Bumper Sticker: “Fearful People Do Stupid Things”

Yeah, like gun control.

Saw that one the other day. Betcha the poor girl behind the wheel couldn’t figure that out in a million years.

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Robin Hanson, Irony, Whatever

I don’t actually read Hanson, much less the comments (*shiver*), but while I applaud his intent, people tend to go looking for reliable rules that dictate, for any given person telling you something, whether precisely 100% of what that person says is true, or precisely 100% is false. And so if you try to sort of work around that and try to identify and neutralize the kind of cognitive malfunctions that lead you to think that way, you will IN FUCKING EVITABLY collect a large, vibrant, enthusiastic community of deep thinkers who instinctively understand that you’ve invented a much more effective, paradigm-shattering heuristic for identifying which people are always 100% right and which ones are always 100% wrong. Or can be presumed to be, for the sake of convenience.

Basically, the ones who make noises that sound like the commenters at Hanson’s blog are going to be, obviously, on top of their own cognitive biases and others’, so they can’t be wrong, and inductively, anybody they trust ditto. Which is cool, because when we get all these cognitive biases identified and tell people about them — which can’t be that hard, after all — everything will change, and we’ll have flying cars that steer themselves, and, and mining the asteroids, Mars, geriatrics, Q.E.D. future. DUH. Robots. Google. Singularity.

Is Hanson a techno-futurist? I don’t give a shit, he might as well be.

So, we figured out what TED talks are.

I can’t remember where I found out about this post about TED talk profile-picture assholes, but there it is, read it. People who’ve done TED talks, or just TEDx talks (which are a smaller, shittier, even stupider version of the same thing), are into using frame grabs from their talks as social-media profile pics and PR handout shots. And when you look at them, it’s always the same pose, The TED Talk Pose:

There are variations, but the favorite is a 3/4 profile shot from below with the arms spread like Jesus, with an exalted facial expression signifying the Impartation of Joyful Wisdom, gazing upward at the audience. An orgasmic fit of self-satisfaction and validation, wallowing in the special warm feeling of playing mutual narcissistic supply with a room full of affluent chin-strokers.

Has a single shrewd question ever pooted forth into the hushed NPRian gravitas of a TED Talk? Just one?

It’s Steve Jobs doing a keynote, with a little Jesus mixed in. TED talks are a mechanism for demi-micro-vips and nano-vips to have vanity videos made of them pretending to be Steve Jobs doing a keynote speech. Like women pay to have “glamour shots” done by photographers.

The content of TED is the Jobs Jesus Pose. That’s it.

The Cognitive Style of Android

You start laboriously pecking out something on the tiny little touch screen keyboard, and then you realize you need to say it differently or say something else, but it’s so much work to back up and start over that you just try to go from there and somehow turn what you’ve got into a prefix to what you really want to be saying, and it comes out half unintelligible and half retarded.

I’m typing this on a real keyboard. You can see some of us need any advantage we can get.

Bonding

It’s well known that people don’t make new lifelong friends after their 20s, and college is the peak time for it. My closest friends are from college; one friend I may not talk to for a year or two at a stretch, but when we do get together, I hear everything about his marriage (this year, about his divorce). I have other long-term friends I met in my late 20s, but we’ll never be as close.

What do you think this implies about late marriage? Nothing good.

Now, it happens that my old college friend met his wife in college, but the singular of anecdote is not data. She was squirrely 25 years ago. And what killed the marriage was that he beta’d himself. Meeting him, you wouldn’t think it, but that’s what happened. And I recall her yapping at me about Eat Pray Love right around the time she went off the rails, too. She’s a yapper. Not good with boundaries. Squirrely, I told you.

But seriously, tetrapods establish deep bonds of trust when they’re young. Feminists may think they have something to gain from relationships devoid of trust, but human beings know better.

Open letter to an Internet Left-Wing Tough Guy

tl;dr: Power has limits, ya dumb fuck.

All of you pudgy, soft little leftwing internet tough guys love to fantasize about having infinite power and using it to terrorize people you’re afraid of.

That’s nice, if you’re the kind of person who jerks off to the thought of cops throwing flashbang grenades into little kids’ bedrooms (and yes, in all fairness, I do know at least 10% of progs don’t have that particular fantasy), but in reality, you’ll never have any power over anybody. The kind of government you want would be almost as likely to kick down your door as mine.

Furthermore, nobody ever has infinite power. The lockdown (not actual martial law) in Boston worked only because virtually 100% of the population participated willingly, and nobody but the suspects objected enough to resist actively. If five percent had resisted with small arms, it would have been an even greater catastrophe for the cops than for the public. Use too much force in too many neighborhoods, and you are guaranteed to lose the consent of the governed in a matter of days: Only a small percentage resist, but most of the rest sympathize with the resisters. Then you end up where we are in Afghanistan.

Bear in mind that the whole thing was made necessary because *two* young men went berserk with homemade bombs and one handgun each. Sure, they lost in the end, but TWO determined lunatics brought a major American city to its knees for a week. All that power the cops had, all that violent masculine power you fantasize about in your lonely sweaty little bed, and it still took them five days to deal with just two enthusiastic, batshit crazy amateurs. Just normal guys who became convinced that the government was their enemy.

Now imagine a government that goes out of its way to convince people that it’s their enemy. How about a hundred determined lunatics? That’s not a huge number.

Now, on the subject of Chechens, have you ever heard of the city of Grozny? Go read about the Russian-Chechen wars of the 90s. The entire Russian military, army and air force, couldn’t crush a small city full of enthusiastic amateurs with small arms. Now go read about the US military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, where small groups of amateurs with small arms made life hell for a decade for the entire US military. And how about the French experience in Algeria? Ever heard of it?

The cops don’t have infinite power. They don’t have very much useful power at all, unless they first have the willing consent of a cooperative population. When they use too much power too often, they lose the goodwill of the people, and any war you fight against a civilian population is lost at the outset. People with power need to understand that they can only push it so far before it breaks. The smart ones do.

How do you think that lockdown would have worked out in South Central Los Angeles, Mr. Internet Tough Guy SWAT Commando?

Oh, and google “holster sniffer” while you’re at it. Cops don’t like cop groupies. They think you’re creepy. The good cops despise you because they know real-life lethal violence isn’t fun and games, and the bad cops who like lethal violence despise you because you’re too weak and timid to join in. (All cops enjoy sub-lethal violence, despise you for your inexperience with it, and would take pleasure in breaking your elbows for practice).

I know it’s all just a fantasy to you. Progs choose fantasy over reality every time. The trouble is, progs can’t tell the difference, and now that you progs are running the country, it’s only a matter of time before your hatreds, fantasies, and fears lead you to do something unrecoverably stupid. Remember, fearful people do stupid things, and if you’re fearful enough to believe in gun control, if you’re fearful enough to live in stark terror of little old Tea Party ladies who don’t even litter, you’re fearful enough to do pretty much anything.

ht RNS