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Current Topic: Society

Why Nerds are Unpopular (Long, and worth it.)
Topic: Society 9:48 am EST, Dec  3, 2004

] Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder
] it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant
] nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of
] breeding children.
] Where I grew up, it felt as if there was nowhere to go, and
] nothing to do.
This was no accident. Suburbs are deliberately
] designed to exclude the outside world, because it contains things
] that could endanger children.
] Adults can't avoid seeing that teenage kids are
] tormented. So why don't they do something about it?
] Because they blame it on puberty. The reason kids are so
] unhappy, adults tell themselves, is that monstrous new
] chemicals, hormones, are now coursing through their
] bloodstream and messing up everything. There's nothing
] wrong with the system; it's just inevitable that kids
] will be miserable at that age.
] This idea is so pervasive that even the kids believe it,
] which probably doesn't help. Someone who thinks his feet
] naturally hurt is not going to stop to consider the
] possibility that he is wearing the wrong size shoes.
] I'm suspicious of this theory that thirteen-year-old kids
] are intrinsically messed up. If it's physiological, it
] should be universal. Are Mongol nomads all nihilists at
] thirteen?
. . .
] The mediocrity of American public schools has worse
] consequences than just making kids unhappy for six
] years. It breeds a rebelliousness that actively drives kids
] away from the things they're supposed to be learning.

To a great extent, the sleeping American populace has woken up to the fact that there is a problem with the way that they operate their society. Littleton style mass murders are both new and unique enough to indicate that something has changed, but also common enough to indicate that this change is not an aberration. People want to do something about it. Unfortunately, by all accounts, the dialog even years later is wanting.

People seem to grasp onto oversimplified solutions. They blame access to firearms, violent video games, industrial music, etc... These things are easy to attack, but the people attacking them can never seem to explain why their presence doesn't consistently produce the problems they are concerned with, nor why the problems they are concerned with sometimes exist without the presence of the specific cause they cite. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scope of the issue.

I have always felt that these problems were systemic and structural rather then limited and specific, and that we are unlikely to be able to see them, understand them, or address them as a society because we do not want to change the things that we would need to change.

Part of the problem is that we see teenage suicides and mass mur... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Why Nerds are Unpopular (Long, and worth it.)

Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul (
Topic: Society 2:56 pm EST, Nov 19, 2004

Insight into where the tax system may actually go (rather than the wet dream of national sales tax replacing income tax)

] Pamela F. Olson, a former Bush Treasury official in close
] contact with administration tax planners, said the
] president will pursue a tax system where all income --
] whether from wages, dividends, capital gains or interest
] -- is taxed only once. That would mean eliminating taxes
] on dividends and capital gains paid out of fully taxed
] corporate profits. Most investment gains are currently
] taxed at 15 percent.

From an idealistic standpoint, that's not necessarily bad...

] The administration will also push hard for large savings
] accounts that could shelter thousands of dollars of
] deposits each year from taxation on investment gains,
] according to White House economic advisers who have been
] involved with the planning.

And these are probably a Good Thing...

] And any tax reform, according to Treasury Department officials,
] would likely eliminate the alternative minimum tax, a parallel
] income tax designed to ensure that the rich pay income taxes
] but one that increasingly ensnares the middle class.

...because the rich play even more exotic games, and the AMT didn't scale up with wage and investment increases...

OK -- but how to pay for these...

] To pay for those large tax cuts, the administration is
] looking at eliminating both the deduction for state and
] local taxes,

Uh oh...
] and the business tax deduction for employer-sponsored health
] insurance.

Oh shit.
] That would raise nearly $926 billion over five years,
] according to White House and congressional documents.

Eliminating state and local deductions has a substantially disproportiate effect on the blue "United Cities of America", because the local and blue states provide a lot of services that cost money -- we pay more in Pittsburgh than rural PA, because Pittsburgh has to spend more (ok, bad example).

Eliminating Health Care benefits means that all the talk of improving healthcare was bullshit, because now whatever government or private program is going to have to take on a great deal more customers; when business gets a tax break, they might have still had an incentive to provide private health care even in the presence of a public option; with no legislation and no break, only the elite employees and non-profits will bother.

I think we saw this coming.

[well, slightly less than half of us saw it coming anyhow!]

Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul (

Multiple Intelligence Test
Topic: Society 2:52 pm EDT, Sep  1, 2004

Multiple Intelligences

I scored:

Linguistic: 8
Logical-Mathematical: 10
Spatial: 5
Bodily-Kinesthetic: 7
Musical: 10
Interpersonal: 5
Intrapersonal: 7

that's fairly accurate, but I also consider myself pretty good at spatially-oriented things. I am an avid music collector, but I can't really picture myself doing anything with it other than for my own enjoyment.

Multiple Intelligence Test

General Rebuked For Talk Of God (
Topic: Society 10:28 am EDT, Oct 17, 2003

] He spoke of Islamic extremists hating the United States
] because "we're a Christian nation" and added that our
] "spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against
] them in the name of Jesus." He said that President Bush
] "is in the White House because God put him there," and
] that "we in the army of God . . . have been raised for
] such a time as this."
] Discussing a U.S. Army battle against a Muslim warlord in
] Somalia in 1993, Boykin told one audience: "I knew my god
] was bigger than his. I knew that my god was a real god
] and his was an idol."

grand. thanks for exemplifying exactly why we end up fighting these wars in the first place. other people enjoy it when you tell them the basis of their spiritual beliefs are a sham, and that they're all wrong. so wrong in fact, that they're satan worshippers, and we, "God's army" must cleanse them from the earth. sickening.

General Rebuked For Talk Of God (

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