“It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Roman Moreno works. For 20 years, his post was ‘second-legger’, a job that entails cutting hocks off carcasses as they whirl past at a rate of 309 an hour.
“The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t.
“‘They blink. They make noises,’ he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’
“Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller. ‘They die,’ said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.'” (p75)
So I’ve received a 1/5 review of Gender Fraud: a fiction at Goodreads by someone claiming, basically, TERF!!! Expected. Sigh.
But the reviewer did ask a question that I should have been able to answer, which was ‘What harm does it do if a transwoman wants to call herself a woman?’
Well, here’s the answer:
Snowflake (Arthur Jeon) should have been published by a major publisher and promoted with a huge budget, and it should be on every bestseller list by now. That it wasn’t and it’s not proves Ben’s point.
Some excerpts below …
[Author’s note: “The media headlines, tweets, and quotes are authentic. And, as of 2020, the facts [Ben] lists about our accelerating climate emergency are accurate.”
“[Forest] fires … produced nine times more emissions than got reduced here [in California] last year.” p3
“The US is the Biggest Carbon Polluter in History” (NYTimes) “Only 4.4% of the planet’s population, America has put 33% of the total CO2 in the atmosphere.” p23
“Ocean Fish Numbers Cut in Half Since 1970” (ScientificAmerica.com) p45
“[O]ur oceans capture 93% of the CO2 but are reaching saturation and warming 40% faster than forecast.” p53
“The International Panel on Climate Change finally admitted our ‘threshold for irreversibility’ is a rise of 1.5 Celsius and it requires ‘rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.’ We need to cut global emissions in half by 2030. Does anybody see that happening?” p53
” … the CO2 we’ve dumped in the past 30 years hasn’t even hit the atmosphere yet. … Scientists predict a 4C temperature rise just from what’s already baked into the system.” p54
“And America’s not changing. SUV sales are surging, wiping out all the oil and CO2 our electric cars save.” p58
” … 21 of the world’s 37 aquifers [underground bodies of water] are on the verge of collapse. They take 20,000 years to form, but BigAg drains them to grow corn—cow feed—in deserts.” p59
” … no country is close to hitting its five-year Paris goals, but even if they did, we’d still go to 3.5 Celsius …” p59
” … it was 70 degrees there [Antarctica] last week …” p59
“Sea level rise has doubled 2013 forecasts. The IPCC undershot the Arctic ice melt, which tripled predictions. Science has underestimated every climate prediction they’ve ever made.” p64-65
“So, all the Arctic sea ice will permanently disappear in four years. … this alone will increase warming by 50%. Boom. Just from one ‘Hothouse Earth’ feedback loop.” p65
” … methane, which creates a feedback loop on steroids, [is] a hundred times worse than CO2. … 25% of the Northern Hemisphere is permafrost … frozen dirt where 1.8 trillion tons of methane lives. … It’s already melting … along with the Arctic lakes bubbling it.” p65
“By 2030, in India, scientists predict heat waves so lethal they’ll kill people sitting outside in only four hours, even in shade.” p66
“[Trump in the U.S.] repealed emissions standards on cars … ended regulation on coal ash pool … handed millions of acres of our public lands to the mining industry … ‘ p74
“… the Aussie government [is] subsidizing 53 new coal mines as their own scientists wonder if the entire continent could be uninhabitable.” p77
“Greenland’s Ice Sheet is Melting Faster than Scientists Previously Thought” (TheGuradian.com) p97
“… the Japanese, now building 22 new coal-burning plants. This, after a thousand Japanese died last year from heatstroke during record heat waves.” p104
“Humankind Has Wiped Out 60% of Animals Since 1970” (TheGuardian.com) p105
“Cattle Ranching Remains Top Threat to the Amazon” (LATimes.com) “… if the Amazon loses 3% more jungle, it won’t produce enough rain to exist.” p149
“There are Diseases Hidden Ice and They are Waking UP” (BBC.com) “Bubonic Plague and who knows what else is thawing out of the permafrost.” p159
“Administration Sells Off Drilling and Mining Rights in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge” (NYTimes.com) p169
“‘Administration Dooms Future by Gutting National Environmental Policy Act” (Missoulian.com) p184
“… 70 million refugees already wander the planet, 22 million from extreme climate events.” p196
“World’s Richest 10% Produce Half of Global Carbon Emissions” (TheGuardian.com) p206
“If Americans cut one burger a week out of our diet, it would be like taking 10 million cars off the road. Christ, how many are we eating? No wonder animal farming takes up 30% of Earth’s land.” (ScienceTimes.com) p229
“Every Seat on a Cross-Country Flight Equals 3 Square Meters of Arctic Ice Melted” (TheAtlantic.com) p250
“Another day, another 110 million TONS of carbon dumped into the atmosphere. Another day, another 34,520 people dead in the world just from air and water pollution. Thirteen million people a year. … Another day, another 14 million acres of wild public lands sold to oil and gas prospectors. …” p276
insights about women and networking (why we find it hard) from “Living the Life of the Mind” Charlotte Knowles (The Philosophers’ Magazine 90)
“Reticence to put yourself out there or an uncomfortableness about marching up to a veritable stranger and introducing yourself, is something that I think is particularly common for those belonging to underrepresented groups in philosophy, whether on the basis of gender, race, (dis)ability, or class. It is common, I think, to feel that you’re not really entitled to be there (even if only on an unconscious level) and so any connections you try to make might feel like you’re trying to grasp something that’s not really yours. Talking about your work earnestly or even at all might feel like you’re taking up space, so instead you sit back, you listen, perhaps you make small talk. …”
” … If you’ve been told your whole life you are special, that your views are important, your work is great … Maybe it doesn’t even feel like ‘networking’ when you go up and talk to the most well-known philosopher at the conference. Why wouldn’t they want to talk to you? You’re great. Maybe they’ll even learn something from you, or have a project they might like your help with. …”
“Does it really matter if you don’t put yourself out there … Well yes, I think it does. What it means is that a certain set of people end up making all the connections, getting themselves known, getting remembered in job searches or in recruiting people for special issues or edited collections, and for those who are not so good at self-promotion, whether face to face or, as is becoming increasingly important, on social media, they get left behind, and not because eof a lack of talent, but because of a lack of confidence and a lack of entitlement. …
But that happens even when we do put ourselves out there. Read This is what happens (Chris Wind). (I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this novel several times, but it’s really a good, close look at how women become and remain so invisible despite working hard to be otherwise…)
“…why are you so slow? Why are you so slow to understand the simplest things; not the complicated ideological things. You understand those. The simple things. The cliches. Simply that women are human to precisely the degree and quality that you are.
“It is an extraordinary thing to try to understand and confront why it is that men believe— and men do believe— that they have the right to rape. Men may not believe it when asked. Everybody raise your hand who believes you have the right to rape. Not too many hands will go up. It’s in life that men believe they have the right to force sex, which they don’t call rape. And it is an extraordinary thing to try to understand that men really believe that they have the right to hit and to hurt. And it is an equally extraordinary thing to try to understand that men really believe that they have the right to buy a woman’s body for the purpose of having sex: that that is a right. And it is very amazing to try to understand that men believe that the seven-billion- dollar-a-year industry that provides men with cunts is something that men have a right to.
“… men come to me or to other feminists and say: “What you’re saying about men isn’t true. It isn’t true of me. I don’t feel that way. I’m opposed to all of this. ”
And I say: don’t tell me. Tell the pornographers. Tell the pimps. Tell the warmakers. Tell the rape apologists and the rape celebrationists and the pro-rape ideologues. Tell the novelists who think that rape is wonderful. Tell Larry Flynt. Tell Hugh Hefner. There’s no point in telling me. I’m only a woman. There’s nothing I can do about it. These men presume to speak for you. They are in the public arena saying
that they represent you. If they don’t, then you had better let them know.
excerpts from “I Want A Twenty-four Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape”
If you’re a woman, you’ve surely been told, reprimanded, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ To the extent that there may be nothing nice to say, that standard of politeness has crippled us. It has made us keep our opinions to ourselves.
My neighbours have their tv on all the time; as a result, they do very little thinking on their own. Not only because there is no silence, typically required for thought, but also because they’re exposing themselves so relentlessly to a worldview censored by a handful of conglomerates motivated primarily by self-interest. And then, because there’s nothing going on in their heads, they can’t stand the silence, so they keep the tv on all the time … But do I say “Shut that thing off and wake the fuck up!”? Of course not. That would be rude.
They also travel a lot, by RV and by plane, checking off destinations on their bucket list. (They also keep their thermostat at 21 degrees, make single-stop trips by car into town all the time, and eat meat every day.) Do I point out that they’re leaving a huge ecological footprint, that they’ve contributed to the climate change, that they’re partly responsible for the increasing number and severity of storms, even the forest fires that have twice ravaged areas in their own province, and that they’re therefore being rather selfish and inconsiderate? No. I ask whether they had a good trip.
It the standard were applied to men as well, on the one hand that would be worse: everyone would be self-censoring, no one would be honest, dissent would be internalized and then extinguished altogether. However, as it is applied mostly to women, it enables one of the worst elements of sexism: it makes us mute.
I’ve recently discovered the website of AIR – Annals of Improbable Research – a magazine which I subscribed to way back when. I’ve been working my way through the site and highly recommend same to others interested in a sort of ‘Monty Python does Science’ humour.
Just read How to “Write a Scientific Paper”
Also recommend “Does a Cat Always Land on its Feet”.
And this one: https://improbable.com/airchives/classical/articles/peanut_butter_rotation.html
Couldn’t find one “The Aerodynamics of Potato Chips” (I’ve actually still got a list of favourite giggle-inducing titles on my wall from way back when …), but it’s also a good one.
So I was reading James Morrow’s The Wine of Violence and when I got to “Will the Journal of Evolution publish it? Publish, it, hell, they’ll make me an editor” (p25), I stopped, puzzled for a moment. Then it hit me. To Francis, the character whose thoughts those are, becoming an editor means status and income. To me, it has just meant more work. That’s how it is for women.
Case in point: for five years I served on the Ethics Committee of our local hospital. That meant I attended monthly meetings; I also offered to be on the Education sub-committee, which meant I prepared and delivered a special topics seminar each month, the Consultation sub-committee, which meant I’d meet with physicians who wanted assistance making decisions, and for which I researched and prepared an ethical-decision-making ‘tree’ (for which one of the physicians thanked me profusely, saying it has made such a difference, he was henceforth able to find a way through all the complexities and competing claims…), and the Research sub-committee, which meant I’d meet as needed to discuss research proposals put to the hospital, and for which I researched and prepared, again, a tool for decision-making (which has since been circulated among other hospitals who now use it).
The nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators on the committee were paid because their participation was on ‘hospital time’; the minister and lawyer on the committee were also paid for their participation by their parish and law company. As a sessional at the local university, I was paid per course; any community service I decided to take on was ‘on my own dime’—that is, on a purely volunteer, unpaid, basis.
At one point, the committee arranged for the ethics officer of another hospital to come give a talk. He was paid to do so. He didn’t say anything I couldn’t say (and indeed hadn’t already said in one form or another).
After five years, a new hospital was built with lots of bells and whistles; I thought it a good time to propose that I be hired as an on-site part-time ethics officer. No. Just—no.
Women are expected to help, to assist; what they do is done as a favour. No one expects to pay them; it’s why we ourselves don’t expect to be paid.
Men, on the other hand, expect to be paid. And they are. They are the ones we help; they are the ones we assist. They do. We just help.
But take away any man’s help, any man’s assistants, and let’s see how much he achieves, how many programs he develops, implements; how many books he writes; how many companies he creates and runs.
1. Ostrich Effect:
We often try to avoid info that we fear will cause us stress. Thus bills and work emails remain unopened, bank balances remain unchecked. This is counterproductive because ignoring a problem doesn’t eliminate the problem or your anxiety; it only prolongs them.
2. Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon:
When we notice something new, like an unusual word, we start seeing it more often. It feels like it’s become more common but really we’re just more alert to it, and we confuse our attention with reality itself. Hence conspiracy theories.
3. Nobel Disease:
We idolize those who excel in a particular field, inflating their egos and afflicting them with the hubris to opine on matters they know little about. By celebrating people for their intelligence, we make them stupid.
4. Warnock’s Dilemma:
Online content that provokes people gets more engagement than content people merely agree with, which incentivizes content creators to be provocative.
So much is alarming and enraging only because so much is trying to get your attention.
5. Google Scholar Effect:
We all get our answers from whatever tops the search results, so these results come to dominate a topic, muscling out unluckier viewpoints. Google has trapped us in an orgy of intellectual incest where everyone is drawing from the same tiny meme-pool.
6. Paradox Of Unanimity:
Researchers Gunn et al. (2016) found that when eyewitnesses unanimously agreed on the identity of suspects, they were more likely to be wrong.
The more people agree, the less likely they are thinking for themselves.
Therefore, beware of consensuses.
7. Epistemic Humility:
Instead of trying to be right, try to be less wrong. Avoiding idiocy is easier than achieving genius, and by beginning from the position that you don’t know enough (which you don’t), you’ll gain more awareness of your blindspots and become harder to fool.
8. Mimetic Desire:
Craving is contagious; watching other people want a thing makes us want it too. It’s why ads are so effective. But it puts us all into unnecessary competition as we fool ourselves into chasing what others are chasing simply because they are chasing it.
9. Overblown Implications Effect
We think people judge us by a single success or failure, but they don’t. If you mess up 1 meal no one thinks you’re a bad chef, and if you have 1 great idea no one thinks you’re a genius. People just aren’t thinking about you that much.
10. Ellsberg Paradox:
People prefer a clear risk over an unclear one, even if it’s no safer. E.g. They’d rather bet on a ball picked from a mix of 50 red & 50 black balls than on one where the exact ratio of red to black balls is unknown. Helps explain market volatility.
11. Veblen Goods:
We often attach value to things simply because they’re hard to get. People will be more attracted to a painting if it costs $3 million than if it costs $3. The price becomes a feature of the product in that it allows the buyer to signal affluence to others.
12. Peter Principle:
People in a hierarchy such as a business or government will be promoted until they suck at their jobs, at which point they will remain where they are. As a result, the world is filled with people who suck at their jobs.
13. Gambler’s Fallacy:
We often feel we’re owed luck for being unlucky. “The coin was heads 10 flips in a row, the next flip has gotta be tails!” But probability has no memory; it won’t make amends for its past behavior. Therefore, treat every possibility independent of the past.
14. Do Something Principle
We often procrastinate because we’re intimidated by our task. So make your task less intimidating by dividing it into steps and focusing only on the next step. Action creates traction, so each step you take will facilitate the next.
15. Meme Theory:
An ideology parasitizes the mind, changing the host’s behavior so they spread it to other people. Therefore, a successful ideology (the only kind we hear about) is not configured to be true; it is configured only to be easily transmitted and easily believed.
16. Lindy Effect:
The longer a non-biological system has existed, the longer it’s likely to exist, because its age demonstrates its ability to weather the fickleness of fashions and the erosion of eons.
17. The Liar’s Dividend:
Teaching people about deepfakes and other disinfo doesn’t make them skeptical of falsehoods as much as it makes them skeptical of reality. Amid such confusion, they default to believing what they want to, discounting anything they don’t like as disinfo.
An absurd ideological belief is a form of tribal signaling. It signifies that one considers their ideology more important than truth, reason, or sanity. To one’s allies, this is an oath of unwavering loyalty. To one’s enemies, it is a threat display.
19. The Potato Paradox:
Alice has 100kg of potatoes, which are 99% water. She lets them dry till they are 98% water. What is their new weight?
Sound crazy? A reminder that the truth is often counterintuitive.
Before criticizing their own tribe, people feel the need to reaffirm their loyalty to the tribe. “I support X but…”
They do this because their peers cannot comprehend that someone could see flaws in anyone other than the enemy team.
21. Law of Triviality:
A company needs a nuclear reactor and a bike shed. Few workers understand reactors, but all understand sheds, so the shed becomes the focus of debate as everyone tries to enact their vision.
Projects that require the least attention tend to get the most.
22. Chilling Effect:
When punishment for what people say becomes widespread, people stop saying what they really think and instead say whatever is needed to thrive in the social environment. Thus, limits on speech become limits on sincerity.
23. Reiteration Effect
Joseph Goebbels said* “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth,” and he was right; repetition can make people believe things they otherwise wouldn’t.
*Goebbels didn’t really say this, but everyone thinks he did because of the Reiteration Effect.
24. Naïve Realism:
We know others are biased, but think we see the world as it is. Thus, teaching people about biases & fallacies doesn’t make them doubt their own beliefs, it only makes them even more doubtful of their opponents’.
25. Purity Spiral:
Members of political tribes inevitably begin competing with their fellows to be the most ideologically pure. The constant one-upmanship toward moral superiority causes the whole group to gradually become more extreme. E.g. Maoist China, Twitter echo-chambers.
Politics is pro-wrestling in suits. Opposing parties are collaborators in a greater system, whose choreographed conflict entertains and distracts us from what is really going on.
The press lost its monopoly on news when the internet democratized info. To save its business model, it pivoted from journalism into tribalism. The new role of the press is not to inform its readers but to confirm what they already believe.
28. Curiosity Zone:
Curiosity is the desire to fill gaps in knowledge. Thus, curiosity occurs not when you know nothing about something, but when you know a bit about it. So learn a little about as much as you can (like you’re doing now!), and it will spur you to learn even more.
29. Sorites Paradox:
What’s the minimum number of grains of sand needed to make a heap? We don’t know, because human language (in this case the word “heap”) is imprecise. If our language can’t even quantify a heap, how can it resolve the complex questions we so fiercely debate?
30: Brandolini’s Law (aka the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle):
It takes a lot more energy to refute bullshit than to produce it. Hence, the world is full of unrefuted bullshit.
31. Algorithmic Blindspots:
We find growth while searching for other things. Algorithms give us exactly what we want on demand, so we never need to search, and never find what we never knew we needed.
If you wish to grow, defy the robots’ recommendations.
a) Future people matter morally as much as people alive now.
b) There are likely many more future people than people alive now.
c) Small changes now can have huge repercussions in future.
If these are true, should we be doing more for future generations?
33. The Two-Minute Rule:
If a task would take less than two minutes, do it immediately. This is because adding the task to your mental to-do list, keeping it in your memory, and managing the anxiety of not having done it will take far more effort than just doing it now.
34. Promethean Gap:
Technology is outpacing wisdom; we’re changing the world faster than we can adapt to it. Lagging ever more behind accelerating progress, we’re increasingly unable to foresee the effects of what we create. We’re amassing the power of gods, yet we remain apes.
35. Information-Action Ratio
The mark of useful info is that it makes us act differently. Most info we consume doesn’t make us act differently; we just passively graze on it like cattle before defecating it undigested.
Stop mindless scrolling and seek out info that changes you.
36. Gurwinder’s Third Paradox:
In order for you to beat someone in a debate, your opponent needs to realize they’ve lost. Therefore, it’s easier to win an argument against a genius than an idiot.
37. Media Naturalness Theory
Writing has existed for <2% of human history, so our brains are not evolved for reading; we need vocal/facial cues for context. Thus, accept that you’ll be misunderstood online, but never stop tweeting, for the only way to write clearer is by writing.
38. Tilting At Windmills:
An online stranger doesn’t know you; all they have are a few vague impressions of you, too meager to form anything but a phantasm. So when they attack “you”, they’re really just attacking their own imagination, and there is no need to take it personally.
39. Principle Of Humanity:
Every single person is exactly what you would be if you were them. This includes your political opponents. So instead of dismissing them as evil or stupid, maybe seek to understand the circumstances that led them to their conclusions.
40. Empty Name:
We can be convinced that a concept is real by the mere fact that it has a name, but the world is full of names for things that aren’t real (e.g. Batman). As such, assume nothing is true just because it has a name (including every concept in this megathread!)
"We License Plumbers and Pilots - Why Not Parents?"At Issue: Is Parenthood a Right or a Privilege? ed. Stefan Kiesbye (Greenhaven, 2009); Current Controversies: Child Abuse, ed. Lucinda Almond (Thomson/Gale, 2006); Seattle Post-Intelligencer (October 2004)
ImpactAn extended confrontation between a sexual assault victim and her assailants, as part of an imagined slightly revised court process, in order to understand why they did what they did and, on that basis, to make a recommendation to the court regarding sentence does not go … as expected.
What Happened to TomTom, like many men, assumes that since pregnancy is a natural part of being a woman, it’s no big deal: a woman finds herself pregnant, she does or does not go through with it, end of story. But then …
Aiding the EnemyWhen Private Ann Jones faces execution for “aiding the enemy,” she points to American weapons manufacturers who sell to whatever country is in the market.
Bang BangWhen a young boy playing “Cops and Robbers” jumps out at a man passing by, the man shoots him, thinking the boy’s toy gun is real. Who’s to blame?
ForeseeableAn awful choice in a time of war. Whose choice was it really?
Exile (full-length drama) Finalist, WriteMovies; Quarterfinalist, Fade-In.
LJ lives in a U . S. of A., with a new Three Strikes Law: first crime, rehab; second crime, prison; third crime, you’re simply kicked out – permanently exiled to a designated remote area, to fend for yourself without the benefits of society. At least he used to live in that new U. S. of A. He’s just committed his third crime.
What Happened to Tom (full-length drama) Semifinalist, Moondance.
This guy wakes up to find his body’s been hijacked and turned into a human kidney dialysis machine – for nine months.
Aiding the Enemy (short drama 15min)
When Private Ann Jones faces execution for “aiding the enemy,” she points to American weapons manufacturers who sell to whatever country is in the market.
Bang Bang (short drama 30min) Finalist, Gimme Credit; Quarter-finalist, American Gem.
When a young boy playing “Cops and Robbers” jumps out at a man passing by, the man shoots him, thinking the boy’s toy gun is real. Who’s to blame?
Foreseeable (short drama 30min)
An awful choice in a time of war. Whose choice was it really?
Minding Our Own Business A collection of skits (including “The Price is Not Quite Right,” “Singin’ in the (Acid) Rain,” “Adverse Reactions,” “The Band-Aid Solution,” and “See Jane. See Dick.”) with a not-so-subtle environmental message