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Cake day: Jan 23, 2021

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So where in the idea of capitalism do you see a mechanism that avoids colluding and undermining the sovereignty of people?

From my POV, capitalism is the act of maximising profit/cash flow. This may happen through peaceful agreements, soft power or hard power.

What part of capitalism are you referring to, when you distinguish it from neo-liberalism?


There are many report stating that these promises were made.

Whether Russia made a tactical mistake in codifying these promises… is it relevant? There is clear evidence that NATO promised not to expand. And again, it seems obvious that a NATO expansion would set up a conflict with Russia. So why would you do it?

Here is another good german language article about the situation


Please check the Spiegel article. Also, again, isn’t it common sense that if you put troops against a country’s border, that country feels threatened?

edited “border”


Sure I can.

We can cite John Maersheimer from 2014

Here is the outline link to the same article.

More recently the german Spiegel published documents demonstrating the promises. Here is an english language Russia Today link, referencing the original german article (you can find the paywalled link there).

But let’s be frank, the idea that a NATO expansion to the east will set off a conflict with Russia is just obvious. There were high ranking officials confirming that over the last thirty years (I believe even Genscher).

The argument that states should be able to choose their allies is a little bit absurd since we are not talking about a club that you can vote yourself in if you wish to do so. The NATO has to extend an offer for your country to be able to join it.

Russia and before that the Soviet Union expressed their issue with that and asked NATO not to put troops against their borders. Yet, NATO did.

The sources I link to above are from the most realist IR academic and from a totally mainstream german news outlet.


So what about the eastern expansion of NATO? Do you sigh over this too?


Yes, but there are precedents to this. The situation didn’t come out of the blue. Russia surely carries the responsibility for acknowledging the separatist states and escalating the situation with “piece troops”.

But NATO surely is responsible for creating the situation at large. The promise was no eastern expansion, yet eastern expansion took place.

The references made to the previous US interventions by Op are highlighting the aggressive nature of the US which created the pretext to the current situation. You cannot wipe those away by saying you are referring to the last 48 hours only.


I know of some of the shady people that were supported by the West and the Ukraine.

Could you shed some more light on the war crimes that Putin refers to? Also could you share the evidence that exists?


OK, I’ll try and help.

Certain products in the West remain cheap, since they can draw on “price efficient” labour in the “developing world”.

Now, does this labour cost differential pose a problem for global equality? I.e. you might have enough money to get around your local developing capitol, but you won’t be able to move to New York.

Does your rich country now have an incentive to keep low wages in the developing world?

Would workers in the rich country expect any benefits of this situation?

Would workers in the poor country have realistic chances to move up the ladder?

Is there a tension between global and national equality?



The Most Powerful Computers You've Never Heard Of - Invidious
Super interesting video about analog computers

Fully agree with you here and particularly your longer response above.

VR / AR has some fantastic use cases in industrial work, where experienced workers can overshadow a field person and be enriched by some sort of global database that covers whatever that field person is working on. There are probably other niche tech use cases as well.

As for an entertainment gadget that is widely used, I just don’t think it is as immersive as portrayed or will be in the foreseeable future.



I mean, can you imagine the desire, of being able to leave behind your real world, your dirty, exhausting, imperfect real world, where you are weak and ugly and unsuccessful and going to a virtual world where you can experience whatever you want?

All just through a head set? I honestly don’t quite buy this (admitting fully that I might be wrong) and really can’t relate to the desire you are describing either.

It’s not real and won’t look / feel real. So maybe there is a one or two hour entertainment to be had, but I can’t see this overhyped potential and VR being used “everywhere”.

Consider all the video chats we are having since the pandemic at work. What did 80% people do pretty quickly? Turn off their cameras, turn off their mics, while they are browsing the web in the background or doing the dishes, letting the meeting/call pass by. Would any of those go into VR to experience a virtual version of their colleague without being forced? I don’t think so.


The problem with private schools is that they, at least in the country I live in, seem to run havoc and actually collect more public funding than public schools do (which I find perverse, really).

I’m really torn about this. I could imagine a case for private schools, but just the example I see in this anglo country I’m in makes me really cautious about them.


Yes, monetising it also creates stupid incentives. In the educational scenario you’ll have to face the fact that if someone pays you for a service they are your client. How do you educated someone on whose feedback and money you depend? Certainly not in an objective manner.


Maybe the fact that you pose the question is a hint to its answer.

We are so quick to abstract this question, as in tech allows us to call our family from wherever we work and anytime, but this means we don’t have the same resources to question why we are away from our family.

Likewise, it allows us to reach beyond the social norms of our physical circle, but it doesn’t provide a neutral framework of how to be beyond those norms.

I think the problems with tech are related to the ownership of tech. Currently, I do think it makes us more lonely but maybe we have to move beyond tech to be able to use it well :)


I watched the video and find it upsetting. I believe that this guy and his way of thinking about climate change is why we run into it the way we do.

Rather than acknowledging that climate change is caused by emissions which are largely done through energy production, transport in supply chains and industrial activities, i.e. systemic elements, he goes on to complain about how individuals, who have nothing to do with energy production or transport, are hypocrites.

This is disgusting and will do nothing to solve global warming but in fact make it worse.

To name a few examples:

In response to how people say they care about the problem vs other actors:

“… it is pretty fair to say that we consumers have a pretty good view of ourselves and a pretty dim view of others …”

Alternatively, we might say that they just make a statement about the efforts / care they feel versus the efforts and care they see in other actors, notably in industry apparently, which, correctly, is perceived as rather absent.

In response to the stat showing that people support stronger environmental rules but don’t think that they would need to change their own habits:

" … gap between what people say and are prepared to do …"

The presenter’s statement simply does not follow from what was presented. A simple alternative explanation: People might think it won’t affect their lives because they aren’t energy generation experts or have deep knowledge about how transport in supply chain works.

Then the guy goes on about how people apparently prioritise reducing waste and recycling. The problem he sees with this is that waste minimisation and recycling is already happening in the west and therefore interprets it as the “lazy” option for people to choose because it means they already adapted and don’t need to change their lifestyle.

First of all, I’m nearly 100% certain that this is a false statement, given the discrepancy between recycling and waste management efforts in the western world. Secondly, the whole point has very limited applicability to global warming.

Later on he shows other proposed actions and mentions that none of these are actionable by an individual. He uses this to show how everyone is a sinner. Instead he could make the logical conclusion that climate change has something to do with the systems our economy runs on, which most of us have no insight or power over.

Then he asserts that many people could replace fossil fuels with renewables “in their own homes”. Most people do not live in their own homes. Even those who happen to live in their own homes would generally not be in an financial position to swap fossil fuels with renewables. Further, the idea that this swap should be done on a household by household idea is so stupid that I don’t even know where to start.

After a turn to some marketing ideas that made me throw up, he seriously argues that governments were not able to regulate the tobacco industry, because the industry sowed “tiny seeds of doubt” into peoples mind about the health impacts of tobacco. Really? How about the money spent on lobbying with politicians?

He finishes his talk with: “if everyone would do the right thing…”. I just want to reiterate that this is an absurd argument to make. There are serious economic and financial goals at stake for actors that prevent us from changing our economy to mitigate global warming. These goals are directly related to some of the largest industries in the world (e.g. energy) and we haven’t even articulated the issue, let alone started a conversation of how to solve it.

The solution to global warming is to wind down the fossil fuel industry to zero, which should be easy enough to understand. This is an act that will have a significant impact everywhere and we should focus on managing that change. Asking people to turn off the lights, enhance energy efficiency and advocate for “Meat free Mondays” will largely fail but even where it doesn’t, won’t impact the amount of produced emissions.


Whatever you do then, do not move to Sydney… cockroaches the size of puppies and yes some fly but none of them is happy to chip in for rent


The point of the screenshot comment is that we are not focusing on the right things when discussing climate change.

There are lots of issues with SUVs but to say that some end product is the real cause of the problem (talking about climate change, not cancer here) is just inaccurate. It is the tremendous industry that was built, the associated physical assets, and the associated economic and financial incentives.


Sure, for most of my life I didn’t have a car either. But that’s not really the point. Some life circumstances are outside your own control. The point I poorly tried to make was more that people are driven by their current circumstances. Climate change is a systemic problem. You can’t rely on people reactively fixing climate change 8 billion times in their own little yard. It just won’t happen.


Looking for song/artist: Second breath
I remember a song called "second breath" by what I believe was a former member of the "four non blondes". The video was pretty low key, with the singer dancing in her room, jumping on her couch. Anybody know the song or artist?

"Each year across the world, kids of roughly the same age are packed into classrooms and confined to desks with the intent of learning from an adult teacher. But is this how children were adapted to learn? In today’s technologically dependent, economically complex world in which a particular subset of skills is critical, fact-based knowledge is no doubt best imparted from those with experience—which is usually adults. But what about social learning? Humans as a species are set apart by their incredible dependence on one another; cooperation is at the heart of both an individual’s survival and a functioning society. So, how do children typically learn to cooperate? Anthropological research in small-scale societies—including my work among with the Pumé of Venezuela and the Maya living in the Yucatan Peninsula—resoundingly suggests that they learn from one another. Schooling and growing up in small nuclear families have been the norm for only the past century or so in industrialized societies—just a brief flash in evolutionary time. Childhood in these societies is commonly thought of as a period requiring intense adult investment dedicated to learning and instruction. But research in nonindustrial, small-scale societies—the kinds of communities that all our ancestors lived in both deep in the past and until fairly recently—gives a different picture. Today children in industrialized societies spend a lot of time in supervised environments with adult direction. ..."

"The negotiation process in the United States typically involves a small committee of mid- to lower-level management and their lawyers negotiating with a small committee of workers who are selected to represent the majority. The report illustrates an alternative approach to bargaining that directly engages the entire unionized workforce, featuring case studies of workers in industries where unions have been expanding in recent years, including Boston hotel workers, educators in New Jersey, nurses in rural Massachusetts and Philadelphia, and reporters from the Los Angeles Times and Law360. The negotiations discussed were conducted between 2016 and 2019 and involved five unions in which workers achieved breakthroughs in their final contracts. Turning the Tables also provides a step-by-step guide on how unions and workers can practice this approach."

Strike! with Jane McAlevey - The Dig
"The strike is back, and big time. Teachers in particular have been walking off the job not only to demand higher wages but also to fight for an end to privatization and for a transformation of the educational system for their students. These strikes, often led by women, are no doubt inspiring, and they have won important victories for workers and the communities they serve. We are, in other words, beginning to head in the right direction—but we’re not heading there even close to fast enough. Winning working class power is not only necessary to meet people’s immediate material needs. It is necessary if we are to accomplish a profound democratization of this country, which is what we must do if we are to implement a just energy transition that heads off what scientists have determined to be imminent climate catastrophe. Dan talks to Jane McAlevey about the labor movement and strikes. Jane’s Catalyst article [The Strike as the Ultimate Structure Test](https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/01/strike-strategy-john-steuben-review-organizing). And her Jacobin article [Organizing to Win a Green New Deal](https://jacobinmag.com/2019/03/green-new-deal-union-organizing-jobs)." Quote is from when the episode was run originally in March 2019. Link to original episode: https://www.thedigradio.com/podcast/strike-with-jane-mcalevey/ Her website: https://janemcalevey.com/

In an essay penned shortly before his death, David Graeber argued that post-pandemic, we can’t slip back into a reality where the way our society is organized — to serve every whim of a small handful of rich people while debasing and degrading the vast majority of us — is seen as sensible or reasonable.


What are some good non-US/UK magazines, website, people, resource to read / watch / listen to?
As per title, I'm looking for some good regular resources outside of the US/UK sphere. Can cover a really broad spectrum on the left. Thanks!


This week, Grace speaks to researcher and author Phil Jones about when 'automation' is actually just poorly-paid microwork – and how those workers can organise to resist exploitation.

*Introduction* In this work, I summarize and assess the arguments for a natural origin and against a laboratory-based origin of Covid-19 presented in the Holmes et al. preprint [1]. The preprint review by Holmes et al. represents one of the most extensive compilations of arguments for a zoonotic origin and was authored by numerous experts in relevant fields. Although Holmes et al. “contend that there is substantial body of scientific evidence supporting a zoonotic origin for SARS-CoV-2” [1], I argue that all publicly available evidence and information are consistent with both natural and laboratory origin scenarios. In the absence of dispositive evidence in support of either a natural spillover or a research-related incident, it is necessary to rigorously investigate both hypotheses [2,3]. Only with more data and information can scientists confidently evaluate the likelihood of each origin hypothesis. A credible, transparent, evidence-based, and international investigation of the origin of Covid-19 is not only vital but also feasible [3–5].


"Woodlands Early Education Centre, in Logan south of Brisbane, as well as nine others in the chain have recently overhauled their yards to increase children's exposure to risk. ... While the new grounds may look dangerous — a towering fort (with open edges), 1.6-metre-high balance beams, and climbing walls (without a fall mattress) — the data shows the opposite. There has actually been a 43 per cent reduction in reported injuries at the centre."

Looking for a cheap-ish linux supported laptop with touchscreen
Hi, I'm looking for a laptop in the $200 - $400 mark (can be second hand) that has reasonable support for linux and also has a touchscreen. Touchscreen will be mainly for scrolling. I'm happy to do some stunts to get linux installed but I'm looking for something that supports it reasonable well. Thanks for any suggestions!

I just think there needs to be a proper discussion, whether this type of research is ok in general.... HackerNews discussion is here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28644428

> Now researchers say they have found some of the earliest evidence of humans using clothing in a cave in Morocco, with the discovery of bone tools and bones from skinned animals suggesting the practice dates back at least 120,000 years. > > Dr Emily Hallett, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, the first author of the study, said the work reinforced the view that early humans in Africa were innovative and resourceful. > > “Our study adds another piece to the long list of hallmark human behaviours that begin to appear in the archaeological record of Africa around 100,000 years ago,” she said.

Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show
> For the past three years, Facebook has been conducting studies into how its photo-sharing app affects its millions of young users. Repeatedly, the company’s researchers found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them, most notably teenage girls. > > “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” said one slide from 2019, summarizing research about teen girls who experience the issues. “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another slide. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.” > > Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed. The whole article reads like a horror show. Corporate representatives use Orwellian language to justify and minimise the problem... The Head of Instagram is quoted in this section: > In May, Instagram head Adam Mosseri told reporters that research he had seen suggests the app’s effects on teen well-being is likely “quite small.” > > In a recent interview, Mr. Mosseri said: “In no way do I mean to diminish these issues.…Some of the issues mentioned in this story aren’t necessarily widespread, but their impact on people may be huge.” > > He said he believes Facebook was late to realizing there were drawbacks to connecting people in such large numbers. “I’ve been pushing very hard for us to embrace our responsibilities more broadly,” he said. > > He said the research into the mental-health effects on teens was valuable, and that Facebook employees ask tough questions about the platform. “For me, this isn’t dirty laundry. I’m actually very proud of this research,” he said. "I'm very proud of this research and pushing really hard for change"... while cashing in and making sure that the hard push won't cause damage to the profits I'm sure.... >:(

Immersive Math - Linear Algebra
Really nice, interactive illustrations to provide a really nice introduction to linear algebra.

Police get online account takeover, data disruption powers
"The bill grants the Australian Federal Police and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission new powers to combat serious crime enabled by anonymising technology using three new warrants: network activity, data disruption and account takeover. With the warrants, both agencies can take control of a person’s online account to gather evidence about serious offences without consent, as well as add, copy, delete or alter material to disrupt criminal activity and collect intelligence from online networks." Unbelievable....

Is there an open source spotify client for linux?
I'm looking for something I can use on my laptop. The official spotify client works, but it's a bit slow so was wondering if there are alternatives. I got a spotify account, so would like to be able to use this one with it. Thanks!

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