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Topics - Jasper

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Aneristic Illusions / Lest ye become one.
« on: May 12, 2010, 06:35:16 pm »
I did nothing to merit or demerit this nation as my own.  I did not elect to be born an American.  Nobody did.  We all merely happened upon it, and so we are... Free?  Freedom is not a blank check though.  It is rather like a shovel.  You're just as free to dig as you are to build.  It just so happens it's easier to dig.  We are free to do with our circumstances as we see fit, until we stop thinking it is so.  Just as our warriors fight shadows and traps in the east, we fight our own monsters.  We fight lobbies and madmen whose wishes matter more because of the color of their money and the froth at their lips.  If they had their way, we would join our livestock in the feedlots,  Televisions set in front of the iron bars, bottom dollar slurry in our troughs, laced with medicine to make us more pliant.  We fight monsters.  There is no good news.  The forecast for this nation's well being is increasingly, inarguably, catastrophic.  There is only bad news and weird news.  Be careful what you ask, however.  Ask a scary question, and you will receive a scary answer.  Why can't the wars end?  What can the nation afford now?  When do we tend to our ill?  How do we adjust our consumption?  How do we reverse the oil spill damage?  What does the inter-party polarization, and the advent of the tea party mean for American policy making?  Is it still possible for a single nation to exist that satisfies the ideologies and standards of the majority?  Would any president, no matter how perfect, be able to set things right?  Should a nation as unstable and warlike as ours be allowed to possess nuclear warheads?  Just how deep is it, now?  Can we save ourselves?  If no, are we beyond the help of others?  Should we be trying to police the world at this point in our decline?   I shouldn't even have to ask. 

At this late hour it is not likely that a mainstream thinker would object that mass acts of terror are monstrous, and that such actions must have consequences,  Bombed buildings and suicide airplane crashes.  The “war on terror” is at least in principle a just cause, because to not fight it is to permit it.  It has not been a polite war, as polite as war ever gets,  But to not have fought it to begin with was equally unthinkable.  We could have fought it more economically perhaps, and we may, in time, be forgiven the judgment that made us undertake a second war on false premises in the name of fighting terror.  Our enemy is not like previous foes.  It does not require the good will of a people.  It does not need the funding of a government.  And it does not heed the conventions of warfare that exist to make wars bearable for noncombatants.  Make no mistake, they fight monsters.  And it is all too possible to fight monsters for too long.  To combat them, we have abridged our rights, spied on each other.  We have cultivated fear and hate to galvanize ourselves.  We have dealt with cynical corporate creatures to provide for the effort.  Now we have declared thought crime, as no lawyer may defend someone merely accused a terrorist.  All in the hope that these sacrifices will prove worth the price of final victory.  But how many more sacrifices can we make before becoming the very thing we fight?  Is this an enemy we can beat without descending to their abhorrent level?  If we are to defend justice, if we are to play at chivalry, let us not compromise our moral high ground.  If we are to fight in the name of peace, let it be with a clear conscience.  But it is too late for that, isn't it?  Every division was deployed with bad intentions.  Every campaign promise was made with the intent to renege if need be.  Every goal was set with invidious motives.  We no longer have claim to morality, or even practicality, in this war.

Aneristic Illusions / an idea I had concerning democracy
« on: May 04, 2010, 09:08:14 pm »
copypasted from Antilibertarianism because it wasn't really OT.

Maybe a mixture of lottery and approval voting would work.

Get a crowd of lottery-picked citizens, say fifty.  Some won't want to campaign.  Keep replacing the unwilling until you have 50 willing candidates.

Give them each a wad of cash and an advisor to help them put together and run a campaign.

Have a partial approval vote where everyone chooses the 25 they want most.

Put them all together and have each of them perform approval votes on each bill.

To enforce non-corruption, they are kept in nice accommodations, taken care of, provided for, and granted a sizable stipend after their term.  Corporate lobbyists must go through the voting public to have their interests advanced. 

I call it "Jesus Christ, what does a fucker have to do for some representation around here?"

Aneristic Illusions / Who here knows about Approval Voting?
« on: May 04, 2010, 01:42:28 am »
Have you studied it?  What do you think?

Also, how do I created poll?

Apple Talk / ITT: Robotic Prosthetics
« on: May 03, 2010, 08:20:15 am »
One or both of your hands are lost, and a medical research foundation is going to build you a neural prosthetic that can accommodate a variety of implements.  You get a set of robot hands for free, but you can design your own attachments for it too.

Me, I'd get a circular saw for the left stump and a pneumatic spike for the right.

What about you?

Or Kill Me / Primitivism
« on: April 26, 2010, 04:31:32 am »
We all need to go back to the trees.  We all need to stop raping mother Earth.  We all need to stop being so damned modern, because modern values ruined everything.  Right?

No, not right.  Up your entire ass.  It is 2010, motherfucker.  The Future.  We have lasers and shit.  Yeah, toxic waste too, yeah.  Nukes too.  Sure.  But we also have the means to improve things now.  The technology to end hunger EXISTS.  The means to find cures for diseases and end them EXIST.  The means to make the world fucking WORK FOR ONCE is finally at hand and what do I hear people saying?  Back to the wilderness?  Fuckhead, there is no wilderness anymore.  Wherever you go there are machines in the sky ready to help you.  The least perspicacious observer can see that there are no perfect solutions, yet most cases of technology in society are doing more good than bad in the world.  On balance, it is constantly making our lives better.  

Let us speak no more of going back to the wild.  Let us now speak of sending more clenching pussy noises into space, of finding out how our universe works, and how to make our tenancy here somewhat more pleasant for everybody involved.  Who really cares about what nature intended anyway, if nature intends things like smallpox?

Or eat a lightbulb.


Apparently photoshop is now being developed by, literally, wizards.  This shit is amazing.

Apple Talk / Rock'n'roll
« on: April 19, 2010, 08:13:28 am »
We bustled into the hall among the hordes, getting as close as possible.  The music comes on, and the opening electric guitar riffs are accompanied by a tangible charge in the air.  Everybody's a part of it, and the aesthetic of it all is overwhelming.

That, right there.  What is that?  I've come to think of rock music as some sort of super-taproot into human spirit.  Nothing in my life gives me overwhelming goosebump epiphanies except rock'n'roll.  It's not just me, is it? 

tl;dr tell me about the things that fuel your epiphanies.

Techmology and Scientism / Sheep + Meth + Tasers = SCIENCE!
« on: April 16, 2010, 09:38:52 am »

"Cocaine is a hell of a drug, but getting shocked with a Taser while riding high on methamphetamines probably beats any white-knuckled cocaine experience hands down. And that's exactly what happened to some lucky sheep in a new study that tested the effects of Tasers on meth-addled targets, funded in part by Taser International. "

Isn't it great to be a human?

Discordian Recipes / I MADE THIS. IN A CAVE.
« on: April 01, 2010, 02:46:17 am »

Literate Chaotic / The Long View
« on: March 29, 2010, 06:25:59 am »
I think a lot about where we came from.  We all come from a very long line of organisms that have, by various means and methods, gotten their shit together at some point, at least long enough to make more of themselves.  Many of my ancestors were mutated in some way, if not most of them.  They were all lucky enough to have the right kind of mutations.  I don't have any pronounced mutations that you can see without a gene sequencer, but isn't every gene essentially an institutionalized version of some earlier mutation?  In a way we're each a culmination of untold billions of mutations.   That's kind of cool, huh?

Moderates are more dangerous than extremists. That's the basic claim of Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". Aside from the fact that this claim originates from a man whose reputation is beyond reproach, this basic idea has exceptional merit that extends well beyond the scope of his struggle for equality. In politics, moderation or "centrism" is, to state it simply, the belief that the best stance on any issue lies squarely in between both extremes. But this approach is non-idealistic, and lacks any real convictions, and puts one in mind of realpolitik. I would argue that the strongest position in politics is one that makes bold claims based on sound ideological principles. In the case of white moderates in Dr. King's letter, the moderates were mere quislings. In the case of moderation in the political arena, they are treacherous opportunists. To make your political judgments based on a "happy medium" between the most outlandish of extremes of an issue is to say "I do not care about the issue, I care only about settling the controversy." It implies lack of involvement, and it relegates control of what rhetorical frames are used to the people whose views are possibly too extreme to reconcile with your own. No, politics is not the arena for lukewarm compromise. I would rather have a 100% American War Machine or a socially progressive pacifistic nation than suffer the torment of crippling indecision. In my mind the downfall of our political system is that the duality of politics, along with the plurality voting system are coinciding to make consistent decisions impossible. What I mean by the duality of politics is probably obvious to you. You cannot look at any instance of politics without seeing an example of it. Red vs. Blue. Liberal vs. Conservative. Democrat vs. Republican. Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. The list is tiresomely binary. What I mean by the "plurality voting system" is possibly less plain to see, since so few American citizens have ever considered it. Why do we only allow one vote per person? In a nation where every decision is made on the basis of some ideological polarity, why must we choose between one or the other? It is the "false dilemma" writ large. Do you want to pay for health insurance, or do you want an economic recession? Do you want to have your baby, or do you hate God? Perhaps you have noticed these sub-textual arguments in the news and other media, as I have.

Have we even stopped to think about the very basic - and very frightening - question: "Why do we even have political parties?" In a system where each person gets only one precious vote to choose their leaders, yes we do need parties. A hypothetical example: if my main political motive is gun rights, but I don't necessarily mind either way about abortion rights, why not pool my votes with the anti-abortion people? They vote gun rights and I vote pro-life. I stand to gain more votes for my cause, and I don't lose anything I didn't already care about. Also, the might of a political party makes it hard to vote for the candidate you want, rather than voting against the candidate you don't want. In other words, we vote "yes or no" to each candidate, and so each candidate will have a number of votes ranging from 0% to 100% of the population, and the person with the greatest percentage of approval wins. It is a system that is naturally more inclined to yield elected officials that more people are happy with. For example, in election '08 I would have been very proud to vote for Dennis Kucinich, but I knew two things: Firstly, that he was very unlikely to win, and secondly that if the Republicans won, I would have to leave the country, never to return due to the catastrophe of Sarah Palin. So, scared of a crazy idiot vice president, I voted for the guy most likely to beat McCain, President Obama, who isn't exactly liberal, despite his opponents' spin. From a game theory perspective, political parties make a lot of sense. But people have become attached to politics that are "color-coded". Perhaps cognitive dissonance has changed their minds about those other views that come prepackaged with the party they chose. If I don't like taxes to begin with, I might become a Republican. But with time and exposure, I might start to "buy in" to the other ideals of Republicanism, since they come as a package deal. It's part of how we think, speaking from a cognitive science perspective. But what if we didn't have to band together like wild animals to fend off ideological bogeymen? Would we need political parties? No, but how could that ever happen? It turns out that there is a different voting system, called "approval voting", that lacks the pitfalls of our plurality vote. It is exactly the same as our current system, but for one detail: You can vote for whomever you approve of, no matter how many people you approve of. It may seem unfair, until you start thinking about it: If everyone has unlimited votes, it fundamentally changes the dynamic of our democracy. Since our government is based on representation, it is essential that the people who represent us are accurate depictions of our attitudes and beliefs. This way, one need not play games with color-coded politics. If a candidate shows themselves to be of good quality, one can support them without worrying that one is wasting a vote. This is one likely cure for the blight of moderate positions, because when we vote for the people we really want, instead of against the people we don't want, we are no longer compromising. And when nobody has to compromise, everybody wins. Approval voting would be conclusively more likely to mitigate the ill effects of centrism, while striking a balance of desirable traits in our electorate.

Short of a miraculous change in the way American democracy works (or doesn't), what are the other options? America has always done democracy one way, and despite it's recent failings few will be amenable to a fundamental change in procedure. And many will say that, since approval voting is untested, it can't be trusted with anything as important as a presidential election. It seems to me that the only possible outcomes here are: We accept things the way they are, or not. If we are to reject the current state of affairs, how are we to go about it? Henry David Thoreau is one of America's most historically significant intellects, and in his essay "Civil Disobedience", he argues the need to hold personal conscience over the law itself. He claims that a wise man will not leave justice to the chance of a majority vote. Everyone is aware that certain laws and legislations are unjust. The question is not whether to try and change them, the question is whether we should obey them while they are law. At risk of using a slippery slope argument, I would say that to suffer injustice even whilst speaking out against it is to accept that it will never change. What congressmen need to know is that their laws are so unpopular that they may be voted out of office for supporting them. The best way to demonstrate that a law is unpopular is to disobey it in front of everybody, repeatedly, with complete conviction. I am confident that even basic laws such as theft and homicide would be repealed if enough people were to stand up against them in this way (Luckily, that is incredibly unlikely). Thoreau argues that in some cases the remedy is worse than the injustice, and that in those cases it is permissible to allow injustice. But many situation are remediable with a relative minimum of trouble. What, really, would we lose by ending the Iraqi occupation, or the Patriot Act? There are many arguments about this, but my answer is not very much. Thoreau's way of fighting these injustices would be to illegally resist these legislations. So far, voting against them has not borne any fruit, nor has speaking out against them. We are complicit in their execution because we allow it to happen at all. Is Thoreau wrong about civil disobedience?

People say this country believes in democracy, or that we are founded on principles of freedom, or variations on that theme. What people don't say is that this country is controlled by a binary electoral shenanigan propagated by an obsolete voting method that systematically marginalizes the interests of the majority to the benefit of preeminent economical powers. And they don't fail to say that because it's a cumbersome, rhetorically heavy-handed sentence, they fail to say it because it is a notion that is at best incompletely articulated by the prevalent voices of contemporary politics to this day.

Apple Talk / Requesting Ideas
« on: March 19, 2010, 12:52:56 am »
I have recently discovered a means to cheaply mass produce very convincing fake cum. 

Any ideas on what to do with it as far as jakes/etc?

Or Kill Me / I can FEEL it.
« on: March 16, 2010, 12:37:47 am »
Hold up your left hand, palm facing you.  Look at your pinky.  Now squeeze it, feel the bones in there.  A bit too much pressure and they bend a little.  Especially that slightly longer one near the knuckle.  The feeling of frailty is ever-present.  Do you ever feel like a part of you is too brittle to keep?  Like a part of you is liable to break at any moment, and the only way to avoid inevitable crippling agony is to get rid of it for good?

I wish I could get a new pinky.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Dealing with Stress
« on: March 15, 2010, 02:01:50 am »
ITT we discuss various stress resistance techniques and methods.

My favorite: 

Imagination:  Especially for babies crying and shit like that, it helps to imagine someone you hate making those noises.  It makes you laugh, and once you've laughed at screaming babies, you'll never go back to gritting your teeth again.

Apple Talk / PDcom: The Movie
« on: March 14, 2010, 03:17:04 am »

      If Hollywood did a movie about this forum, how would you cast it?  Doesn't have to be accurate, just satisfying.

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