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Messages - Cramulus

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eh you know, this is more frustrating than it's worth

sorry if I caused any of it, it was honestly not my intent

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discipline
« on: July 02, 2014, 05:04:56 pm »
Then what do you call "power is subtle and all pervasive and there is nothing we can do to effect it"?

Foucault doesn't say we can't affect it

He says we can't decapitate it

Foucault, by the way, doesn't think power is evil or that it shouldn't be concentrated. It's just a tool. If you're the one its being used against, it's good to understand what exactly we're talking about. Because the way things are right now, the guillotine can't really solve anything. The antisocial behaviors of governments and corporations are generated by a mutually sustained system of rewards and punishments, not by one evil guy collecting taxes for personal profit.

That time has passed. The current mode of power cannot be altered via beheadings like a sovereign power could. There will never be another guillotine style revolution in the west, and the reasons for that are buried in the French and American revolutions.

This is where this viewpoint becomes pure evil. When I said "dont worry about power" I was wording my point bad. My point is that the system does have a pervasive and subtle effect on us, but everyone lives in a system with similar effects on them. Humans self organize into big systems like this, on pretty much every continent on the planet fuckhuge systems like ours have arised. Zulus, Romans, Aztecs, Imperial Japan, Mongolia, its pretty safe to say that this is human nature. Humans are designed to organize into groups, what Foucalt is doing is drawing a false semantic connection between this natural self organizing tendency and concrete power by giving them the same name. He then proceeds to assume that because you cant get rid of one(which again, is like complaining you cant get rid of the weather. Even if we could destroy the current system completely people would just make another one.) you cant alter the other.

Saying that the current power balance is just a result of human nature sounds like a cop-out.

The school to prison pipeline
The pay-to-win criminal justice system
The bichromatic spectrum of american politics,

these aren't just ubiquitous structures which naturally arise from "human nature", or the fact that we live in groups, there are specific historical reasons for their existence.

Thats where I call shenanigans. You can alter power, you just have to take a different route than before the French and American Revolutions. Naturally different systems manifest power in different ways. If you cant just kill the assholes in charge to change things then why the fuck did they kill Kennedy and MLK? The difference between this system and the old system is that power just isnt well labeled. It doesnt wear and a crown, and most importantly, there is no one person in charge you can behead. Our system is a monument to Humanities ability to build things so complicated probably no one can understand it. But you can still effect it in meaningful ways, which is what the people in concrete positions of power are doing right now. They dont have absolute control, no one does, even the old kings didnt or they wouldnt have been beheaded, but they can effect things.

I don't think any of that is in disagreement with Foucault

Concrete power is real and it can be changed. Focusing on the "subtle and pervasive" aspects of power is a losing life script. Its worrying about things that you probably dont have much power over while lumping in things you can meaningfully change in with them. This is a deadly feedback loop, because youll keep focusing on how "power" manifests in the little interactions you have with people and your trips to the grocery store ect ect and youll see how you cant really meaningfully effect it. Then because youve lumped concrete power under the same general label of "power" youll say "See, theres nothing I can do to change power." And youll have a constant source of feedback reinforcing this worldview where you are powerless. Foucalts whole argument is a sleight of hand and its just plain evil on top of that.

Seriously, dont trust the French.

I think we've seen examples in recent years of power shifts, and how that can happen rather organically through a deliberate attention to those subtle and pervasive interactions.

For example - homosexuals experience less oppression now than they did 20 years ago. The shift happened in part due to legislation (concrete power), but to pave the way for that, we had to participate in the consensus. Prejudice had to become uncool, socially, before legislators started to follow suit.

That's why I don't see the current distribution of power as necessarily a bad thing (though clearly it's concentrated in some bad places)- it's probably better than sovereign power. The fact that it changes more slowly and is insulated against revolution is a double edged sword. All those people posting politics on social networks are actually playing a role in broad change.. In olden times, having a low opinion of the Crown was something you'd have to keep quiet for fear of retribution. Sovereign power reacted to challenges as if they were a duel of wills between two entities, and that resulted in hundreds of years of public executions and failed coups - Now public dissent is a recognized and necessary part of the political process, and those little social interactions between groups are part of it too.

Cain, at some point you posted a line, not sure if it was yours, about the disconnect in the SJW dialog... something about how one one end of the spectrum, trans kids are being thrown out of their homes and beaten, but most of the net dialog is about not offending somebody by using the wrong pronoun --- You got a copy of that floating around? I want to savor it some more.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Discipline
« on: July 02, 2014, 12:44:54 pm »
And really, the idea that power manifests in "every interaction we have" is horseshit. Of course we are all effected by the system, thats because we are all a part of it. Theres no point worrying yourself to death because the system has a certain degree of influence on you, everything you come in contact with has influence on you. All the people that make up your social circle have influence on you, theatens have an influence on you, fucking solar flares have an influence on you. You arent an alien visiting this universe in a hermetically sealed spacesuit made of skin. Youre rolling around in it like a pig, youre breathing it in every second, youre balls deep in this motherfucker.

What Foucault points out is that this contemporary mode of power is actually different from how it was historically distributed. A Sovereign power is not present in every interaction, you can actually hide from it, subvert it, build a little life outside of it. It's a hierarchical form of power - top down. By making the public the input for "why everybody needs discipline" rather than some dude in a castle on a hill, it created a completely different type of power. One that is more gentle, but also more pervasive.

There will always be power, and there will always be systems of power that organize people en mass. Thats just what humans do. Dont worry about it. Chillax. Stressing about it is like stressing out over the weather. Sometimes the weather fucks you, but you just do what you can to deal with it, you dont agonize over the fact that weather exists. Dont stress over the system you live in. Deal with it.

with all due respect, fuck that in all caps

There are different modes of power, with largely different effects on the individual. Studying their differences and origins helps us understand why we have things like juries and investment banks.

"don't think about power, it's not going anywhere so just deal with it" is serf talk.

Anyone who thinks that we really really need investment bankers deserves a guillotine. Currently it is against the law to lob the heads off of idiots, but there will come a time for that. If not now, later.

That time has passed. The current mode of power cannot be altered via beheadings like a sovereign power could. There will never be another guillotine style revolution in the west, and the reasons for that are buried in the French and American revolutions.


I don't think you read the articles Cain or I posted... whether there actually is a Facebook IRB is in doubt, and if there is, it profoundly fails to live up to the ethical standards set by the single largest health science research funding agency in the world.

Further, the questions being raised, and specifically the phrasing of my own objection, concerns whether the way they went about conducting the research is ethical (by current generally-accepted standards) and whether it has high potential to foster public distrust of social science research.

Being published does not endorse the ethics of the research, and it certainly does nothing to mitigate the damage done to the research community by irresponsible and unethical researchers. A major paper was published from the Tuskegee experiment.

absolutely -- I did read the articles, my impression was that the Cornell IRB approved the research based on info it received from Facebook's internal IRB. Facebook's IRB is of course dubious, but I figured Cornell was the relevant review board to gatekeep the PNAS journal 'cause they're a university. Well I guess that's not the case... seriously creepy. Cornell has been distancing itself from this. It's also worth noting - the issue isn't clear, & some academics disagree about how much approval and oversight was actually needed here.

It's adorable that you think I don't know what I'm talking about, though.

I'm not sure how this escalated to a personal level. If I pressed a button, I sincerely apologize; I'm genuinely trying to make sense of this rather complicated nest of information.

btw, I haven't watched this yet, but here's a TED talk I found by one of the paper's authors:

Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest.

it does sound like a kissing-cousin to Zuckerberg's opinions on privacy... that visibility leads to honesty, and living in the open is the new social norm.


Even Susan Fiske, the professor of psychology at Princeton University who edited the study for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of America, had doubts when the research first crossed her desk.

"I was concerned," she told me in a phone interview, "until I queried the authors and they said their local institutional review board had approved it—and apparently on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people's News Feeds all the time... I understand why people have concerns. I think their beef is with Facebook, really, not the research."

But, as The Atlantic, in a rare act of investigative journalism, points out:

But there seems to be a question of whether Facebook actually went through an IRB. In a Facebook post on Sunday, study author Adam Kramer referenced "internal review practices." A Forbes report, citing an unnamed source, said that Facebook only used an internal review. When I asked Fiske to clarify, she told me the researchers'  "revision letter said they had Cornell IRB approval as a 'pre-existing dataset' presumably from FB, who seems to have reviewed it as well in some unspecified way... Under IRB regulations, pre-existing dataset would have been approved previously and someone is just analyzing data already collected, often by someone else."

oh snapple apple!

well shit yeah, if their IRB gave them permission to use a pre-existing data set, that certainly doesn't account for tinkering with the news feed and then collecting new data.

So if facebook is calling this a gray area because they tinker with news feeds all the time (and therefore this doesn't count as a manipulation, but business-as-usual) then I'd want to hear a finer explanation of why and how they filter users' news feed and how this research is different from their day to day practice.

yep. we all gave informed consent in the user agreement.

Not in a sense any Institutional Review Board would recognize or accept as ethical. And very clearly not in any way the NIH would consider ethical. Obviously, Facebook isn't held to NIH standards, but still, performing mood manipulation experiments on a population that could not by any reasonable expectation be considered properly informed or to have given actual consent is shitty and unethical.

Well, it was a peer reviewed study, published in pnas. So their IRB does apparently think that the legally binding TOS agreement qualifies as informed consent. I suspect it'd hold up in court -we know nobody reads those things, but they're still legal agreements. If somebody asks you to sign an informed-consent document, and you don't read it but sign it anyway, you've still given informed consent.

Only one of the three authors is a facebook researcher. Doing some research on the other names --- one is (this is weird) a researcher for a tobacco watchdog group (?), the other is a professor at Ithica, with a pretty extensive body of research on affect control theory. Looks like he's been focused on researching the link between exposure to digital social networks and self-esteem since at least 2011.

I am still somewhat alarmed by the research, but I gotta wonder, if we didn't feel like facebook was conducting it in secret, would it still be alarming? Maybe it's good that we're discovering these links. The relationship between online social networks and your emotional state is probably a healthy topic to examine. At least THIS research is being done in public, in a peer reviewed journal, rather than some secret MK-ULTRA style lab. Looking at the abstract of Hancock's other work - it's interesting stuff. I don't think I have a problem with his other work, it was the initial attention grabbing headline of "FACEBOOK IS DOING MIND CONTROL RESEARCH" that put me on guard.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: WOMP-ertainment
« on: July 01, 2014, 12:57:58 pm »
 :lol: I'm trying to remember the context of that last one. Why did we put you guys in front of a stock photo again?

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: Spagbook
« on: July 01, 2014, 12:54:08 pm »
 :lulz: :lulz: :lulz:

also, check out this crazy mask they gave me for this larp I'm running in September---
it's this crazy movie-quality silicon mask.

hard to see in gif form, but it moves with my face and everything.


If you told me it was actually a parody of anarchist web comments, my reaction would be "oh that makes sense"

yep. we all gave informed consent in the user agreement.

The paper is interesting - it's part of a body of research called Affect Control. There's been tons of research on this stuff, but facebook allowed scientists to study these effects in real-time.

 I'm really curious about a few things

--They didn't look at frequency of use... I'm curious how strongly this effect is correlated with frequent facebook usage. If there's a strong correlation, you could minimize the emotional impact of facebook by limiting or maybe staggering your usage.

--To be clear, the study doesn't measure the actual emotional impact of seeing all these positive or negative updates--it quantifies emotion via word analysis of status updates. So its only measure of how happy/sad you are is the content of your status updates.

So it's possible that people in a social network surrounded by positive posts follow suit and post other positive status updates--but aren't significantly affected outside of that moment when they're staring at facebook.

I'd be curious to see a follow-up where they measure participant's emotions at various points during the day, using some other measuring tool.

ahhhhhahah this guy's deviantart is awesome

not his, but in his favorite's bucket:



googling around - looks like there are 10 of these.

 And check this out--anarchists being offended by it:

in response, the guy drew this:

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