ambulance. In the hour or so I stayed in the restaurant, the ambulance didn’t leave, and kept its lights on.

      Here’s why I was disturbed: the paramedics did not act like health professionals. They acted like cops. At first, I thought they were cops. Their uniform was similar, and the dazzling flashing lights were like police lights, and had the same bewildering effect. They were more concerned with whether the woman had paid her debts than whether she was okay. They had very clear contempt for her, treating her as a nuisance who was bothering restaurant patrons and needed to be removed. She wasn’t actually bothering anyone, of course; I was sitting in the next booth and had barely noticed her, and there were plenty of spare booths in the diner. But the paramedics were aggressive and unsympathetic in the way that many cops are. Incidents like the one I saw must happen constantly all across the country: homeless people and drug addicts (I don’t know whether the woman was intoxicated or on drugs, though it seemed somewhat likely) not being cared for with compassion, but being “policed” even by those who are supposed to be selflessly devoted to the improvement of health. The flashing lights were totally unnecessary, and made the whole diner feel like a police raid. And, of course, how typical of America that the issue of whether you can pay the bill is more important than whether you will live or die.

      What do you think of this? If you've had an experience with emergency medical services, how did it compare?

      11 votes
    27. Residents of the Bay Area, CA, how do we address the homeless camps littering the streets of Oakland and surrounding towns?

      Before we get started, PLEASE, no political agenda harping, shit posting, trolling, etc. This is something that is on a sharp increase right now in the Bay Area and I'm genuinely wanting to hear...

      Before we get started, PLEASE, no political agenda harping, shit posting, trolling, etc. This is something that is on a sharp increase right now in the Bay Area and I'm genuinely wanting to hear other people's thoughts and opinions on this.

      The homeless camps have officially reached an out of control level. There is no denying this. Trash and used hypodermic needles litter the streets. Drug use and sales is seen on street corners near the camps. I personally have seen residents of the camps painting graffiti in broad day light. There are unsafe cooking set ups causing explosions and fires putting residents at risk and leaving charred remains for weeks at a time. Cite: https://evilleeye.com/news-commentary/public-safety/explosion-home-depot-homeless-encampment-rattles-emeryville-west-oakland-neighbors/

      What is going on here? How come cities are not cleaning this stuff up? I realize that if the city did conduct some massive eviction/clean up, the residents would just move somewhere else. But what about the trash? Can't that be cleaned up? In many places, I've seen it up to the ankles of people walking around in the camps.

      I truly don't know what the non-camp residents are suppose to do? Do we just turn a blind eye and let the trash pile up? Or do we demand action to keep our streets clean and safe?

      16 votes
    28. What defines a perfect human?

      My friend and I were talking the other day about how for a perfect society to exist, surely every person within that society must also be perfect, which lead us to discussing what defines a...

      My friend and I were talking the other day about how for a perfect society to exist, surely every person within that society must also be perfect, which lead us to discussing what defines a perfect human.

      Clearly we live in a imperfect world and therefore it can never be accomplished, but we realised there are multiple ways in which a perfect human could be defined. This included such parameters such as emotional stability, morally perfect, physically perfect (whether or not this is even possible) and a whole array of other parameters that have escaped my memory.

      What do you think defines the perfect human, assuming it's even possible in the first place? Should it just be defined by one parameter or a mix, and would some parameters be valued higher over others? For example, is a perfect moral compass more valued over physical perfection? I would love to hear your guys take on the question.

      EDIT: By perfect I mean functioning within a society perfectly.

      2 votes
    29. Will automation affect society positively or negatively?

      Many occupations are set to be automated in the near future: truck(lorry) driving, cashiers, and various other service sector jobs. See the full paper here[PDF]. Will such a reallocation of labour...

      Many occupations are set to be automated in the near future: truck(lorry) driving, cashiers, and various other service sector jobs. See the full paper here[PDF].

      Will such a reallocation of labour be a net positive or net negative?

      Will societies around the world adapt by offering ways to retrain those that lost their jobs, or by providing temporary assistance in some manner?

      Or, perhaps, will those people who lose when the next automation wave comes just be ignored, as they would negatively affect the capitalists bottom line.

      26 votes
    30. Farm to table automation

      I think automation is coming quick and fast and think that a landmark event will be when food can be farmed, packaged, shipped and sold without requiring any humans to be involved. I see the...

      I think automation is coming quick and fast and think that a landmark event will be when food can be farmed, packaged, shipped and sold without requiring any humans to be involved. I see the foundations in place already with Amazon Go and autonomous vehicles and it doesn't seem like too much longer before this kind of automation could be possible in my mind.

      Anybody want to weigh in with thoughts/discussion? What effects might it bring? Will it lead to a sort of monopoly as the food could be sold so much cheaper? When might this scale of automation be plausible? Anything really, just looking to spark some discussion :)

      5 votes