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Bonam

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Everything posted by Bonam

  1. Despite wanting to reflexively blame westerners for this, most of the polluted river garbage in the third world comes from places like this: Slums built on the side of rivers where people dump their household, commercial, and industrial refuse directly into the water.
  2. This surprises people? I thought it was well known that almost all garbage enters the oceans from rivers and beaches in densely populated third world countries. How else do people figure so much garbage gets into the oceans? Falls off the side of boats? Flies in the wind from a landfill to the ocean? First world beaches: Third world beaches:
  3. At home: Significantly reduce immigration from majority Muslim nations. Replace the ideology of "multiculturalism" with the ideology of "assimilation" Abroad: It's out of our control. Wait for the Muslim world to grow up, maybe another 500 years or so (that's about how long it took Christianity to turn from murderous savages to marginally civilized, no reason to expect other religious groups to do it any faster).
  4. Meh, for every one attack by "far right" terrorists there are a hundred attacks by terrorists from groups that the "far left" is in love with and spends all their time covering for. It's "time to take on" anyone who is willing to kill for a cause, period. Doesn't matter what the cause is. If you believe deeply in something go write a blog, rather than murdering people.
  5. BC2004 is right that there are a lot of stats still showing America doing well compared to many countries. This is largely a result of the period from about 1945-2001, where the US was consistently #1 in many ways and built out a massive lead, which will take a long time to fully erode. However, over the last 20 years it does seem like US society is on the decline. I think there are several factors: Increasing ideological polarization (people view their political viewpoints as a matter of identity, and disagreeing political viewpoints as indicative of bad moral character) Echo chamber effect (primarily driven by social media), which self-reinforces the above polarization Increasing racial polarization (mostly driven by entities [including US individuals, companies, and foreign governments] who seek to inflame these tensions for their own gains) Political gridlock resulting from the above 3 factors, resulting in an ability to get even relatively uncontentious laws with broad support in the population passed Increasing costs to carry out any significant project resulting from an increasing pile up of regulation and litigation An increasingly large permanent underclass that is more and more disconnected from the productive economy I think some of the most cost effective things that could be done to address some of these issues are: Re-allocate some of the money that goes to the federal government to go directly to state and local governments instead (using some fair scheme, perhaps based on population). Local projects can then be debated and funded in a less contentious environment. This will reduce the extent to which local governments are reliant on property taxes, which causes massive disparity between neighborhoods based on property value. There's no reason state and local governments should be constantly trying to lobby the federal government for contributions to specific individual local infrastructure projects, instead, they should have direct access to a reasonable amount of money for this purpose. Review the curricula in the public and private education systems and add a significant emphasis on financial literacy, critical thinking, and the ability to independently fact check information. These are all extremely important in the modern world but not taught in school. It will help with reducing the permanent underclass as well as making people able to properly assess information whose sole purpose is to inflame tensions. Create a system where online information (including in social media) can be rated for its veracity in a pervasive way. Any random viral news story that shows up in a facebook feed (for example) should have an indicator beside it showing how truthful the information and headline is, according to a consensus of independent and informed entities whose incentives are aligned properly to prioritize truthfulness over spin or sensationalism. This will aid in reducing the echo chamber effect and ideological polarization. Care must be taken to avoid any such system being a propaganda arm of the government, it would have to be setup in a very careful way to ensure independence, balance across a variety of informed viewpoints, and credibility. Emphasize the opportunities available in "blue collar" jobs in the "trades". Many of these pay even higher than most white collar jobs, and yet the school system and culture under-emphasizes this option. The lack of skilled tradespeople also harms the overall economy and drives up the price and timeline of new projects. Many people in the permanent underclass, who are unable to go to college or even finish high school, could perhaps have been much more productive members of society if the option of learning a useful trade had been presented early. Perhaps create an education track where people who are interested in this path can begin to pursue it early, at the high school level. Facilitate easier access to banking for the "poor" so they don't have to rely on exploitative services like payday lenders. A very small government subsidy could make it profitable for mainstream commercial banks to properly serve this segment of the population with accounts and services that are as good as those that they offer to middle class clients. In combination with enhanced financial literacy in the education system, this would allow many people in the underclass to start to get a handle on their personal finances, which is the #1 thing they need to do to escape the underclass.
  6. People just don't want to have that many children. Biological evolution provides a sex drive, not a reproduction drive. Technology (birth control) de-couples the two. Many people in advanced countries are still dating, having not yet settled on a lifelong partner, when they are already past their prime child-bearing years. Probably the only way government can substantially raise birth rates is either through coercion (i.e. you have x kids or you pay massive penalties / go to jail) or through massive incentives (not just small incentives to make it less expensive, but huge ones that significantly outweigh other considerations). In the US/Canada, you'd probably need an incentive on order of about 10x the average yearly salary to significantly boost birth rates. $500k per child (maybe paid as $2300/month for 18 years) or so. Possibly still cheaper than the long term costs/effects of mass immigration or population collapse, though.
  7. Meh, they're all nobodies until they become President. Nothing new here. Just look at the contenders for the Republican nomination in 2016. A nomination season with lots of different candidates is better than a coronation of a candidate no one likes, anyway.
  8. Hmm when I was in school in Vancouver in the 90s, there was no O Canada, no pledges, no statements of any sort that were made on a daily basis. Maybe once every few months there would be a school-wide assembly where O Canada was sung. Students only had to stand and take off their hats, singing along was not required. Frankly if any school is forcing any songs or statements on a daily basis, that's not only government forced indoctrination but a mind-numbing waste of time. I don't care what the statement says. While this kind of crap might fly in Toronto, I don't think it would fly in Vancouver, where most of the population is sensible Asians that immigrated to Canada specifically to escape this kind of bs in their homelands. White guilt social justice types are already becoming a minority in BC by virtue of immigration, thankfully.
  9. Voting for "change" means nothing. Change can be any of a million things, in many different directions. Ask 10 people about what they would like to see changed and you'll get 20 different answers. There's two things that win votes in America: providing entertainment and controversy, which Trump excels at, and promising free stuff, which a Democrat challenger will likely try to do. She'd win in a landslide in liberal areas, and be rejected in a landslide everywhere else. Electoral map would look the same as always but probably even more starkly divided than usual. As for not being afraid to say what she thinks, of course she's not afraid, she's in a super safe seat for that kind of rhetoric.
  10. Meh, you overestimate people. Just like in ancient times, people just want bread and circuses. Trump is great at the circus part, at least.
  11. You were talking about "running a country". When it comes to family and friends, if they are talking about themselves, plans that we are making, or other things that they should have clear knowledge or controlling decision making power over, then sure I'll trust them. But if they are talking about politics, the latest "scientific study", or other things they may have heard or seen that they don't have direct knowledge or control over, I assume it's bullsh*t just as if I'd seen it on facebook. Whether I let them know of that fact or politely smile and nod depends on the person, of course.
  12. But the same people who whine about "male aggression" also whine about financial success and want to tear down the rich and successful, too. It is, at least, consistent.
  13. Agreed. The only way to show your honesty is to continue to be honest for long enough that the person who you are trying to convince of your honesty thoroughly establishes the fact of your honesty in their minds. And then, once they fully trust you, is when you betray them of course and move on to the next victim.
  14. Seems to be the case already. I assume 100% of information I casually hear/see is wrong and disregard most of it, while researching the veracity of the small subset which is of enough importance to warrant the time to do so.
  15. Image from the recent New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule, the most remote object ever visited by a human spacecraft:
  16. I think Senators should be elected for one 6 year term, and then have the opportunity to be elected to a 2nd term of 12 years. After that, they're out. Not having to think about the next election and being there for 12 years would allow a long term view and allow independence from the party apparatus which would not be able to entice them with funding/publicity for the next election cycle. The first 6 year term would be long enough for voters to decide based on their record whether they are worth voting in for 12 years.
  17. Certainly part of the present course towards "hard times" is a result of people no longer considering objective reality as important. People don't care what the truth is, they only care about the narrative that best fits their purpose or mindset. Hence the social media and normal media echo chambers, where people wallow in outrage of trivialities while remaining totally uninformed of reality. For an example, look at how those on the left can accuse the right of science denial, while seeing no contradiction in their own opposition to GMOs, which is an anti-science stance. Most aren't even aware of the fact that the scientific consensus behind the safety of GMOs is as prevalent and overwhelming as the consensus behind climate change, and if given cites to that effect, would deny them with the exact same tactics and vehemence and illogic as those on the right deny climate change. For another example, look at the resurgent flat Earth movement. Fully 2% of Americans, that's 6.5 million people, strongly believe the Earth is flat, and are allergically averse to the omnipresent and incontrovertible proof to the the contrary. A further 14% (!!!) aren't sure whether its round or flat. The numbers are 4% of solid belief in flat Earth and 30% (!!!) not sure among millennials, a true embarrassment to my generation. Democrats are less likely to believe the Earth is round than Republicans, too, which might surprise many on the left who think that it's the right that is more anti-science. Cite: https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2018/04/04/only-two-thirds-of-american-millennials-believe-the-earth-is-round/#78d903c47ec6 And then of course there is religion, which is fundamentally the source of so many people's acceptance of such magical thinking. Religion trains people from birth to believe what they want to believe rather than what there is evidence for, short-circuiting their brain's ability to reason properly from an early age. On the left, modern "progressive" ideology serves the same function as religion does on the right.
  18. The lines of improvement of standard of living and increasing GDP can be drawn right through the great depression and WWII, which in the long run were only minor blips, quickly recovered from. And yet, the people who lived through that period were definitely in "hard times". If you view everything from the thousand mile view, you could argue that all of human history has been steady and accelerating progress, and that even the Bronze Age collapse, the Fall of Rome, and the Black Death were just minor blips along the road. And indeed I have made that argument in the relevant context, pointing out that the present day is the most prosperous in history and the best time to be alive and that the future is likely to be even more so. But if you zoom in a bit and look on the scale of human generations you can definitely see that history consists of some generations that live in relative peace and prosperity and others that live in times of terrible war, famine, and desperation, and that these alternate on a not-too-inconsistent "cycle". Not consistent enough to be useful as a predictor of the future, but enough to be insightful when looking backward. As for cultural convergence, I'm not sure about that, I see the world polarizing into mutually exclusive ideological camps rather than converging towards something universal.
  19. All previous periods in human history were "hard" compared to the modern day. Access to modern medicine, for one, makes the working class of today richer in the way that matters most than any king a century ago or before. But set within the context of the era, the period of US western expansion was soft. Limitless almost free land and resources. Just enough resistance to make people feel adventurous and bold for fighting the natives. Everyone could think of themselves as a brave frontiersman and mighty warrior, while in fact they were just farmers picking off the last remnants of a people that had been devastated by waves of disease. The natives were hopelessly outmatched in terms of population, organization, technology, etc. As soon as the limitless free land started to hit the boundaries, the country disintegrated into civil war based on ideological differences.
  20. Yes, here, you replied to it afterwards , and then started this thread 2 days after I think it makes sense for it to be 3-4 generations. That's the time it takes to forget hard learned lessons. The children of parents that grew up in hard times usually carry on some of that mentality, having been raised that way. But the grand-children are twice removed and grow soft. 3 generations is also the time that wealth tends to last in families. I think 3-4 generations is a good rule of thumb for how long it takes society to forget things on a societal level. I don't know if it would be ok even then. Nations can rot away even if they aren't threatened from the outside.
  21. By "came upon" you mean I posted it The cycle is about 80 years, which used to be 4 generations. US examples: American independence in 1775 followed by about 70 years of prosperity until the Civil War, American civil war in 1861 followed by 65 years of prosperity until the great depression, Great Depression - WWII, followed by prosperity until the present day, which has now been 73 years. Nowadays 4 generations is closer to 100 years so we conceivably have another decade or two before the next period of really hard times. What might that next period be? It could be that major effects of climate change lead to planetary upheaval (mass migration, starvation, etc), it could be that rising non-democratic powers like China challenge American primacy eventually leading to devastating global warfare (i.e. WWIII), it could be internal Western civil wars as "social justice" groups conclude that it is their moral imperative to exterminate the white race (the evil oppressors of their narrative), it could be a massive pandemic which wipes out a huge part of the human population brought about by the overuse of antibiotics, it could be the creation of a strong AI that is hostile to humankind, or it could be something entirely unforeseen. Whatever it is, we are extremely unlikely to experience the current period of post-WWII prosperity continue past 2050 at the latest. More likely it will be over by 2030. Or it could even be that this cycle of hard times was pretty soft as these things go: the 2008 global recession; and the next crop of strong leaders are now maturing, and we're entering the next 80-100 years of prosperity. Unfortunately, this theory isn't great for predicting the future, since it is hard to definitely say what times are sufficiently "hard" until they are well behind you, and events of the day always loom larger in people's minds than events from decades ago.
  22. The US has treated the Kurds like shit for decades. They deserved their own sovereign state since day 1, and the US could have done it in 2003 if it gave a damn. The mere act of allowing Turkey into NATO was a disgrace given that it has engaged in killings and oppression against the Kurds continuously from decades ago to the present day. The US doesn't reward loyalty of disenfranchised allies like the Kurds and never has. Any potential ally of the US better make sure they are getting paid enough in the present, because promises about the future count for nothing. As for the US not being a reliable ally, that's the statement that Trump has been screaming to the world at the top of his lungs since he got into office.
  23. That's not really a thing. Any remotely sensitive system designed this century would have enough possible password combinations to take billions of years to stumble on the right one by chance, and moreover would prevent such an attack by requiring progressively longer wait periods after multiple failed attempts. And if there's some top secret data stored on computer systems from the 90s, you know what, whoever put it there deserves to have it hacked.
  24. Probably not? There are precious few examples in human history of good times continuing on for more than 3 generations. And in Western countries right now we're on generation 3 of the good times (counting from the end of WWII). Just like almost all wealthy families lose their wealth in 3 generations, so too do societies lose hard-earned wisdom in 3 generations. My prediction is by the time the last WWII vets are dying of old age, we'll be back in hard times. I would guess that as with all human problems, there are technological solutions to this cycle, but we aren't there yet. One technological solution might be drastic life extension, in which case the strong and effective leaders that emerge in hard times could have a voice for much longer. Another technological solution might be ceding leadership to an AI.
  25. Yep, that's what the Democrats here in the states also still haven't figured out. They don't understand why they lost 2016. Some complain about the electoral college, others complain about traitorous suburban white women, others bemoan all the supposedly racist rednecks that voted for Trump. None realize that by far the most powerful weapon any campaign on the right has is just playing back the arguments and statements of your typical left wing social justice type.
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