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QUESTIONS AND LIES

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QUESTIONS

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Life Trajectories

Is it possible to launch more than one true life trajectory - from youth into adulthood - that successfully combines dynamism, expertise, focus and critical mass of network (and reputation)? Are there any examples of humans who manage this i.e. without parleying gains from a prior trajectory to conserve momentum into the next?


Paywalling Human Knowledge - Elsevier v Science?

The hard work and original thinking of the world's scientists and academics is recorded in billions of published papers - a constant flow 24/7 from almost every country on Earth - placed in journals according to subject or field e.g. Nature, New Scientist, The Lancet, etc. The world's 5000 most-prestigious journals are owned by a cartel of multinational corporations: Reed-Elsevier (RELX), Clarivate 'Web of Science', Wolters Kluwer, Wiley Online Library, Springer Nature, CAS, etc. All of the billions of papers has been gathered behind a paywall. Advanced learning has therfore become very expensive, prohibitively so if you're in a poor country and/or not part of a rich university. Academics and scientists agree it should all be available to the world. But it's too profitable for the journal-owner stakeholders. Reed-Elsevier (RELX) alone makes $3.2B a year more then double the total annual profit of Netflix.

There are solutions to the paywall. The most prominent, persistent and comprehensive is Sci-hub which - if you can get to it from your browser - has broken the paywall to provide free complete access to almost everything. Needless to say Sci-hub has been sued in the US, UK, EU and elsewhere. But Sci-hub isn't based in North America or Europe and it was coded by Alexandra Elbakyan, a Russian, who despite racking up an ever-growing stack of judgments against refuses to respect the foreign jurisdiction. Domains get banned, ISPs are court-ordered to blacklist, scihub.org cancelled, sci-hub.org same; but sci-hub itself follows the Pirate Bay evasion-persistence model: many mirrors, always circulating into new domains, publishing the latest mirrors/sites to the public kept separate to the sci-hub service itself. Elbakyan now owns millions of dollars fines, carries a dozen contempt judgments and will probably be persona non grata west of the Oder for the rest of her life. Commenting on the corporations and the court rulings, Elbakyan writes (via her blog): "Sorry but this is a complete bullshit."

Sidebar: most academics and scientists are on record complaining about the monopolistic capture of knowledge by these mega-corporations. Almost all can be quoted as saying they think the billions of papers should be accessible to all, without charge. But let's not forget the academics are choosing to sign away the copyright on their papers to Elsevier and cronies, in return for being published in higher name brand journals. There are free options with global presence 100% open to the public: ArXiv exists, PLOS, Royal Society Open Science, Open Library, etc. Dozens of others cover every field of study. Truth is the academics (who get free access to paywalled DOIs via their institutions) find the corporate journals carry greater social weight, more 'useful' as currency for tenure / promotion / winning awards. So they choose to give away copyright, surrender (on behalf of the rest of humanity) access to the fruits of their expertise. Spineless turds.

  • The war to free science (10-Jul-2019)
  • Spending By Universities On Papers In Journals (1986-2014)

     


    Social Media Message Nuances

    "I want Law and Order. Trump backs crackdown on chaos. Trump is for Law and Order."

    But Trump is the President. Isn't he responsible for unrest - for society breakdown - for breakdown of law and order, on his watch? Why doesn't he get held responsible?

    "Social media is a cesspool of anonymous unaccountable sock puppets, talking point bots, incel trolling and everybody shouting at once their opinions about everything. All locked in echo-chambers divided by specious political tribalism."

    There are bad actors in every population. Millions of active social media users are no exception. But the lack of nuance and the susceptibility to mob mentalities come from a lack of personal engagement by thread originators. It wouldn't exist face to face.

    "Social media brings out the worst in everyone. Mainly because there's no accountability. You can say what you want and there're no consequences when you act like an asshole."

    This abuse of 'no accountability' applies to bad actors but not to the average user of social media. In reality, it's not that person A wouldn't say X to person B, but person B would respond to person A if the interactions were face to face. Instead, it's person B abusing 'no consequences' to ignore (rudely) person A. Magnify this dynamic by a billion frustrated interactions and online conversation grows toxic.

    "Why should I respond to every message on my social media? I reply where I can, especially to the most annoying or deplorable comments. What's so bad about using my finite time to hit the best and the worst, to make a difference?"

    We see messages and place them on a spectrum from extreme positive to extreme (violently) negative. At the spectrum midpoint are the more ambiguous comments that take genuine reflection to answer. Those middle-of-the-spectrum comments are seldom offensive (or solely sycophantic) Nor are they lowest common denominator. Trouble is, ambiguity and nuance is time consuming to engage personally. Most of us are too lazy to bother. It's easier to virtue signal or shit-talk or stress (again) familiar talking points. Autopilot.

    We're trained to pick out the most familiar, extreme negative comments in a thread and respond to lowest common denominator groupthink. It's self-serving. Why? Because it requires least effort to pick out opposing groupthink and, by virtuously firing back a tried and tested takedown, we absolve ourselves of the lazy hypocrisy and win quick, easy self-satisfaction. Nuanced comments - which are personal, not automated or we ignore trolling.

    And then we tell ourselves Twitter is to blame for the dysfunctional environment. What a crock. We're to blame.

    "I'm not convinced this is true. How do I test this?"

    Find a bunch of social media users who're running their own account. It shouldn't be people you know. You can tell this by checking their profile and their messages. It should be personalized. It should have specific comments including replies (follow-ups) to real-world events, not delegated to a staff member to automate or manage.

    Try sending messages or making comments that fit the 'extremely negative groupthink' and then 'extremely positive ingratiating' and finally 'ambiguous, nuanced, thoughtful'. Let's call the negative A, the positive B and the nuanced thoughtful C.

    According to our initial 30-day experiment and subsequently adjusted, the percentage weight of responses to the three categories:

  • 81% A (negative)
  • 13% B (positive)
  • 6% C (nuanced)
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    What happened to the Occupy millions?

    Recently the Democratic Party has been rehabilitating previously demonised figures like George W Bush and Dick Cheney. This is reasonable given the corporate Dems have shifted to an openly further Right position and will be figuring on picking up GOP voters - especially in the event Trump runs in 2024 - to offset loss of Left/Progressive support (which they don't want anyway).

    But what happened to the millions of people for whom the Iraq War was the greatest abomination and Bush/Cheney were to blame? What happened to the millions of people who came out in protest during the Occupy movement? Where did all those people (or their beliefs) go?

    LIES IN THE TITLE

    RENEWABLE ENERGY LIE

    • If renewables include biomass it’s not renewable – not green – because biomass is a fancy word for burning trees/algae/cashcrops etc
    • Biomass is worse than many types of fossil fuels – burning dirtier, more carbon emissions, more habitat destructive etc
    • Biomass being lumped in with other renewables is a result of intense lobbyist pressure – always a sign of profit over public interest
    • Biomass labelled renewable is a way to insert old-fashioned for-profit commodity markets into subsidised nascent green energy
    • Renewables are: WIND, HYDROELECTRIC, WAVE, SOLAR, some THERMAL only
    • Renewables cannot come from: burning fossil fuels, nuclear fission, burning biomass (trees, algae, moss, etc)

    OTHERING QUOTES

    Universal Basic Income

    Individual Independence Income

    • Private safe shelter
    • Personal living space
    • Necessary good health provisions
    • Medical care
    • Education
    • Free and equal access to the law

    Us Against Them?

    Me Against You?

    • The narrative is full of propaganda and bullshit.
    • The orthodoxy is mostly inertia.
    • But the fundamentals? I don’t know. Harder to see it as entirely one-sided good guys versus bad guys, difficult to cite credible alternative “do it this way, humans” – despite how offensive the propaganda and the bullshit is.
    • I can certainly see some winners (in the broadest sense) and a lot of losers (in an everyday opportunity sense). Is that my own ugly pragmatism of birthplace and upbringing?
    • So there’s a prevailing narrative, a prevalent orthodoxy, and a complex interplay of geo-ethnic-competitive fundamental motivations playing out across the world as innumerable cause-and-effect actions and reactions.

    “Some sources aren’t commonly cited in the mainstream media, but can fasten onto the truth behind the story. Sometimes these sources will seed of articles that’ll germinate (after the appropriate douching by the bullshit spigot) in the popular press.  Sometimes they’ll be suppressed.”

    “It’s easy to create a full-time job pointing out contradictions in the output of one or both of the duopoly bullshit spigots.

    Hundreds of new media independents and thousands of legacy media institutions make their living following the superficial currents of news cycles. It’s easy content, endlessly replenished, perpetually zeitgeist; but it’s not useful to be an amplifier of the propaganda machine. If anything the devil’s bargain for profit and views (by serving the proliferation of hegemonic framing) should be an anathema to anyone sincerely trying to push back on the exploitation excess of American oligopoly.

    The criteria of America’s partisan dichotomy is self-serving, corollary to its own internal competition between interest groups. The dichotomy isn’t bound by consistency. It doesn’t exist to serve truth. Political narratives are only partisan – liberal or conservative, left or right – insofar as they’re used to serve two highly evolved organisations of wealth and influence subordinated to a single ruling class monopoly on power.

    Executive action exclusively serves this monopoly and the entire ecosystem of media and institutional propaganda exists to bridge the gap between the brutal reality of legislation by narrow elite interests and the general public excluded from (or exploited by) elite profit.”

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