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Everything posted by lemur

  1. This is a very good point and very true. It would be a little disturbing if there were "class-action" bullying suits against individuals. Hate-speech laws apply more to that. Personally, I find bullying a big injustice and I would be happy to see the law institutionalize the moral recognition of it as such. I just think that in practice, it could end up a lot like anti-discrimination, some people discriminate in covert ways and get away with it while other people use anti-discrimination suits and complaints as a means to leverage power without having any real intention to pursue justice. I guess it is just a question of waiting for the laws to be implemented and seeing how they are used in practice. That's pretty loaded to say that victims ("targets" is actually a better word) are weak. Typically bullies are the weak ones, which is why they result to bullying to gain a sense of power. I don't say this to evoke sympathy or something; it's just a fact. Maybe anti-bullying laws will stimulate potential bullies to empower themselves to seek more constructive ways of expressing their opinion. Exactly. Anti-bullying laws could be used to subject people to libel, when they are not actually engaging in bullying. Of course, I don't know what would be special about bullying for this purpose other than the high emotional charge that comes with being labeled a bully. You could end up with a backlash similar to that which has occurred against almost any talk of discrimination, racism, sexism, etc. I suppose you really have to start somewhere with addressing any of these social-problems, so the backlash is just a hurdle to overcome in the pursuit of rationality in handling injustices.
  2. I think hydrogen-fusion technologies have to be developed and refined to facilitate any kind of sustainable interstellar travel. I believe hydrogen gas is readily available in many location, which will make refueling easier.
  3. The only frustration of the American voter, it seems like, is that they can't directly sell their vote for cash. There is really no interest in politics except "the economy" as far as I can tell. If they could use their votes to produce an authoritarian government that would guarantee wealth and prosperity, most would do it I think. The extreme reaction to this is the tea party, which seems to lure people into political conflict by telling them the road to wealth and prosperity is less spending instead of more. This seems to be the only way it is possible to generate political disagreement, because no one seems to think the people should create their own wealth and prosperity. They want the government to be responsible for the economy.
  4. Good points. Only I can't think of any acts of bullying that don't involve some form of speech or expression. I guess it depends on what you define as outside expression, because it definitely involves some form of communication, no? As for your point about political expression not necessarily involving bullying, you're right. My point was that people are going to use the anti-bullying rules to intimidate each other, the same way they use the threat of lawsuits now to intimidate each other into settling out-of-court, etc. People shouldn't let themselves be intimidated into helping the bully achieve their goals, but that is typically how victimization works. Look at the current case of Geert Wilders in Dutch government. He has been crusading against Islam for some time on the basis that it is a totalizing lifestyle instead of just a religion. Yet, all the criticism of Islam comes with statements about it not "fitting with western culture/lifestyles." So the implication is that there IS a total western/European lifestyle that should dominate everyone who lives in western Europe and that if you want an Islamic lifestyle, you should go someplace other than Europe. Part of the strategy/tactic to attacking Islam and asserting secular living is to claim that Islam is attacking secular living. In other words, Wilders is promoting a bullying strategy toward Islam that accuses Islam of bullying secularism. Ultimately, what it comes down to is that the people who feel the most intimidated, for whatever reason, are the ones who are going to support the most repressive measures toward the "bullies" they blame for their feeling of intimidation. This is the cycle of bullying. Victims learn to behave passively so that they can claim righteousness in accusing others of bullying them. Institutionalized (state) bullying takes the position of dominance over non-governmental bullying and freedom of speech get subsequently used as a means of taunting or "drawing the teeth" of potential aggressors. In this way, we go down the road of behavioral-control culture where passive-aggression wars against active-aggression to dominate it completely.
  5. If someone has the ability to alleviate suffering and it is shirked, that is different than when someone really doesn't have the ability to help. Developed capitalist economies constantly fail to alleviate suffering by bickering between the controllers of the means of production and goods and those who control money. The producers typically claim they can't help anyone without money, but of course when they money isn't there they still have the means to do what they do when they are getting paid. So there's sort of an endless standoff to get money, and people suffer in the balance. This is why maximum self-sufficiency is the best escape from the tug-of-war game of developed economies. The ironic thing is that the culture of the developed economies to deal with such problems is to leave. During hurricane Katrina a few years ago, people with the means to do so left the area and migrated to somewhere with adequate resources and facilities. Many of the global poor would like to do the same thing, but migration-controls work against this. Many of the people who fled from Katrina would have been flabergasted if they had faced anti-migration for trying to flee a natural disaster, but many of those same people would complain if the government allowed people in developing economies to do the same thing. How is birth control "voluntary" if the only other choices are genocide or forced sterilization? The other thing I believe occurs at present is that populations that do not contain their growth within acceptable margins do not qualify for various kinds of economic assistance, and they end up getting punished for population growth by resource-deprivation. Meanwhile people who choose to have big families in western Europe are getting subsidized per child - yet people who wish to migrate there to take advantage of such subsidies are hated and discriminated by those who see themselves as "indigenous" to Europe. Bataille analyzes different cultures of waste/sacrifice in terms of economic effects. He dislikes communism, for example, because he finds it too productive and efficient; the same as capitalism, I believe. He thinks that efficiency and saving results in a build-up of surplus that culminates in waste on way or the other, war for example. So he think that it makes more sense to dissipate resources constantly to prevent surplus from building up. Basically, he likes the idea of having a class of people whose only task is to squander surplus. It is a consistent egoism of the developed economies that they can justify migration control and territorialism by the fact that they contribute so much to the developing economies in terms of technology and aid. What goes unsaid is that these economies are just as likely to use the same technology and economic power to destroy the parts of developing economies when they fear that they are becoming a threat. We often preach freedom but engage in control-containment in practice. There are many problems with the logic of this. For one thing, why does Parkinsons research cut into hunger-relief more than, say, MADD or breast-cancer research funding? Or particle-accelerators? Second, are the resources being devoted to research transferrable to hunger-relief if they were in fact devoted to it? In other words, what is needed to feed people (food and the means to transport it) is not the same thing that is needed to study Parkinsons, high-speed particle collisions, or crusade around distributing pink ribbons and putting pretty monuments to car crashes on the sides of roads. Sure, you could pay all those people to put their time into loading and unloading food-supplies, but you could also hire the people who are suffering from hunger to do it themselves. Then there is the issue of the fuel and equipment needed, but who says those things need to be paid for by anyone except the providers, or at least why shouldn't those companies provide fuel and equipment for hunger relief at base production costs instead of including a profit margin? If nothing else, why can't hungry people just walk to the food instead of spending money to bring the food to them? The reason is because the people where the food is don't want poor people walking into their regions. It doesn't matter because people have plenty of time in their lives to both eat AND study Parkinson's disease. It's a waste that the people that are hungry aren't given access to the means to feed themselves and the educational opportunities to be able to contribute to Parkinson's research. These things also require engineering, labor, materials, etc. not just math and science on paper. Theory is a powerful tool and it's great and I use it more than many people. My point was that oftentimes theory gets caught up in abstract logics that fail to take account of how things work in practice. It's the difference between thinking in terms of abstract systems and concretely imagining the actual situations in which human activities take place. I never said anything about dismissing math. I said that formulating the mathematical problem of population-growth obscures the immediate issue that is happening daily, which is food waste. You can curtain reproduction to constrain population-growth to a level that can be fed by current food-resource management or modify food-distribution culture to allow people maximum reproductive freedom. I vote for throwing away less and creating more freedom to choose how many children to have because I can't stomach the ethic of wasting food resources to starve people out of having children. Now, in reality are the people in developed economies generally overfed excessive amounts of sugar, salt, fat, and other empty carbohydrates . . .
  6. One problem with this is that we are humans and have the ability to contemplate population-growth and respond to it as an abstraction instead of simply being confronted with factors caused by it in practice. When, for example, people are starving naturally, instead of due to exclusion from the global food-resource economy, they can go through natural adjustments to their suffering because they have no one to blame but nature. The only thing we seem to agree on so far is that your predictions are dramatic and threatening in their promise of future scarcity. What you don't seem to see is that there are already people experiencing famine, lethal disease, social-political killing, etc. so what does it matter to them if it is the result of population-growth or fear of such growth? Likewise, what would it matter to future victims of such maladies if they are the result of overpopulation or not? After all, starvation is starvation isn't it? I wonder if you've ever read the Accursed Share by George Bataille. Bataille talks about ecological-economics in terms of space filling up and evolving to create more space. So, for example, he says that first, ground-cover plants fill up the available land and then trees start growing higher to compete for more light and in the process create more space for life. Then he looks at a carnivorous predator like the tiger as an organism that has evolved to make space for other organisms to continue to reproduce. I.e. the perpetual reproduction of zebras is facilitated by their being hunted. The rest of Bataille's book is analysis of different forms of human economics and cultures of sacrifice, which he claims are the driving force of economic growth. It is not insignificant that Bataille preludes his book with a statement about the incredible economic growth of the US economy and the need for leisurely intellectuals like himself to consume the abundance to make room for more growth. Ultimately, I think the evolution of such economically wasteful cultural forms is inevitable, but I still think the ethical thing to do is minimize waste and maximize efficiency to preclude the waste of destruction as much as possible. I think the moment you act on the notion that destruction is inevitable by contributing to someone else's destruction, you have basically initiated destruction for yourself. What goes around comes around.
  7. What you are saying is very true. Given total faith in the culmination of population growth in mathusian scarcity, famine, war, etc. people with the power to do so will engage in population-control measures as draconian as their fear itself. It's like backing an animal into a corner and taunting it with fear of immanent death. You need to think about the difference between exponential growth on paper and how growth actually occurs in reality. In reality, myriad forms of consolidation occur all the time. Where resources become scarce, people adjust or suffer. The problem is that some people refuse to adjust to resource-scarcity and instead sustain cultures of waste and inefficiency. By doing so, they make resource-scarcity more immanent that it would be due to population-growth. You can use exponential math to generate numbers that look like more of a problem than resource-waste, but the numbers only exist on paper while the waste is in dumpsters all over the developed world.
  8. He wouldn't kill anyone but would rather indoctrinate as many people as possible into a culture that is more harmonious with nature. Go green!
  9. If the magnifying glass was changing density, it could make spatial relations outside the lens appear to be expanding or contracting. If a galaxy was contracting, gravitation levels could be rising, which could be steadily increasing the optical-density differential between the interior of the galaxy and the more empty space between galaxies. The speed of light is the maximum speed possible in any medium. So C changes in material media, such as water, but also due to gravitation, which is the cause of gravitational redshift, I beleive. Idk, I'm still not convinced that lens-effects couldn't cause some objects to appear to recede faster or slower than others. Remember, I'm not talking about a stable lens but one that is changing shape and density at a variable rate depending on the changing gravitational field relations of the galaxy's constituents. Well, what happens to them then? They continue to be negatively charged while the protons continue to be positively charged, no? So you're another person who accepts the calculations without having an explanatory mechanism for how the process actually works outside of the math? I suppose that buoyancy is the product of heavier particles pushing lighter ones up as they fall, so you have a point. Nevertheless, the sun's radiation is sufficient to push very light particles very far away, correct? Theoretically, shouldn't the heliopause be located at the point where solar radiation drops to a level of energy that is less than the momentum/heat of particles outside the solar system? I suppose the Earth does have a great deal of momentum considering its mass. I suppose I'll have to concede that your idea that the sun will lose mass due to fusion will cause the planets to expand in their orbits and eventually drift off into interstellar space. Ok, can't argue with empirical observations. But then, how else do you measure the mass of a body except by its gravitational effects?
  10. Plus there's a deeper psychology to it, imo: People with access to elite levels of economic resources like to believe in the fantasy of abundant energy because it justifies their high levels of consumption. If they think about energy being a non-renewable resource, they feel guilty for consuming such high levels of it while other people go without.
  11. No, because consolidation doesn't just mean shrinking humans. It is a type of growth that can develop into different forms. In an extreme case, all humans could consolidate all their growth down to a single individual, who would be quite lonely, I think, but who knows. If a culture of 1-child families became widespread, how many generations would it take before there would be only one human born? You're still looking at consolidation as anti-growth. If consolidative growth occurs exponentially, you would not be able to generate enough humans to maintain any population. Who are you calling pessimistic and close-minded? You're the one who can't see consolidation except as anti-growth, and I doubt you are optimistic about it.
  12. You must not have understood my statement because if you had you would recognize that bullying/harassment by definition is a speech act and thus occurs as "free speech." If you can't explain further what you're trying to get at, then I suggest you stop repeatedly asking for whatever "support" it is you are asking for. If you don't want to discuss the issue, why are you posting about it?
  13. My response wasn't a debate strategy. My point was that there's no way to bully/harass people without using (free) speech. Hence I asked you if you could think of any methods of (non-governmental) bullying/harassment that didn't involve free-speech? I mention "non-governmental" because clearly a repressive government uses speech to perpetuate bullying while prohibiting speech for non-governmental purposes. So to clarify my response, I meant that I don't think bullying ever occurs in a way that doesn't involve free-expression unless the expression is government-generated.
  14. Can you provide any examples of non-governmental bullying occurring without the exercise of free-speech?
  15. How do you know this? Obviously there are competing interests and symbiotes. What makes you so sure humans have more competitors than symbiotes?
  16. It is ironic that free speech is the means of bullying people into self-censorship. What will be interesting is how it will be regulated once the realization starts to surface that people will abuse the right to anti-bullying protection to bully others into self-censorship. Imagine someone is simply expressing a certain political view and someone else who doesn't like that view accuses them of harassment/bullying as a means of silencing their politics. Of course, the reverse has been happening for years, for example when hate-groups insist that they are just expressing neutral political views in order to protect their ability to (attempt) to intimidate others. Generally, I would call this all the politics of passive-aggression, which is definitive for the post-aggression age, which was initiated I would say by the influx of nuclear holocaust as a war-deterrent.
  17. If two balloons were next to each other and shrinking, an observer inside one of the balloons could conclude that they were moving away from each other. If the balloons were galaxies and the decreasing average distance between massive bodies was increasing the average level of gravitation, then the differential between spacetime compression inside and outside the galaxy would be increasing. This, I would expect, would increase the apparent expansion because relative to the speed of light as measured within the galaxy, the speed of light outside it would be (lower? . . . this is where I get mixed up whether higher gravity slows or accelerates light). Still, you get my point: objects may be more distant than they appear and this effect may be steadily increasing causing the appearance of expansion. I didn't make this idea up, it was the OP but I've thought of it before and I don't see how/why it would be excludable. The protons and electrons may not be bound, but that doesn't mean their flows relative to each other and themselves are not influenced by their interactive tendencies. They are, after all attracted to each other by opposite charge. So the ability for protons to come into contact and be compressed beyond their repulsion would still be mitigated by the force required to displace electrons, which probably also has something to do with whether fusion results in helium or a heavier element. I.e. it probably takes more energy to get 3 or more protons next to each other and compressed to the point of fusion than it does for 2. No, I enjoy reading and responding to your posts. I hope I don't come across as impolite because I tend not to worry about being too polite because I'm not a very hostile person in my core. Nevertheless, I do tend to be fairly free with engaging in conflict with people because of this and it can lead to malice when the conflict is taken as hostility. Let's avoid that if we can;) Thanks. I would have guessed about core-collapse causing a sudden increase in gravitation, pressure, and just the impact-force of lots of heavy matter falling long distances at high gravity, so it's interesting to hear that this is why people study in astrophysics. But how would this alter the overall compression of the particles? And both its slowness and thinness may become fastness and thickness as it descends into the gravity well of a dying/deceased star, no? I was thinking more that the heliopause was the edge of an energy-bubble resulting from solar wind but also radiation and heat. Lighter gases tend to rise in a gravity-well, no, especially when heated? Solar wind is basically light gas doing just that, right? So couldn't you look at the solar wind as a very thin solar atmosphere that tends to rise due to solar heat? If you light a candle in space, the heat expands outward in a spherical shape. Why wouldn't you see the heliopause as the surface of that sphere for the sun? I know this is based on Newton's equation which considers only mass and distance. However, don't you think that matter whose mass is spread out less densely has the tendency to cancel out a certain amount of its gravitation. The center of the Earth, for example, is weightless because the gravity from the outer layers of the sphere cancels itself out completely in the center. Nevertheless, the gravity from the North pole is less by the time it reaches the South pole than it would be if the two poles were compressed into the same point, no? So I would actually think that gravitational fields extend farther from denser bodies than more voluminous ones with the same mass. But are there equations and experiments for predicting the effect on light if we were located inside a gravitational lens?
  18. I don't even think it's probably that humans can shrink to the size of single atoms. But what I've been trying to show you is that you are thinking unidirectionally, i.e. you see growth as increasing individuals, bodies, and therefore resource-demand. You assume, therefore, that no matter what else changes about the individuals and their demand, they will always continue to multiply in a way that outpaces their consumption. I was trying to explain consolidative growth to you, which could take many forms, but generally what I mean is that individuals can consolidate their activities and consumption in ways the result in intensive instead of extensive growth. The two-humans merging into a single body was an extreme and possible distant solution, but it is blatantly clear that if two individuals would merge into a single body, the food-consumption rate of a population would be cut in half, correct? Then, if they did it again, it would be again cut in half resulting in exponential reductions in resource-consumption. I'm not ready to advocate body-pooling yet, but I think other forms of economic consolidation are very interesting. For example, building multistory buildings consolidate land-area and potentially agricultural productivity by using hydroponics and artificial grow-lamps. You can argue that it is crazy to build multistory buildings for agriculture but in the future, the entire planet may have evolved into multistory metropoles with humans living in layers many kilometers in size. Also, I think when you allow urban areas to densify and facilitate density-culture, people automatically adjust their reproductive patterns to have less children. So, for example, a couple who like the idea of living in a bustling city may desire only one or two children because the lifestyle activities available to them and the kids are so bountiful that they would feel overwhelmed if they had to provide these for many kids. When you are living in relatively non-dense isolation, it makes more sense to have more kids so they can entertain and take care of each other. So it's not so much that you have to encourage people to limit their reproduction - you have to give them opportunities for cultural growth that naturally result in reproductive consolidation. However, you can't really ethically do this by setting arbitrary limits on reproduction or geographical expansion. This kind of "caging" has been attempted in various situations and people always catch on and are very offended by the ethics of it. What I DO think is viable is to cultivate cultures of pedestrianism and other bio-energy intensive lifestyles. To live in such communities, people necessarily have to walk or bike because roads are simply not sufficient to accommodate everyone driving a car everywhere. If people choose to live in such areas, because of better jobs/income/amenities/etc., then they would have to adjust their lifestyles to greater efficiency because they simply wouldn't be able to use combustion vehicles to carry everything around for them all the time. This would also lead to more consolidation of energy into one or two kids because parents would not be able to spend their time cruising from activity to activity in the car/minivan. They would have to walk or bike between activities, which would cost them more energy and promote smaller family sizes just because larger families would be more tiring. But you couldn't force or manipulate people to live in such areas. They would have to do so because they wanted to - which many would because they would be more pedestrian friendly, and higher density would promote more amenities and social-opportunities.
  19. Reason can and should be persuasive, but persuasion is not the essence of reason. In fact, reason can be presented in a way that is not persuasive and even repulsive, but it is still right. The truth can hurt but it's still the truth. If people are being persuaded to accept reason, however, they may not be reasoning for themselves as much as they are just responding to persuasion. That would, in itself, be unreasonable thus defeating the purpose of reason. Why do you keep using the word "detonation." Are you planning to set off a bomb or something? You seem to be obsessed with certain vocabulary such as "argument," "assemble," and "explosion/detonation." What is the underlying strategy of your writing? What empirical basis? For falsification of what?
  20. Food is ultimately energy embedded in a material matrix. The actual atoms of food get recycled through food webs and what humans are ultimately consuming is solar energy. You're right that dilating time doesn't give you more atoms, but it lets you recycle the same atoms at a faster rate. Many generation of humans could live and die in the time of a single lifetime in a different gravitational context. So, you wouldn't be dealing so much with population size as you would be with population rate. I see how you could say that rapid expansion is still expansion, but you also have space dilation/compression that goes with time dilation/compression. Did you understand my distinction between extensive and intensive growth in an earlier post? You're assuming a simple opposition between growth and consolidation, but I am trying to postulate that consolidation itself can be a form of growth in some cases. I'm not saying that all consolidation is growth, but it depends on what people themselves consider growth. Some parents have only one child because they see that as a means of concentrating resources into that one child, not as limiting further reproduction. Consider the same principle of intensification on a larger scale, for example if people with different languages have a single child who speaks both languages. In that case, you've just consolidated two distinct language populations in the same population after a single generation, provided all the the children keep using both languages of both parents without allowing one to fall into disuse. This just reminds me of the stem-cell debate with GW Bush, at least what I saw of it in the Michael Moore movie. The congresspeople kept making arguments for stem-cell research that insisted it was necessary to accept the sacrifice of certain living cells in order to repair others. Bush kept telling them that they if they would send him a bill that would present the issue as something other than a sacrifice, he would sign it. This discussion seems to be the same thing. You want to insist that growth has to be limited somehow to avoid overpopulation and I want to insist that growth can take many different forms and need not lead to overpopulation vis-a-vis available resources. It's primarily an epistemological difference, but I have a feeling that you're going to insist I have to accept your epistemology while you vehemently resist accepting mine.
  21. But isn't the whole point of a two-party election to unify pro-active voters with re-active voters to oust the incumbent that doesn't pander enough to critics? I think people who think the point of electing a representative to do anything except portray them in a critical drama are naive. The primary function of democratic representation is to sufficiently piss people off who want to install a legitimate leader. This can be done either by preventing them from being elected altogether or electing them in order to subject them to legislative resistance and checks and balances between the branches.
  22. Um no, argumentation refers to providing defensible reason for your claims. Science cannot deal in facts alone because there must be reason in presenting the facts and argumentation about why the facts are valid to support a given conclusion. Being polite or rude has nothing to do with rationality. Rudeness can certainly be offensive and off-putting, but a rational argument can be presented rudely or politely. You make it sound like rationality is a social-technique instead of an approach to knowledge with the purpose of optimizing functionality. Rationality is not about appeasement. Appeasement is more likely about circumventing rationality.
  23. Don't assume that racism is only responsible for disgust and not attraction to the "exotic." If these two 'species' were capable of 'inter'breeding to produce viable offspring, it is likely that some culture of attraction existed that created an interest in 'inter'breeding. It would be interesting, however, to study the cultural logics that paved the way to interracial relationships. Racism is fascinating, especially where it intersects with sexuality.
  24. I've heard them called "banana spiders" and after googling that name, the picture seems to match. I scanned the wiki entry without seeing anything about prey, but maybe I should go read it more thoroughly. I guess I was hoping I would post the picture and people would already know the details and predict the outcome on that basis.
  25. Are wormholes supposed to be tunnels through the space time fabric? Would traveling through a wormhole be like traveling through normal spacetime only suddenly you are encountered with very different surroundings? Spacetime curvature has always struck me to have this effect potentially, without there having to be "holes" or "tunnels" through it. After all, spacetime seems to have topology, which could be as complex as a mountain range and yet be invisible. So if you think about traveling along the ridge of a mountain or going down through the valley and up to the other side of the ridge, you have two very different trajectories between the same two points.
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