Nov 292017
 

The Case for Not Being Born

Where philosopher David Benatar attempts to make the case that  life is sufficiently horrible that it make sense to end it and prevent there from being more of it.

Basically, he’s H.P. Lovecrafts worldview come to life, minus the vast, malevolent cosmic intelligences that want to wipe out all life on Earth. But nowhere did HPL ever suggest that the best approach would be to give up; the struggle might be in the end futile, but it’s better than any alternative.

The guy has a bunch of arguments that are convincing to him, and have apparently convinced a bunch of others. And while on a certain level he’s right – the worst pain is far more painful and lasts vastly longer than the best pleasure is pleasurable, for instance – on any *real* level he seems to miss the point. If humans were simple difference engines… yeah, sure, turn off the lights, shut it down. But we’re *not.* What gives people a sense of worth/meaning/whatever is irrational and intangible, not the end result of running the numbers.

I’m an engineer. A whole lot of questions can be found to have very definite right (or at least wrong) answers, discoverable through objective means by running the numbers, doing the math. In those cases, it is irrational to try to find the answer *without* doing the math. But in other areas, the answer cannot be reliably found via doing the math. And consequently, declaring the answer based on doing the math is itself irrational. For instance, right now there is a painting hanging on my wall within my field of view (as it is most of the time). I would far rather have this painting there than something by a Recognized Famous Master, despite the fact that the painting in question would probably not be considered in the same league. Why? Because that painting was made for me by a person who was very important to me. Would I like to have a Rembrandt? Sure, what the hell. I can probably get a couple bucks for it at auction. But I’m keeping the one made by my friend. The math on that doesn’t make a lick of sense… but I suspect it’s a conclusion that *most* people would draw.

Basically, what we have here is someone who ran the numbers and came up with the wrong answer. There are lots like that. You can find encyclopedias worth of carefully considered, mathematically inarguable proofs that the world is flat or that “jet fuel can’t melt steel” = “inside job,” or that the Fermi Paradox leads inexorably to the Reptilians. You just need to shrug, look at the world around you with all its pain and decay and misery and socialists and sickness and despair, look at your life with its failed careers and unfulfilled potentials, look down the line towards inevitable death at the hands of post-apocalyptic Antifa cannibals and realize that even with all that, you’d rather have lived your life than not. That painting on the wall is a reminder of that. I guess our philosopher friend just doesn’t get that. Perhaps he saw the simple conclusion that for the vast majority of people it’s better to have been than not, and he decided that he needed to complexify it. Otherwise… what’s a philosopher *for?*

 Posted by at 1:26 am
Nov 292017
 

Seems they’re stepping up their game:

North Korea missile launch: The most important things to know

The most recent missile reached an altitude of about 4,475 kilometers. Experts believe that this missile has the range to reach *all* of the United States. However, the warhead, which the Norks of course are claiming was super heavy, might have been light; it might have even been another stage. Still, even if they were only chucking a soccer ball at Florida, it’s an impressive achievement for a nation full of intestinal worms.

I would be utterly unsurprised if the missile is not even remotely accurate… they shoot it at Washington, D.C. and it hits Ohio. However, it would be a much less challenging mission to deposit a single warhead a few hundred kilometers above the central US in order to set off an EMP. If they were successful in pulling that off, the death toll would be horrendous. Estimates I’ve seen go up to a death toll of up to 90% of the American population due to the subsequent collapse of the power and transport infrastructure; famine would quickly follow, but not as quickly as major cities like Chicago and New York eating themselves. However, an EMP that takes outt the US civilian power grid would do close to diddly squat to the US military… so for a few days at leas thte US military would lash out and turn North Korea into ruined wasteland. it’s a safe bet that the moment the Norks launch that EMP weapons, they’ll launch an attack on South Korea. So the death toll in North Korea would be close to total; the death toll in South Korea could be millions. And the Japanese might get in on it.

And of course once the US has been shut down, it will be clear to everybody else that Team America World Cop is out of business. Russia will invade all its neighbors. China and India and Pakistan will probably go at it. The Arab world will go after Israel. The death toll could be in the billions, and civilization could come to an effective end.

With that possibility, the math on launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea starts looking better.

 Posted by at 12:45 am
Nov 282017
 

Too often the videos that high school students upload of themselves make you despair for the future, based on the utter stupidity and petty (and often not so petty) evil that the kids display. Then there’s this kid, who stands up to stupidity and petty evil in the classroom. I’ve little doubt that he’s getting some blowback at school for displaying wrongthink, and for idiot-shaming his moron of a teacher for all the world to see, but good on him anyway.

 

 Posted by at 10:07 am
Nov 272017
 

It’s probably for the best when nurses who want to kill babies post that information publicly. That’s *usually* the sort of thing that goes against hospital policy.

Indiana Nurse Under Investigation for Tweets about Killing White Babies

Can you imagine the cloud of legal liability the hospital would be forced to live under if they kept her on board? Even if she was the best, most conscientious nurse who ever nursed, if *anything* were to ever go wrong with a patient – especially a young white male patient – anywhere near to her care, the attack lawyers would come out in force. Such as in this case, where the presence of a hidden camera kinda changed the story about how a patient died:

Apparently the nursing home here got sued hard and agreed to some kind of settlement, even though it was the actual nurses who behaved badly not the nursing home itself. How does a hospital protect its patients – and itself – from medical staff who actively oppose the survival of the patients… unless the staff is actually caught doing or saying something along those lines?

 Posted by at 3:36 pm
Nov 272017
 

I just bet it is:

Huh. How does one pronounce”LGGBDTTTIQQAAP?”

Well, since they’re clearly having trouble finding enough room for such a vital meeting, I have a suggestion for where to put the overflow:

One wonders just how long these political acronyms can get, especially in Canada where the cultural drive to accommodate can drag on forever…

 

 Posted by at 10:44 am
Nov 252017
 

This story reminded me of the years of wild hedonism that defined my youth:

IUP to remove 170,000 unused books from its libraries

The  Indiana University of Pennsylvania library says that about half of its 486,000 books haven’t been checked out in 20 years, so it’s going to get rid of them.

Hmmm.

I spent *years* visiting the libraries of Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Colorado in Boulder, slowly and methodically scanning through the stacks of books in the science, engineering and aerospace sections. I found a *lot* of stuff (oddly, I didn’t seem to find a whole lot of parties, booze and women there, but oh well). The stuff I found formed the beginnings of my aerospace history collection… vast piles of photocopies made from books I’d pull off the shelves, go through page by page, copy what I wanted, then put back on the shelf. A minuscule percentage of what I found useful was actually checked out.

I understand that the engineering library  at UC Boulder has removed the bulk of the books, moving them to an off-site location. Students can still access them… you simply need to put in a request for said books and they’ll show up some time later. That’s fine, *if* you know what book you want. But how much useful research has been done by simply browsing? How often does someone find something useful in the book *next* to the one they were specifically looking for?

The claim for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania library is that they are going to focus their cleanout on books that are available digitally. But how many books, periodicals, papers and such are available as scans that are just *horrible* in quality? The NASA Tech Report server is filled with old reports that were scanned by people who clearly thought that diagrams, photos and artwork were wastes of space, best reduced to 2-bit B&W images that if you squint real hard while at a great distance might vaguely resemble the ghost of the original.

If the library needs money, fine. Take if from the athletic program. Hell, cut the coaches salaries by ten percent, that alone should just about do the trick. Every year have an auction to sell off the naming rights for the next years football team. Charge double tuition for grievance studies courses. Open an on-campus liquor store and pot dispensary, all profits going to the library. Cut the pay of all Socialist teachers to minimum wage. There are better solutions than getting rid of books by the truckload.

 Posted by at 7:51 am
Nov 202017
 

Gentlemen, behold:

She Said That A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.”

If people in government were held to the same standards as the rest of us… there’d be no people in government. Instead, it’s perfectly fine for a Senator to get likkered up, go driving and kill someone, then not only skip out on the whole “get arrested, tested, tried and imprisoned” thing, but then spend the next generation or two being consistently re-elected and determining the fate of the nation.

Accusations are just accusations… he said, she said, due process, etc. But in Conyers case, there was a settlement, so apparently there was some admission of guilt.

Infotainment and government both share the feature that the people in ’em end up with a whole lot of power, and it’s safe to assume that anyone who make a serious attempt to make a career in either is trying to accrue power. Conyers, for instance, has been in the House since NINETEEN FRICKEN SIXTY FIVE. His term in office is older than I am. Nobody spends that long in a position of power like this without being, or becoming, a power-mad monster.

More than some understanding of the awfulness of sexual harassment, I hope (beyond reason and rationality, I admit) that this current Outrage Theater will result in something like term limits for federal officeholders. If someone like John Conyers wants power over others, let him do it the honest way: form a damn cult.

 Posted by at 10:07 pm