Saturday, December 4, 2021

Why is it only spoiled, privileged men whine about "cancel culture"?

Colbert: "If cancel culture is real, why is Mel Gibson still working?"

He is, as expected, very thoughtful and insightful. As he notes, what some privileged men complain about is that they can't say whatever they want with impunity. Now, however, there might be consequences. Specifically -- people might be mean on Twitter. Meanwhile: school shootings, trans people murdered, the continued erosion of democracy

Also, I'd like to emphasize Colbert's point that it is not funny or brave to punch down. It is cowardly and pathetic. 

Band on the Run

While the Beatles were world-changing, Paul McCartney did a lot of great stuff since 1970. I'm not just saying this because he's been an outspoken vegetarian. Also, I know several people who have seen him in concert and say it was amazing.

Band on the Run

Sing the Changes (better sound quality here)

Full "Fireman: Electric Arguments" album here. Good luck to you (and me) to do anything 1% as creative at age 66! (Back in 2008)

Friday, December 3, 2021

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Progressives and Greens Are About to Overturn Roe

You don't have to look far to find stories of the horrors that are about to be unleashed once the Court overturns Roe vs Wade. But it is important to realize that we on the left only have ourselves to blame.

In the year 2000, many more people in Florida voted for Green candidate Ralph Nader than was Bush's "margin" over Gore. Bush appointed two SCOTUS justices. 

In 2016, more people in WI, MI, and PA voted for Green candidate Jill Stein than was Orange Julius' margins over Hillary Clinton. Cheeto Benito appointed three justices, including the replacements for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy.

If people had voted for the best possible option, none of that would have happened. But a bunch of mostly well-off white people thought their personal short-term feelings were more important than the lives of mostly poor women, and all the other marginalized people who will be fucked-over by this court over the next decades.

Bravo. And: Fuck You. This is your legacy:

Monday, November 29, 2021

The World of Tomorrow

Imagine that tomorrow, we discovered an world orbiting the Sun directly opposite of the Earth. It has the same inclination and the same size moon. It has an average temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, with oceans covering 73% of the world, and ice covering 7% of the world. It is teaming with life, although there are no humans or similar species.

It would be a miracle, no? We would definitely stop planning to go to Mars, with its average temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The mirror Earth described above is what our world will be under climate change. 

Be honest: wouldn't it be better if there was no more Florida?

Again, I don't mean to imply that climate change is not serious. It is, but not because the world will be "uninhabitable" (1, 2). Climate change will cause a lot of suffering because we have set up our civilizations under the previous climate - living along coasts and river deltas, growing certain crops certain places, suppressing fires that have normally been a part of the ecosystem, etc. If we actually took suffering seriously, we would be hard at work adjusting civilization to the coming new norms. But instead, many of us just keep demanding zero emissions while emissions continue to rise.

Meanwhile, Biden has passed the nation's largest climate investment ever

PS: You want uninhabitable? Check out Snowball Earth.

PPS: Tweeting about “climate emergency” rather than “climate change” makes you seem less credible.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Beatles >> The Rolling Stones

I am a big fan of The Rolling Stones, but I find it incredible that there is a debate of them vs The Beatles. It is like debating Charles Barkley vs LeBron. 

The history of music would basically be the same if the Stones had never existed. The Beatles, though, changed everything.

That said, here are the Stones in one of my favorite movies, The Big Chill:

And here is an underrated song, Waiting on a Friend:

Friday, November 26, 2021

Two Bits

Me: The first victim of the best con-man is himself.
(I say this as someone who has been conned.)

Holden Karnofsky (of Open Phil; emphasis added): 

Most of what I believe is mostly based on trusting other people. 

For example: 

• I brush my teeth twice a day, even though I've never read a study on the effects of brushing one's teeth, never tried to see what happens when I don't brush my teeth, and have no idea what's in toothpaste. It seems like most reasonable-seeming people think it's worth brushing your teeth, and that's about the only reason I do it. 

• I believe climate change is real and important, and that official forecasts of it are probably reasonably close to the best one can do. I have read a bunch of arguments and counterarguments about this, but ultimately I couldn't tell you much about how the climatologists' models actually work, or specifically what is wrong with the various skeptical points people raise. Most of my belief in climate change comes from noticing who is on each side of the argument and how they argue, not what they say. So it comes mostly from deciding whom to trust.

I think it's completely reasonable to form the vast majority of one's beliefs based on trust like this. I don't really think there's any alternative.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Get Fuzzy reveals the true Cowspiracy

"Hittin' on your sister at the company do" cracks us up every time.

Click for larger.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Counterpoint: Things Are Good

From here:

"It hasn't even been a year since COVID vaccinations began and worldwide 7.74 billion doses of the vaccine have been given out -- and 3.31 billion people are fully vaccinated. There's a lot of work to be done, but that's a simply astounding number."

It is painful to see the media pine for Cheeto Jeesus

What incredibly lazy, shitty reporting. I know ratings were higher under the former guy, but going out of your way to make things seem worse when they are better is borderline criminal.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Madam Secretary

Most people know we're enormous fans of the first four seasons of The West Wing. Based on that, some people said to watch Madam Secretary. We started it at one point and didn't think much. We were later prompted to revisit it on Netflix, and that time really liked it. (It was also hard for me to get into Fleabag.)

Madam Secretary can be somewhat Hollywood and sometimes simplistic, but overall we highly recommend it. Like Colbert and The Good Fight, it is another of CBS's shows in the Resistance. 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Harvard Aint All That

The Guardian: Turns out, Harvard students aren’t that smart after all

"A whopping 43% of white students weren’t admitted on merit. One might call it affirmative action for the rich and privileged

"43% of Harvard’s white students are either recruited athletes, legacy students, on the dean’s interest list (meaning their parents have donated to the school) or children of faculty and staff. The kicker? Roughly three-quarters of these applicants would have been rejected if it weren’t for having rich or Harvard-connected parents or being an athlete."

In 2011, EK and their best pal both applied to Stanford. A different kid from their class was the only one who got in, and he had a lower SAT, lower GPA, and much worse extracurriculars than either EK or their pal. (EK was a National Merit Scholar, earned eight varsity sports letters, was state champion at Science Olympiad, etc.) But the kid who got in was a legacy. 

EK went to Pomona, which at the time was Forbes #1 school in the country. It was a great school, as were all the connected schools. But certainly having a Stanford or Harvard degree opens many more doors. It seems to me that the 1% protecting their privilege in this way should be a concern for everyone.