marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

...what? *side eyes Issue 2119 (from related code tour)*

Actually happened. To me. At the time, though, that was *not* what I thought had uh, happened *winces*. And no, reading through the pull request, I see I'm not the only person who's been bit by this bug (following it back to the original is actually pretty interesting, as the bug responsible for it was alive and kicking 16 years ago).

The Grim Biology of Being Poor

Apr. 30th, 2017 02:25 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

Worth reading not just for the biology - as up for debate as that might be - but for the points the author makes throughout.

That word—disease—carries a stigma with it. By using it here, I don’t mean that the poor are (that I am) inferior or compromised. I mean that the poor are afflicted, and told by the rest of the world that their condition is a necessary, temporary, and even positive part of modern capitalism. We tell the poor that they have the chance to escape if they just work hard enough; that we are all equally invested in a system that doles out rewards and punishments in equal measure. We point at the rare rags-to-riches stories like my own, which seem to play into the standard meritocracy template.

But merit has little to do with how I got out.


Why do so few make it out of poverty? I can tell you from experience it is not because some have more merit than others. It is because being poor is a high-risk gamble. The asymmetry of outcomes for the poor is so enormous because it is so expensive to be poor. Imagine losing a job because your phone was cut off, or blowing off an exam because you spent the day in the ER dealing with something that preventative care would have avoided completely. Something as simple as that can spark a spiral of adversity almost impossible to recover from. The reality is that when you’re poor, if you make one mistake, you’re done.

Calling a spade a spade

Apr. 29th, 2017 09:59 pm
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

I was reading this deep-thinky thing about Facebook today when the terminology got to me, as per usual.

The overarching framework was that Facebook, and the Internet more broadly, have encouraged us to gather into "information bubbles" and "silo" off. After over a year of being subjected to this nonsensical blather, which even Obama is guilty of splattering across our consciences, it finally hit me that the people who write these things need to get out more.

What brought this to the forefront for me is how neutrally the problem is framed. We're divided based upon our "preferences" and "what sounds more like the truth" and "bias" and what? Really?

None of these things cause our divisions. The dividing line is one of lies which likely stretch back to pre-historic times. Some people enjoy deceit, think being mean is what makes them superior, that pissing on people's legs is a perfectly good reason to tell them it's raining out, or get a kick out of choosing an unlikely scenario over the most likely one - because the truth is flat-out enraging if it contradicts their in-group identity (which in all respects is built upon a shared sense of superiority), while telling the truth is flat-out boring and will not advance their causes, so is to be avoided at all costs.

They live, in other words, to cause, be the source of and to increase baseless friction. Friction is the water they swim in, the air they breathe, the source of all energy they have, and causing it is how they "stand out" from "the others". A lot of people deserve the silos they build and will remain in. A famed subterranean silo, the existence of which has been hotly contested for eons, was no doubt designed specifically with this in mind.

For them kindness is weakness, truth an embarrassing letdown or just not harmful enough to sustain, loving one another a silly game for the weak-minded and feeble, helping one another a degrading lesson in bad optics, because for anyone else to win requires they lose something - either time, money, or else their positions as sole proprietors of the universe - arbitrarily picking groups to spew scorn upon ensures superiority, telling lies ensures their superiority lasts, and enforcing those lies with laws and violence starts and fuels their dynasties.

So it's not choosing an "information bubble" or "what sounds more like the truth".

It's having the spirit of truth, which each side either has or else pretends to have while doing the exact opposite of what the truth would require. No one's choosing what "sounds more like the truth", some people are simply rejecting it to advance their own causes, which isn't a new problem: it's been a part of the human condition for thousands of years.

But until the discussion is framed more honestly - as a war between truth and lies, and therefore: right and wrong, good and bad, morality and amorality, the so-called silos will remain, and the people within them will stay put.

As they always have.

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