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1
Or Kill Me / The Schizophrenic Republic - part II
« on: Today at 10:06:39 pm »
--Part 2 because I'm working on a larger piece this will be part of. Part 1 hasn't been posted anywhere--

America is, and has always been, a nation with a sharply fractured identity. Born during the years of the Enlightenment, a period of rapid scientific advancement and rekindled but overly romantic ideas about the golden age of classical democracy, the Founders of the American experiment set out to enshrine very extreme (for the time) ideas about government and political power in their new Republic. Fervent subscribers to the precepts of Classical Liberalism, they proclaimed that "all men are created equal" and that governments are instituted by "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". These are still inspirational ideas even today, even if they are barely understood anymore by most people -- including most of the leaders who seek and obtain elected office.

Of course, at the same time that these flowery words were being put to paper and inspiring a revolution in the name of democracy and the Enlightenment, America was also a country that relied socially and economically on the morally and physically repugnant institution of slavery. This is not news to anyone, and it is a topic covered in greater detail and with greater nuance elsewhere; but it is important when considering the character of the United States. We have always been, from long before the very inception of the ideas that would give rise to our Republic, an essentially schizophrenic nation defined largely by the deep and at times unbridgeable canyon separating our stated intentions and our actual practices.

We tend to gloss over this divide and coat it with as much sugar as we can manage. Obviously, there is no denying the Civil War that shredded our country in the 1860s and left its own indelible cultural marks and resentments. We often portray American history as an essentially forward-facing arrow in which the evils of slavery reached an untenable fever pitch in 1861, but that the Civil War was somehow the final word on the matter. After that, we imagine, we put our demons behind us with the North's victory over the South, the ensuing Constitutional amendments abolishing slavery, and harsh years of Reconstruction. But we have done generations of Americans an immense disservice by allowing ourselves to see history in that simplistic way.

In reality, America has never really recovered from that fundamental struggle. Honestly, America can never really "recover" from that struggle, because the arguments which led to the Civil War are the engine that powers American culture and defines the American psyche. Squabbles over "States' Rights", the propriety of discrimination, the role of government in social order, and numerous other questions remain unanswered. And they will probably always remain unanswered, not only because they are difficult questions but because our eternal struggle to answer them despite our inability to do so is the bedrock on which the American personality is based. The tug-of-war between our irreconcilable differences powers the engine of American progress and ingenuity.

In our most drastic attempt to answer these questions so far -- the Civil War -- the North imposed on the South, and the Federal Government on all subsequent generations of Americans, the notion that people cannot be trusted to do the right thing without direction (and coercion) from a benevolent power emanating from the seat of government. Whether or not this notion is essentially true, or whether or not it was anyone's intention, is not important. It is the way many Americans perceive history since the Civil War, and this is what millions of Americans continue to fight against.

That fight, and the popular will to ignore it, has defined the last century and a half of our history. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, when we decided against all evidence that the South had been "fixed", as soon as full control of the state legislatures were returned to Southern aristocrats, nearly all of the former Confederate States set about tearing out every stitch of social progress that had been forcibly sewn into their constitutions. Poll taxes were enacted to keep Black Americans out of elections. Slavery, though abolished in the outright sense, persisted through the economic exclusion and coerced subsistence of sharecropping. Racial segregation was enforced. Interracial marriage continued to be an abomination, one of many imaginary crimes that easily could and often did result in the murder of innocent Blacks by gangs of White thugs who nearly always got away with it, rarely accused and acquitted by all-white juries when they were.

The systematic intimidation, oppression, and disenfranchisement of minority groups remained integral to the politics of the South until the passage of the Civil Rights Act nearly a century later, mostly because polite society simply did not care. As far as the vast majority of White America was concerned -- including, and often especially those who considered themselves progressive and non-racist -- there was no problem. The Civil War had settled The Race Problem, and all that was left to do was for Blacks to get over it.

The North, for its part, was hardly a tolerant and multicultural Utopia. As wave after wave of immigrants arrived in America looking for better lives and opportunities, wave after wave of counterbalancing xenophobic paranoia arose to meet the newcomers with unwelcoming disdain, each wave ironically including members and descendants of previous immigrations now proving how purely American they had become by participating in the tradition of anti-immigrant fervor. America's split personality was evident then, as it is now, as a place that boasts of individual responsibility and opportunity while stubbornly categorizing people and defining them not by who they are, but where they are from and who they bring with them.

The reason it's important to remember our history is because it helps to place current events in a context where it makes sense. The lofty language of American idealism, where "all men are created equal", and where we have "liberty and justice for all", has always been a serene surface masking a deep reservoir of paranoia, distrust, and institutional inequality that gets more violent and more absurd the deeper one goes. Most Americans live somewhere beneath that surface, some lower than others. The most fortunate of us are lucky enough to break the surface once in a while and see America's promise firsthand -- which is a beautiful thing, but when you're swimming up there, it's very difficult to fathom what lies hundreds of feet down. And if you're always up there, the monstrous torrents lurking below are all but invisible, and never felt firsthand.


2
First, I'll just state that I realize what follows is an unlikely solution for a number of reasons, most of which relate to widespread cynicism, incompatibilities between worldviews, miscalculating the demand for such ideas, and general disorganization. So when you hit something that would get caught on one of those snags just be aware that I'm intentionally not accounting for them since I think those problems are possible to overcome through methods outside the scope of this particular post.

Now, this post will probably end up being a big wall of text, so let me summarize before I start free-writing my brains out. I propose that our current system of government (talking about the US here, but probably other places too) is archaic, obsolete, untenable, and so hopelessly mired in corruption and bad habits that it is futile to try and fix it. So I think rather than spend much more energy fighting to overpower or reform this institution, we should simply abandon it.

That seems preposterous, right? A whole country full of people can't just "walk away" from government. It has the guns and it collects the taxes and it passes the laws, after all. But this way of thinking about the government is just... incorrect. We tend to think of it as a man-made God; a "higher power" which is more or less omnipotent and omnipresent; able to rain justice (or injustice) down from the heavens. And yes, the government is a powerful organization. But it is still only an organization. It isn't really omnipotent or omniscient or omnipresent. It's just a big organization made up of a bunch of other big organizations, that provides services, and it all runs on money. Just like any corporation or American Legion outpost or Shriner's hospital. And all it would take to abandon it, is to provide the services it provides some other way.

The question here is a simple one. Aside from the fact that we may not want to because we don't think it would work, what exactly would stop us from organizing an "alternative" government, without "revolution", without even direct confrontation, that simply accepts donations and organizes and provides the services that government provides? It could be simple services at first -- say, legal advice, or general information, or health clinics -- but gradually adding more complex services like public transportation and healthcare. Given the fact that many countries are able to provide services like these with per capita expenses well within what would be affordable for large sections of people, it doesn't seem that money would be the biggest obstacle.

With the Internet, one advantage to such an "alternative government" could be the erasure of geographical and even lingual boundaries. All one would need for citizenship in such a state would be access to the Internet and possibly a mailing address. The process of legislation itself could be carried out with technologies used by distributed software development teams and organized according to open source principles, allowing for true direct democratic collaboration on policy. The movement could be organized in any number of ways, including a non-hierarchical network of individuals that can't just be rounded up and imprisoned in the event that the old government realizes that a critical mass of citizens are ready to jump ship. Given widespread-enough membership, goods and services could form the basis of an economy unaffected by the whims of financial elites, and eventually the organization could even support various methods of providing physical security for citizens around the world. It could do these things without coercion, and without the need (and thus could be designed to explicitly exclude the ability) to forcibly homogenize language, beliefs, ancestry, or culture. And as time passes, the current forms of government would just wither and fall away like dead leaves.

This idea is not new, of course. It isn't unique. It has been tried before, and it has failed (damn Hippies). But with access to modern communication and manufacturing technologies, the idea has a chance of succeeding if only there were some way to drive genuine interest in it. The only reason such a system cannot exist, would be because we believe it is impossible, or ridiculous. So I'm not saying this can be done, only that it could be done if humans weren't quite so unimaginative in large groups.

3
First. This is not a "hey look how egalitarian I am" thread. I will not be expounding self-righteously on these points. It isn't here to show off what I know and you don't, or to ask for someone to give me kudos. It's just here because I often struggle with not understanding why some people say some things, but don't ask about them because it seems like asking exposes the bigotry in a negative way. I imagine other people may have similar experiences. If not, well, sorry intrude, I guess? idk.

This thread is a record of the (likely many) instances where I will come to have an actual understanding of why my supposedly selfless, progressive beliefs are in fact resting on a frame of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or otherwise bigoted bullshit.


2017/01/26, 7:32 PM: I realize (by having it explained to me) why it is not a contradiction to expect, demand, and claim physical and emotional equality for women and still be more offended/enraged by violence against women than by violence against men. I'm annoyed and a little ashamed at my failure to arrive at this realization without having to ask someone.

4
The Secrets Forum / Our dreams have failed us
« on: January 07, 2017, 07:47:43 am »
Winter grows like a glacier on the lengthening evenings, night after night depositing a fresh layer of cold onto what was there yesterday. It fits, this season of hibernating nature where everything looks, and feels, like a corpse. The flashing and buzzing of our synthetic society does what it can, but no matter what advances we make in quantum dot color technology, no matter how vivid the reds get, the cheap veneer of civilization peels away upon any close inspection. We scurry, we frantically, urgently distract ourselves with everything we can get a hold of. We build bigger buildings, we buy bigger TVs, we drive faster cars, we blast more rockets into space. We demand progress, because progress is how we define ourselves. Without it, we ... trail off, unable to complete a thought. Nothing.

In a way, it could be said we are the last lucky generation. The ruins of civilization are in such good repair, for now. At least the lights are still on. We know the ride has ended, but if we just hold out a little longer, maybe we -- maybe our children -- will live and die before the whole thing collapses in on itself entirely. No one talks seriously about rebuilding. No one talks seriously at all. No one talks at all. Well, we are all talk, just not to each other.

I am a pessimist. My pessimism runs deep, practically spiritual. I have an unshakable faith in the thorough rottenness of nature's ill-fated experiment in sentience. We have no idea what we are doing, who we are, or who we want to be. And yet, after having my pessimism vindicated so abruptly, I find myself wishing for optimism to show up somewhere. The 1960s were awful for a lot of people, but they gave rise to Star Trek, a show that is universally described as "optimistic" but which, it occurs to my cynical mind, managed to place the universal goodness and godwill of humanity exactly where it belongs: in some lofty, distant future that we will never achieve. At the time, and even now, Star Trek is lauded as describing humans at our best. And, here and there, its optimism inspired real people in real places to do truly good things. But mostly it comforted the already comfortable by telling us that someday, we would rise above it all and become our best selves. So we convinced ourselves that eventually, everything would work itself out. That we were on the right track. That "the arc of history bends toward justice".

Not today, though. Equality is inevitable; it just isn't yet realized. In the meantime, we need more prisons. We need tougher laws for those thugs. In the meantime, we need to cut back on these entitlements, and push people to be responsible for themselves. Someday, someday we will get there; but today, we are here, and let's just do this right now.

I am not educated to know if any of this makes sense in any sort of context. Did we ever value today what we believed we would value tomorrow? Or has our vision of the future always been so divorced from our plan for this afternoon? Our dreams so useless while we are awake? It turns out that history does not move itself. That the arrow of time does not attract the "arc of history". That what goes up does, in fact, come back down.

5
The Secrets Forum / sappy election blog #14
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:41:03 pm »
The last few days have sent me knocking all over the place. My headspace resembles a pinball machine, complete with shards of sharp, tinny music and incessant ringing bell noises. The election results put a pit in my stomach what has not budged since, no matter what levers I pull or what I try to wash the taste of the last 72 hours out of my brain with. I have browsed all of the idea outlets that have earned my attention and my time over the past 18 months, digital, physical, and personal. The sharp pangs of piercing disgust have multiplied at every turn, but at least they have dulled a bit and grown into a constant, droning melancholy eating at the edges of my consciousness. Hope has been reported missing. I have slept restlessly, and I not dreamed for what seems like a very, very long time.

I have tried the normal, human reaction, which is to attempt to wrap my mind around the events of the past week. But the standard issue "Facebook Leftist" repertoire of communal wisdom is impotent in explaining these. The extended set of explanations offered by various emotional wrecks, all of them scrambling over one another to arrive at the first sound conclusion, yields little better results other than a vague suggestion that "Liberals are too mean", which in my estimation is dangerously close to saying "Nazis are not too mean", and is thus suspicious brain food. I must admit that to whatever extent I still care to find a unifying theory as to why we as a culture have chosen this path, I am not much farther along in that investigation today than I was at midnight Tuesday night. Although, to my horror, it would seem that the most correct statement that can be made in relation to "why" this has happened, is simply to state the obvious: America has chosen Fascism.

We can all, I think, agree that the American Left failed in this election. But contrary to the maniacs who are doing whatever they can to convince us that the failure rests solely with the American Left, I find the sheer mass of this decision to outweigh anything the American Left is capable of, even in its heyday, which this certainly is not. I do not know exactly how to express this eloquently, so forgive me if I devolve into grunts and shrieks here, but America has chosen Fascism.

Some people want us to believe that this is due to the fact that "Progressives" are "too condescending". Which basically amounts to an argument that Liberals are bullying white people. It almost sounds reasonable, too, until you remember that the Fascists who won this election by being outright hostile to everyone who is not a white Christian male. So to accept the blame on behalf of "mean Liberals" is to first dismiss the humanity of the Right's targets out of hand, because if we can lose an election by being indifferent to the plight of whites but win an election by being openly hostile to people of color, the disabled, the elderly, and the queer, I really do not understand why I am supposed to feel guilty about the former, and appease those practicing the latter.

My initial reaction (which can be gleaned from my prolific shit-posting on Facebook throughout the event) was to place the blame squarely on so-called "Progressives" who managed to justify to themselves a complete lack of action on behalf of people who were in the sights -- and continue to be in the sights -- of the incoming Trump administration. And although I have learned that such initial reactions are often valueless, in this case I must conclude my instincts were fairly accurate. At its heart, whatever your belief about absolutely anything in this year and a half long endurance test, the most fundamental fact borne out on election day was that when it really counted, the "allies" -- WE "Allies" -- turned high tail and fled the field.

So in the coming days, months, and years, when every manner of horror visits the people of this country, one marginalized group at a time, I lack any faith that there is any coherent resistance at all. While we are busy worrying about sounding "condescending", whole neighborhoods will disappear. While we are wringing our hands about being "too uncooperative", our neighbors will disappear. While we sing the praise of a peaceful transition of power, the lights will go out, and the we won't know who to call. And someday, in a future that might as well be a century from today for many of us, when the lights come back on, and someone dares to hope again, where will we have been?

6
The Secrets Forum / So, I think I'm about to be fired.
« on: January 27, 2016, 06:10:09 am »
Jobs, like every kind of interpersonal relationship, are terrible and unrewarding. I have been dating my current employer for almost 4 years now, and the shine has worn off a bit. It's difficult to ignore the toxic political atmosphere, and I can see that my work - although it's as good as it's ever been - is motivated more by the flailing reflexes of a drowning spirit than by anything like a desire to succeed or make progress. My department, aside from being a pile of similarly flailing, dysfunctional Aspies, is currently being ground into mush beneath the wheels of a particularly large bus. We have "struggled to meet key metrics" and "become somewhat lax in our duties". That's "we" the department, not the royal we, mind you.

I have no very specific evidence that I am about to be canned. On paper, everything is great. Performance review for 2015 was a solid 4/5 (5/5 is considered impossible except for people in Sales), no write-ups, no coaching. But the last couple of weeks there has been a whole lot of "make sure you write down what you do and how to do it so others can cover you," a lot of emails not being replied to, projects going unreviewed, and general gruffness from Teh Mgmt. Markedly lower levels of eye contact. Responsibilities that were mine according to paper, given to other people.

Also, last week there was a Particularly Bad Fuckup, which could reasonably be considered at least partly my fault, and it came a time of great hawkish watching that arose from the previous week's Particularly Bad Fuckup during which I inadvertently exposed the complete ineptitude of my superiors to their superiors.

Now, I am a paranoid person by nature. And it is true that the prospect of job hunting has been on my mind for some time now, to the point of submitting my resume to a few places. I can't really discern whether my cabin fever is bleeding into my "what the fuck is happening" cortex, or if I'm picking up something serious. If it does turn out to be all in my head, I should probably start taking Xanax. If it isn't, something stronger may be in order. Either way, if you happen to be a billionaire with nothing better to do than pay me large sums of cash in return for computer and network services (or, to be honest, any kind of service), I will not summarily dismiss any offers.

7
The Secrets Forum / free stuff for you
« on: November 19, 2015, 12:05:30 am »
i run a server that has features similar to dropbox (file sync/share etc). if you are a person who would like a way to share/host files without some lame ass ad-driven bullshit and/or care about privacy (all the files are encrypted and as the server admin even i do not have access without your keys, and it has been some time since the last NSA raid. also the server is behind a valid SSL certificate), i will make an account for you if you ask. might be ok for hosting propaganda and assorted nonsense.

truth in advertising: this is really so i can get some experience managing this particular platform. there's no cost to you. the only caveat is i'm not claiming to be some mega corporation with 100% uptime and i'm not responsible for backing up your data. if my hard drives crash your shit goes with them.

just don't spam up my drive space with anything illegal, immoral, or stupid like Nickelback mp3s.

oh and the domain is www.disc0rd.com which is awesomer than dropbox.

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The Secrets Forum / I found a bunch of crap on my computer
« on: November 16, 2015, 07:33:51 pm »
mostly half-finished pamphlets and rants. Very low quality guaranteed. I have no idea who authored most of it.

Here's a link: https://www.disc0rd.com/index.php/s/4VEqMVsk2q7uFJe


9
The Secrets Forum / Excuse me while I complain about getting old.
« on: May 14, 2015, 04:03:30 am »
Fuck the following things:

- Hair that migrates to new locations for no reason at all. I always looked forward to having a distinguished gray color in my hair, but now all the places that should be gray are bald. Fuck you, genes.

- The fact that I can't even tell what being hungry feels like anymore. Used to be the simplest thing in the world: stomach growls, eat food. Now? It's like a new Indiana Jones adventure tracking down the source of some new ache or pain or twitch, and always finding out it's just that I need food.

- Being slow to do things that should be instantaneous, like peeing or realizing how dumb John McCain is.

- Wishing the whole neighborhood would just shut up and go inside. Including myself, after about 7PM.

- Yelling at people who can't hear me for things I'm not even sure about, and yelling at people who CAN hear me, for things I'm pretty sure I'm wrong about.

- Resenting young people for doing the same stupid shit I used to do, and don't want to do anymore anyway.

- Realizing that idiots are forever, and almost being OK with that.

- Saying "you damn kids and your toys" and only kidding about 90% of it.

- Preferring a book and a nap over a romp in the sack.

- Seeing all of this happening and being unable to hold it back.

10
It's a good thing I don't believe in conspiracy theories, because if I did I'd be tempted to think the entire subprime mortgage crash and the following "Great Recession" were engineered from the beginning as a long troll on private home ownership in America. Of course, I am sophisticated and smart enough to know that nobody would do that -- not because they are above doing it, but because nobody can think that far ahead anymore.

Still, according to this link, the results are about the same as they'd be if it were some devious master plan.

There are three narratives to this story. One, the Conservative narrative, begins in the 1990s with President Clinton's push to drive up home ownership among Americans as a way to boost economies national and local, increase civic participation, and decrease crime, among other things (maybe some shadowy organization of goddamn HOAs bought Clinton, who knows). Of course, this was all a terrible and Socialist™ thing to do, because something something poor people with nice things something something, and the Conservatives were right because ten years later, a housing crash happened which proves poor people don't deserve nice things.

The "liberal" story starts around 2001 or so with the Banksters inventing a number of insidious financial instruments based on imaginary money that could only be realized through various legal and semi-legal forms of consumer financial fraud, the largest of these being the "Sub-Prime Mortgage," which if they were made out of anything physical would be confiscated at any airport for their tendency to blow up and break things. Eventually this game of American Roulette had to end in tears, and so it did in 2007 and 2008 with the collapse of the housing market. The Banksters knew it would happen, and they did it anyway, and that's why in 2009 the Democrats had them all arrested and put them in prison for a very long time. Or something.

But the third narrative, the one the lizard people and those aliens from Planet X don't want you to know about -- the real story here -- is far worse than either one of those two tales of political and financial incompetence and botched altruism. This one starts all the way back in January 1977, the last days of Gerald Ford's presidency. See, Gerald Ford was an asshole. We know he was an asshole because he was a Republican. And he was feeling especially dickish in January 1977 because he was about to be replaced by that wimp, Jimmy Carter. A president named Jimmy? What was the world coming to? Anyway, Soon-to-be-Ex-President Ford was intent on showing the ungrateful Americans who kicked his sorry ass out of the White House a thing or two. So he set in motion a series of bad decisions that eventually ruptured thirty years later like a disgusting time bomb made out of infected appendixes.

There are people who will tell you that the great engine of American prosperity and social stability has always been our "work ethic" or our "religion" or our "patriotism." These people are wrong. Actually, they're not only wrong, they are lying, on purpose, and are most likely being paid by the Koch Brothers or the estate of Ronnie James Dio to keep those awful lies in circulation. In actual point of fact, the thing that keeps America from becoming some terrible third-world nation is our fierce belief in private property. It is our fierce belief in "I got mine, you got yours, and never the twain shall meet" that keeps us milling about our daily lives contentedly, producing and consuming and voting and donating. It is the idea that all of us having some "skin in the game" keeps us happy and committed to society that was the basis for Clinton's push for expanded home ownership, and that idea was right. It just so happens that Clinton's not-terrible idea fit into Ford's plan like a cigar.

Ford's plan was brilliant in its subterfuge. He met quietly with a number of his fellow anti-taxers and pro-poverty douchebags in the GOP and Big Business™, and they set to work sewing the seeds of the biggest land grab and legal shakedown in American history. Details of the plan at this stage are few, but we do know that by the mid 90's, someone had gotten Clinton to push for this "Partners in the American Dream" program that virtually eliminated traditional barriers to home ownership like, um, being able to afford a house. And in the decade or so the plan was in effect, banks fell all over themselves to mop up the veritable chemical spill of easy money being pumped out of government loan guarantees like sweet crude from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

That, of course, is where most coverage stops, more or less. Bad government encourages bad business, and all that. But the story is continuing today and nobody is really paying attention anymore. In the wake of the housing crash, newly vacated shards of the American Dream were, and continue to be, snatched up by multi-billion-dollar corporations. Now, this is probably just business on their part, but consider the implications for this new reality where Americans rarely live in anything even remotely resembling real private property. Compare the legal rights of a home owner to the legal rights of a renter. All the same liabilities and responsibilities exist, with none of the privileges.

America is now a nation of serfs and peasants, living in tenements and shacks put up by corporate lords and provided for civil use so long as we agree to 100 pages of demands in the form of a rental or lease agreement, including an agreement to forego things like your 4th Amendment rights while occupying your assigned domicile. Add to that the currently in-vogue practice of Civil Forfeiture and what you have is a government which, at all levels, has built a hyperspace bypass right through the space formerly occupied by your rights as an individual.

And it's all thanks to Gerald Ford. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Richard Nixon should still be the President, and this is why I am writing his name in for every available office this year and every election year, until the day I die.

11
And be creative! No points for just posting silly pictures from an image search.

12
The Secrets Forum / transformed by the corporation
« on: September 26, 2014, 05:58:05 pm »
Over the course of the past several business cycles, I have inherited a large pool of experience in transforming direct language into a more polished and deliverable format. In fact, at this juncture, my ability to communicate without the use of approved wording has been critically compromised. Rather than view this development as a hindrance, I'd like to use this to generate an opportunity for production-positive knowledge transfer. To that end, I am offering to take submissions and modify their language to align with company communications policy. You are invited to participate in this exchange by offering the roughest, least polished terms and phrases you can think of.

To help, here are a few recent examples at my workplace that turned unacceptably blunt language into conversation-conducive remarks:

Original: WHY IS MY MANAGER AN ASSHOLE? HE KEEPS ASKING ME TO DO MORE WORK AND I DON'T HAVE TIME TO DO WHAT WAS ALREADY ASSIGNED!
Transformed: I seek to enhance my productivity output despite any obstacles presented by operational realities.

O: HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL JACK THAT HIS MICROPHONE WILL NOT WORK UNTIL HE PLUGS IT THE FUCK IN?
T: Technological hardware considerations can have a tangible impact on audio traffic.

O: HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO FILL OUT THE FORM, IF YOU WON'T GRANT ME ACCESS TO THE FORM ON SHAREPOINT?
T: Your admirable dedication to company security practices has inspired me to synthesize a solution to this task while remaining aligned with company processes.

13
The Secrets Forum / I really hate to bring this up, but
« on: September 26, 2014, 05:02:01 am »
our government really is falling down on the job. We are under constant siege by dimfucks and fuckbrains and other shady persons qualifying for fuck-related slurs. We have had a long recent history of awful attempts at violence and the public news stream is full of cock, repost, and assorted bullshit. What have we gotten for our votes? Nothing. What have we gotten for our taxes? Nothing. What has our government given us? Nothing. Not even basic services like completed punchlines. It is for these reasons that I submit to you this petition.

-----------PETITION FOLLOWS-------------


I, _____(legal name)_______, BEING OF RELATIVELY SOUND MIND AND CONSCIENCE, DO WITH ALL SERIOUSNESS AGREE TO THE IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT AND FORCEFUL REMOVAL FROM OFFICE OF THE CURRENT MEXICO, AND AFFIX MY GOOD NAME AND __(number between 85 and 100)__% OF MY PERSONAL FORTUNE TOWARD HOLDING A PUBLIC REFERENDUM IN ORDER TO ELECT A NEW MEXICO, WITHIN THE NEXT __(number between 0 and 1)__ DAYS.

SO MOTE IT BE
__(signature or pee stain)__

14
The Secrets Forum / THE GREAT FILTER AND WHY HUMANITY IS FUCKED
« on: September 18, 2014, 02:03:01 am »
OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER IS OBVIOUS: THE FOLLOWING BULLSHIT IS 100% CONJECTURE


It's a safe bet that the term "Great Filter" is already known to most of the people on this board, but because typing is fun, I'll give a brief explanation here anyway. Statistically speaking, based on a few safe assumptions dealing with the size and age of our galaxy, the prevalence of certain elements in the cosmos, and various things we know from the history of biological life on Earth, the universe should be teeming with alien life. Life should be more common than fat people at Wal-Mart. That there is life "out there" should be a safer bet than guessing that the neckbeard who lives across your street in his parents' basement listens to Rush and has at least one imitation Samurai sword. Our galaxy alone should be home to something like seventy quadrillion metric fuckshits of advanced civilizations. All the math that goes into this assumption is as sound as we can make it, and even Republican scientists are more or less certain of its truth.


The problem is, if our galaxy is so full of people, WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY? We have no evidence of alien life anywhere, unless you listen to that asshole Georgio Tsoukalos or various hillbillies who can't tell the difference between a girlfriend and a cousin. Even considering the vastness of space, the relatively slow speed of electromagnetic wave-based communication, and our recently developed ability to eavesdrop on said communication, we should be receiving so many god damn artificially generated signals that talking to our own satellites should be like trying to tell the guy in the fishnet turtleneck whether you want X or acid at a Skrillex gig. But space is silent. Why?


There are a number of competing theories as to why this might be the case, from "your math is just wrong" to "they are there, they're just using some kind of communication we don't understand." But the funnest theory is the Great Filter, which basically says that life is common -- even intelligent life similar to ourselves -- but that some Awful Thing prevents it from achieving interstellar travel or communication. So there could be billions of worlds like earth, each of them infested with horrible little worms like us, but they are all quarantined by the Great Filter. Usually it is assumed that they end up blowing themselves up with nuclear weapons or something before achieving anything like what we dream about in Star Trek.


While nuclear or biological or chemical warfare is a perfectly plausible explanation, I don't think it is the right one. Humans, for example, have had a good 75 years with access to nukes, and we haven't killed ourselves off yet. And, what's worse, all signs point to our collective lack of being serious about playing with our best toys continuing indefinitely. No, we will not be sterilizing the planet, at least not on purpose. I think the Great Filter is much more sinister than just an innocent collective autocidal incident.


It comes down to what makes a society a society. In order to achieve what we call civilization, our species relies both on collective intelligence and individual ingenuity. We must be able to function cognitively at a high level as distinct members of the whole, as well as to communicate with each other and our progeny efficiently in order to maintain the systems and infrastructure we construct. The problem is that at a certain point in every successful civilization, the relative comfort and convenience afforded individuals leads to a breakdown of the "social instinct." It becomes acceptable and even prudent to put oneself before one's community, because the individual loses sight of the fact that a society, like any kind of team, only works when it works together as a unit.


Such breakdowns are apparent throughout history as the causes of all kinds of social decay and collapse. But the real Great Filter comes in when we consider what kind of sacrifices would be required from individuals if their civilization attempted to colonize the stars. It is a task of such magnitude and scale, economically and temporally, that it holds no real interest for the individuals who would need to contribute to it. Those who began the process would have no hope of seeing it even halfway through. Biological life does not allow for lifespans that would make it worthwhile to travel from our star system to another one, for colonization or any other purpose. In order to accomplish that task, we would have to completely eliminate the entire concept of "I" and become a new sort of life form, multi-multicelled organism. Not in a figurative sense, but a real, literal sense. An actual colony organism where the individual cells are completely disposable and expendable, where intelligence resides in an organ or a process that cannot be comprehended by any of the individual units.


And we are unwilling to even take small steps in that direction. We are all about ME ME ME and MY MY MY. MY stuff. MY money. MY taxes. MY rights. Humanity is horrible at cooperating for anything other than fighting off an existential threat, and even then that threat must be immediate enough to directly threaten individuals (see: climate change). We just don't do things on a scale large enough to leap from our star system to any other. I think it is because everything we have achieved is because we are wired for individualism, and that wiring prevents us from achieving anything of any magnitude larger than maybe a planetary government (which will of course be a government of self-interested assholes that exists to facilitate the marginally interesting lives of other self-interested assholes).


So that is the Great Filter. That we are constitutionally prevented from shedding our egos to accomplish a task we can only dream of because we have egos.


Or something.

15
The Secrets Forum / classical music: more metal than metal
« on: January 07, 2014, 05:45:43 pm »
So, in my old age, I have discovered that classical music doesn't suck. But I have a problem. Most of it does suck. Especially every single scrap of malauditory shit written by pretentious assholes who wish they were good enough to die at Mozart's feet in the past 150 years.

The purpose of this thread is to see if any of you irreverent bums know of any DECENT classical music that I should listen to, because I'm really lazy and the Google machine hasn't been very helpful. Everyone who says something is good is wrong. Beethoven is excellent, but wears thin after a while. Mozart is alright. I am liking Brahms so far. But surely there are less prominent composers who are as good as or even better than these overblown baroque-era Miley Cyruses. Who are they?

Now, I'll be frank. I am not looking for "edgy" or "innovative" classical composers. Invariably, in the context of the symphony, those two adjectives are euphemisms for "likes to use a lot of that god-awful dissonance shit" and "lacks the decency to present an audible rhythm." I do not want to wade through unfathomable seas of notes and instruments that disagree with each other, or try to wrap my aged and shuttered mind around "ambient" pieces that sound like someone delicately vomiting at the other end of a very long rubber tube. I want clear melody, harmony, and rhythm in the traditional sense: pleasing to the ear, but also complex and able to bear multiple extended listens. I am not looking for the kind of shit that BBC marches out every year at the Proms, which is only pleasing to self-satisfied schmucks in tuxedos who probably go to the symphony so they can go home to bitch about it over expensive wine that they are also bitching about. I would prefer only music written prior to 1860, because apparently after that year everyone in the classical scene got completely fucktarded and started "innovating" by deleting everything in their compositions that could be defined as "music." There may be newer compositions done in the Baroque or Classical styles, but I have not heard of them. That's what you are for !

The real problem I'm trying to solve with this music is that I live in Phoenix, which has less culture than cheese manufactured in the vacuum of outer space. I need to feel like there is a point to humanity, that we can paint mind-altering soundscapes, but in a format that is tied to history. Anyway, do you have any ideas?

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