It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And all music is.
–Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,And towards our distant rest began to trudge.Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hootsOf gas-shells dropping softly behind.Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumblingFitting the clumsy helmets just in time,But someone still was yelling out and stumblingAnd flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.In all my dreams before my helpless sight,He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.If in some smothering dreams, you too could paceBehind the wagon that we flung him in,And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;If you could hear, at every jolt, the bloodCome gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cudOf vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—My friend, you would not tell with such high zestTo children ardent for some desperate glory,The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
A hundred years ago today, World War I ended. I assume war will end any day now.
From this thread and this thread on r/ssc; feel free to keep making suggestions in the comment thread here. I’ve tried to sort them into categories by political opinions; feel free to correct me if I have a miscategorization. Please note that I included every name that was nominated by a person who did not say they agreed with the nominated person or stan for the Cultural Revolution in the same comment; presence on this list does not mean that I approve of a person or even know who they are. (Decisions about whether the person said they agreed with the nominated person are made by me, and are final.)
Who makes false rape accusations? Unfortunately limited, because many (perhaps most) rape cases are he-said she-said cases that can’t be reliably classified as true or false. Nevertheless, very interesting.
“Alcohol use was always higher among the men who committed more assaults than among those who committed fewer, but trends in assault weren’t tied to trends in alcohol use… But the men who committed fewer assaults over time also reported falling rates of impulsivity, hostility toward women, and beliefs that supported rape.”
Man mocked online for shaving on public transit turns out to be homeless and struggling with mental illness. Cringe culture is evil.
“Yahweh’s example – not forcing others to labour while Yahweh rested – was one anybody in power was to imitate. It was not enough for you to rest; your children, slaves, livestock and even the ‘aliens’ in your towns were to rest as well. The Sabbath wasn’t just a time for personal reflection and rejuvenation. It wasn’t self-care. It was for everyone.”
Zetetic explanations. It’s hard to explain precisely what this is, which I think is why Hoffman gives us a worked example, but if you click on the link you will maybe acquire an interesting concept and definitely learn a lot of interesting things about yeast.
Moral systems with the same goals can recommend wildly different behavior day-to-day.
A really nice review of the science of obesity, by… the Huffington Post? Okay then.
I have restarted my patreon (now hopefully with fewer rewards I will be bad at fulfilling). Check it out.
About a year ago, I started a Patreon, and other people commissioned work from me. Unfortunately, not long after that, I had a baby. In what I am sure is a complete shock to everyone, it turns out babies are time-consuming. What with one thing and another, I have totally lost track of what things I owe to my patrons.
I have more free time now, so I’d like to restart my Patreon, because I think I will actually be able to keep up with the obligations. However, I don’t want to do this while I have outstanding obligations to patrons. If you have a Patreon reward you have yet to collect and you’d like to collect it, please post in the comments here or email me at email@example.com.
Tips for inexpensive fun.
Preschools in Ghana have poor educational outcomes, in part because parents want good teaching and teachers believe that parents think lectures and tests are good pedagogy.
The EA Community and Long-Term Future Funds have failed to allocate over one and a half million dollars of donations.
Lessons about how to do cost-effectiveness analysis.
GOP criticism of Trump has very real effects even if it doesn’t lead to action, including consolidating Republican opposition to Trump’s policies, causing Trump not to do things that might lead him to oppose them, and getting Trump to implement a more normal Republican policy agenda. A very interesting contrarian take.
Strange political ads of the past.
It’s okay to have fairly extreme policies because voters don’t care about policy.
Mayor has to apologize after attempting to fine a couple $10,000 for painting their home like Starry Night.
“I fully recognize that the devil is in that “sometimes.” Some norms should be shattered, some should not. Some norm erosion undermines democracy, some enhances it. But that’s the real discussion we need to have: not a general toxin against norm erosion as somehow the bane of democracy — which may set us up for a centrist politics but not for a democratic one — but a more normatively informed discussion of what democracy requires.”
A deeply personal reflection on transition. “This is kind of a scary way of thinking about things because it means that trans people aren’t completely in control of our own genders. But isn’t that, in fact, the predicament we’re in? The reason misgendering feels so horrible is that, in that moment, the person misgendering you is effectively barring you from being your gender, at least socially. That’s the reason it feels oppressive. You’re literally being deprived of something important to you.”
Ronan Farrow takes down another powerful sexual harasser in entertainment.
Texas Forensic Science Commission finds that blood-spatter analysis is “not accurate or scientifically supported.”
Taxpayer-funded private schools teach that Satan created psychology, environmentalists hate people, and God used the American westward expansion to benefit the Indians.
Arrested Development’s disability humor is surprisingly progressive.
How the Pentagon downplayed the threat from a family of toxic chemicals.
Environmental justice— protecting the poor from, for example, having toxic waste dumps in their backyard– is actually really important.
Luxury housing as yuppie fishtanks: explaining YIMBYism without supply and demand. (Okay, this link fits in poorly here, but it fits in worse everywhere else!)
Just Plain Neat
Eleven writers’ horniest pop culture moments.
Interviews with several actors who play ugly characters. I’m glad most of them seem to be happy to get the part!
A message from the Unitarian Jihad.
Reducing risk of value drift.
Black people, Christians, and women are more likely than average to be interested in EA.
Advocating for diet change costs $310 per pig saved, which is inferior to GiveWell top charities.
Wiki of effective altruist cause areas. This is an incredibly cool resource.
From the Onion: tips for staying civil while debating child prisons.
Five myths about the gang MS-13.
Jared Kushner’s grandmother was a refugee.
A really great explainer about the Supreme Court’s recent crisis pregnancy center decision and why it might be a win for free speech.
The SPLC is the victim of [ETA: a threatened] frivolous defamation lawsuit.
Is economic research biased by partisanship? “There’s another problem with praising a “libertarian”, or any researcher with strong beliefs, for honesty when their research conclusions don’t fit narrow priors. It puts their research that does fit narrow priors under a cloud. But only people with strong beliefs are put to this test. No one gets suspicious when a moderate democrat produces lots of research that fits moderate democrat priors. Why not? Do you assume reality is moderate?”
How beautiful prose can conceal bad reasoning. (I like this because I’m a terrible prose stylist.)
Strategies for problem solving explained with mazes. I am not just linking this because of its use of Disney mazes, although that definitely helped.
Everyone is using the phrase “loss aversion” wrong.
One disabled woman’s experience of sexuality and body image. “When I realized I was essentially free, cast aside in the wild frontier of unacknowledged sexuality, things began to change for me. It’s not that I ceased to care how I looked altogether or that I stopped showering. It just meant I realized I had the power to choose what mattered to me.”
Disability-inclusive stock photos. This is really cool activism from a company one wouldn’t expect, actually!
“In the total study population of more than 23,000 people (excluding the people on antidepressants), 6 percent reported depression. Among the users of just one of the drugs that have depression as an adverse effect, the prevalence increased to 7 percent. Among people taking two or more of the potentially depression-inducing drugs, the prevalence went up to 10 percent. And among people taking three or more of the drugs, the prevalence was 15 percent.” If you’re depressed and on any medication, it’s worth checking your meds against this database.
Modest goals for disability awareness.
Videos about scoliosis surgeries and whether it counts as “inspiration porn” if it reflects the disabled person’s own experiences.
Sharp spike in unmarried 22-35-year-old men who haven’t had sex in the last year, starting in 2008. At present, nearly twice as many men are celibate as women (14% vs. 8%). Internet porn?
Body positivity has been coopted. “An alarming percentage of the public conversation about which bodies our culture values or rejects pivots around models, actresses, and other professionally beautiful people reassuring what they seem to believe is a dubious public that they are, in fact, super hot.”
Just say Trump is racist.
Telling white people they’re outnumbered makes them hate welfare.
Should indigenous tribes have the right to commit infanticide?
Christians work with prison guards to help them cope with the trauma of their jobs.
“Notice here that James does not say “Well done you good and faithful rich, for your industrious perseverance has made you successful.””
“In contrast to historical depictions, Americans generally see God as young, Caucasian, and loving, but perceptions vary by believers’ political ideology and physical appearance. Liberals see God as relatively more feminine, more African American, and more loving than conservatives, who see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. All participants see God as similar to themselves on attractiveness, age, and, to a lesser extent, race.”
Just Plain Neat
The Pyramids of Giza are near a Pizza Hut, and other disappointments.
The Fermi paradox has been solved.
In defense of slice of life stories.
There are a lot of things you can say in favor of a norm of using affirmative verbal consent while having sex. It accommodates people who have a hard time reading other people’s body language, whether because of inexperience or an impairment. It lets people negotiate more specific desires and communicate their preferences more easily. For many people, it decreases ambiguity.
But the real reason I use it is that the alternative seems awkward.
I have a hard time imagining how one would even go about having sex without using affirmative verbal consent. I instinctively imagine it as being a game of Charades. “Three syllables… starts with S… rhymes with ‘duck by dock’…”
Setting that aside and genuinely trying to imagine it as best I can, I can’t help but imagine awkwardness. What if I put my hands down someone’s pants when they just wanted to make out, and then they have to say “uh, I actually don’t want that” and it totally breaks the mood? What if I’m not sure if my partner’s into it and I can’t check? How do I say when I want something? Do you just sort of pull away to get a condom, and how does your partner tell that apart from pulling away because you don’t want sex? Am I allowed to tell them that they’re sexy? For fuck’s sake, how do you ever get out of that state where you’re both cuddling on the bed together and you want to have sex but you keep getting distracted arguing about Star Wars?
(And yes, when I have had sex without affirmative verbal consent, it has been hella awkward.)
I observe that when people say they don’t want to use affirmative verbal consent, a lot of times they say they don’t want to use it because it’s awkward. It breaks the mood to ask the other person if they want to kiss. They’re not sure how often they should ask or how to ask without sounding creepy or supplicating. They kind of think the entire business sounds like signing a contract that says that the undersigned, being of sound mind, consents to seven (7) kisses and gentle caresses around the area of the left buttock.
I used to think “you people are crazy, obviously verbal consent is the only non-awkward way to do things.” But now I think we’re both right.
I am used to using verbal affirmative consent. Other people are used to using nonverbal affirmative consent. Either way, our default actions, our instincts, our ability to read others, is based on a certain set of norms. Of course it’s awkward to try to use a different set of norms! We don’t know what we’re doing, what’s acceptable or unacceptable, or how to tell if the other person is into it. It’s just like switching any other set of norms. There’s nothing inherently awkward about driving on the right side of the street, but you’ll certainly feel awkward if you’re used to driving on the left.