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Current Topic: Society

Ghost Story
Topic: Society 11:37 am EDT, Oct 28, 2009

Anne Frank:

Whenever you're feeling lonely or sad, try going to the loft on a beautiful day and looking outside. Not at the houses and the rooftops, but at the sky. As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you'll know that you're pure within and will find happiness once more.

Stefany Anne Golberg:

That's Anne Frank in a nutshell. A girl at a window, looking fearlessly at the sky.

Ghost Story

Blindness, and Seeing
Topic: Society 1:35 pm EDT, Oct  5, 2009

Caterina Fake:

So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.

Much more important than working hard is knowing how to find the right thing to work on.

Paying attention to what is going on in the world. Seeing patterns. Seeing things as they are rather than how you want them to be.

Blindness, and Seeing

Topic: Society 9:45 am EDT, May  6, 2009

flynn23 wrote:
It makes me sick.

Complete non sequitur, but this CNN story is like a poster child for news media hypocrisy. They talk and talk about all the myths that were born of news media sensationalism of the incident and then they engage in exactly the same sort of sensationalistic tone:

I referred to him — and I'm dating myself — as the Eddie Haskel of Columbine High School," says Principal Frank DeAngelis, referring to the deceptively polite teen on the 1950s and '60s sitcom Leave it to Beaver. "He was the type of kid who, when he was in front of adults, he'd tell you what you wanted to hear."

When he wasn't, he mixed napalm in the kitchen .

Was that comment about napalm really necessary? Does it help promote a better understanding of why this happened?

The bottom line is that Harris was a psychopath. He had mental illness that is most likely biological in origin that made it impossible for him to feel empathy. No external factor made him what he was. The story dances around this subject but does not hit it head on. This is a clinical disorder that effects a large number of people. It cannot be treated and it has terrible consequences.

If you want to reduce the risk of this kind of thing happening, the best way to do that is to advocate more funding for psychiatric research. I don't understand why all of the people who have been motivated to do something about Columbine never zeroed in on that simple answer. We are not spending enough money on understanding and treating these illnesses, and they are baddly misunderstood by the general public.

Donate to NARSAD, the International Mental Health Research Organization, or the American Mental Health Foundation.


Lies We Tell Kids
Topic: Society 8:58 am EDT, May  5, 2009

Paul Graham:

Adults lie constantly to kids. I'm not saying we should stop, but I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why.

I've gotten old enough that I now understand why adults seek to escape reality. Paradoxically, I think I was better at escaping reality when I was younger.

Lies We Tell Kids

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown
Topic: Society 2:43 pm EDT, Apr 22, 2009

On the night of March 8, cruising 22,000 miles above the Earth, U.S. Navy communications satellite FLTSAT-8 suddenly erupted with illicit activity. Jubilant voices and anthems crowded the channel on a junkyard's worth of homemade gear from across vast and silent stretches of the Amazon: Ronaldo, a Brazilian soccer idol, had just scored his first goal with the Corinthians.

It was a party that won't soon be forgotten. Ten days later, Brazilian Federal Police swooped in on 39 suspects in six states in the largest crackdown to date on a growing problem here: illegal hijacking of U.S. military satellite transponders. null

This is so ridiculously and awesomely Gibson-esque. Hordes of low tek from The Sprawl hacking military satellites with homebrew gear and hacker know-how.

Unbelievably Excellent!

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

RE: Trading Places: The Demographic Inversion of the American City
Topic: Society 9:18 am EDT, Mar  9, 2009

possibly noteworthy wrote:
In this decade alone, two of Atlanta's huge suburban counties, Clayton and DeKalb, have acquired substantial black majorities, and immigrants arriving from foreign countries are settling primarily there or in similar outlying areas, not within the city itself.

Reading back over this, one wonders to what degree its an oversimplification made by someone who doesn't actually understand how this city is laid out. I mean, generally speaking I think that there is some gentrification of downtown Atlanta that has been going on, but you can't rely on data about counties to understand the relationship between urban and suburban here because thats not how the counties are laid out. It seems like thats what they are doing - are they presuming that the demographic data for Fulton reflects "the city itself?" In fact, the "city," which I think of as the area inside the perimeter, is split 55 - 40 between Dekalb and Fulton with the other 5 percent going to Clayton. Fulton includes huge suburban areas southeast and north of the city, including well to do Sandy Springs where houses on quarter acre lots go for $500,000.*

DeKalb has lots of immigrants because there used to be (1970) a huge industrial area along Peachtree Industrial Blvd. with numerous factories. They have been shutting those factories down, which caused property values in the area to collapse, Detroit style. Except Atlanta is not Detriot, and a huge, diverse immigrant community swept in to take advantage of the cheap rents. Its like if you took all of the immigrant clusters in NYC, shook them up, and placed them in a single neighborhood. Referring to this place as an "outlying area" and an example of demographic inversion is simply misleading.

Today the area is starting to gentrify a bit. They renamed part of "Peachtree Industrial Blvd" to just plain "Peachtree Blvd." One of the last big factories, a GM plant, closed in September. Not a reaction to the crisis - this had been announced for years. There were plans on the table to level it and install a new urbanist shopping/living/working type setup. I suspect those plans are on hold given the economic crisis.

Same thing with developments downtown. Apparently 66 new condos were sold during the second half of 08 and they recently auctioned off a bunch of nice downtown condos at half their original asking prices. Whatever demographic inversion was going on has absolutely ground to a halt and in my view there is way too much high end housing coming on the market. There are numerous buildings in construction around the city that feature million dollar condos - a Ritz Carlton residence in Buckhead, a Trump Tower, and 1010 Midtown where most of the units are around $600,000. I honestly think this represents some sort of spreadsheet fantasy where the numbers look better if you assume all the customers are rich. The actual market is looking for something completely differ... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

RE: Trading Places: The Demographic Inversion of the American City

RE: The Six-Figure-Job Hunt - TIME
Topic: Society 7:21 am EST, Feb 19, 2009

Elonka wrote:

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits may have hit a 26-year high, but there are still lots of jobs open, because no matter how grim the economic forecast, at least some workers will change jobs voluntarily or retire. "Companies may not be making expansionary or discretionary hires," says Marc Cenedella, founder of a subscription service that lists only jobs that pay $100,000 and up. "But even in a downturn, there's still 20% to 25% natural turnover per year." In the six-figure category, he estimates that will mean 3.2 million hires a year instead of 4 million in a normal market.

Interesting statistics to put the current layoffs in perspective.

A lot of people in the computer industry remember the hard times of the dot com/telecom crash. Right now the jobs situation is far, far worse than it was then, in general, but it seems to have had less impact on people directly around me. I've started to hear stories about folks that have been laid off, but I also know people who are hiring. The difference is that this time our industry isn't the epicenter of the crisis, so it should be easier for us this time.

RE: The Six-Figure-Job Hunt - TIME

RE: Police fatally wound man at Oakland BART station on NYE
Topic: Society 3:54 pm EST, Jan  7, 2009

Doing some digging, there seems to be a problem with officer involved shootings in Oakland. One officer has killed two unarmed men in 2008, one of whom was shot in the back while running away. That officer is on leave but no charges have been filed. The Oakland police held a public forum on the issue in December, at which they insisted that "It's not because the officers are doing anything wrong." Regardless of whether or not that is true in this case, this latest incident is a match on a tinderbox.

Ironically, this occurs when a movie is being released about Harvey Milk, which may evoke sore memories in that metro area.

Throw in some economic hard times to boot, and you have a real possibility for a riot.

For me, the real source of frustration in incidents like this is that police seem to be given the benefit of the doubt... placed on paid leave during long investigations... whereas some "street thug" (read black teenager) under similarly questionable circumstances would have been arrested and charged with murder before the ink was even dry on the police report. It would be easier to trust the justice system to reach the right conclusion in incidents like this if that system at least gave the appearance of being blind. It does not.

RE: Police fatally wound man at Oakland BART station on NYE

Houston - Hair Balls - Police Get The Wrong House In Galveston, Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl
Topic: Society 3:21 pm EST, Dec 19, 2008

It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn's home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.

This is completely mind boggling. They went on to charge the girl and her father with resisting arrest... because they fought back when three plain clothes men tried to drag her into an unmarked van...

More here...

Houston - Hair Balls - Police Get The Wrong House In Galveston, Allegedly Assault 12-Year-Old Girl

RE: Use Your Illusions
Topic: Society 9:25 pm EST, Nov 19, 2008

possibly noteworthy wrote:
Notwithstanding your complaints about iTulip's forward-looking views on the energy business, I will again quote from Janszen's article:

Because all asset hyperinflations revert to the mean, we can expect housing prices to decline roughly 38 percent from their peak as they return to something closer to the historical rate of monetary inflation. If the rate of decline stabilizes at between 6 and 7 percent each year, the correction has about six years to go before things stabilize, leaving the FIRE economy in need of $12 trillion. Where will that money come from?

If the market declines slowly over the next six years, how do you structure the sort of "help" that Obama aims to provide? Who gets the help, and when?

First, the rate of decline is much faster than 6 or 7 percent.

Second, I am personally opposed to anything that causes the decline in housing prices to stop. Whatever sort of process is set up, they cannot prop up house prices.

Third, iTulip seems to be saying their Alternative Energy Bull Market is going to occur in 2020. I view this as simultaneously a confirmation of my perspective, a backpedalling, and wrong.

1. Their timeframe for the end of the depression is exactly the same as mine - 8 more years. 2016.

2. FIRE needs another bubble NOW, during the depression. Once the depression is over there will be no need for another bubble as normal economic growth will be occurring. They wouldn't bother blowing one then.

3. This is wrong. Another major stock market bubble isn't going to be blown that early into the next economic cycle. It won't happen until about half way through the century, maybe a little later.

RE: Use Your Illusions

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