It's very much a part of the to believe there are *solutions* to complex problems. That, if we just do these things or fund that program or somehow retarget our lives along some new path we can make something dragging us down go away.

Thing is? It's all wishful thinking and bullshit. We cannot *solve* complex problems; at best we can change them into *different* complex problems. It doesn't matter how hard we work or how much money we throw at it or how much we change.


> A Canadian study gave $7,500 to homeless people. The results show the power of cash transfers to reduce homelessness.

> The results? The people who received cash transfers moved into stable housing faster and saved enough money to maintain financial security over the year of follow-up. They decreased spending on drugs, tobacco, and alcohol by 39 percent on average, and increased spending on food, clothes, and rent, according to self-reports.

People talk about how, when they get old, they reminisce more.

I'll admit to being another data point here. I don't know how others go about it, but I tend to meta-think.

In the case of reminiscing over my misspent youth this means re-contextualizing my memories based on what I've learned of human nature in the last 63+ years.

And then doing a fuck-ton of cringing…

> The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse. A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.

The idea there are historical cycles is not a new one. I'd have to go through my notes for examples, but doing some novel research turned up at least three different theories advanced over the last two hundred years; one of which is actually rather compelling.

When 'seeking the truth' means denying truths you don't want to believe.

> The Truth Seekers Are Coming.
Conspiracy theorists keep finding new ways to rebrand themselves.

Related: you can call me a traitor to my sex if you like, but I'm entirely convinced men, on average, cause more and far greater problems for other people than women do.

It's not like woman can't be assholes too (see 'Karen', Phenomena Of…), and the percentage of female assholes is probably about the same as for males – but men take it further and have more power, giving their assholeosity greater reach.

Let's invert the sexual power dynamic and see how it works out.

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> Stockton’s Basic Income Experiment Pays Off. A new study of the city’s program that sent cash to struggling individuals finds dramatic changes.

There are three things I find really attractive about :

1. Unlike most assistance programs, UBI doesn't require a loss of dignity to receive it

2. Even small amounts drastically help the poorest and increase opportunities for middle income families

3. Minimal administrative costs

The Last City of the 20th Century. the rebuild from a devastating earthquake was Christchurch, New Zealand’s chance to reimagine what a city could be. What went wrong?

The biggest mistake a city planner can make is thinking you can actually PLAN a city. Cities grow organically, they self-assemble, they are perfect examples of Emergence Theory in action.

At best you can prune them into twisted bonsai shapes, but you don't plan them.

> Hiking Is an Ideal Structure for Friendship. “Without this hike… it would have been one of those college friendships where you get together and talk about the old days.”

I'm a huge fan of hiking, both as a solo activity and as something done in groups. One of the reasons I live where I do is the, literally, hundreds of trailheads within a half-hour of my house.

Go for a hike. Take some friends.

> Microsoft patented a chatbot that would let you talk to dead people. It was too disturbing for production.

Basically? The chatbot can be modeled after a real person, past or present. Meaning a virtual 'ghost' of a dead person or a simulacrum of a living person. And, yeah, that's pretty disturbing.

Almost as disturbing? I wrote a chatbot when I worked at MS in the '90's: a version of Eliza with responses taken out of Three Stooges scripts.

> Facts don't convince people in political arguments. Here's what does.

I'd modify that to, "Facts don't convince *some* people …" After all, some of us are more reality-based than others.

And, while people respond to stories better than they do to facts and figures, the problem is they respond *best* to stories that reinforce their own preferences and prejudices. Simply telling them a counter story isn't appreciably more useful than showing them facts.

Conspiracy Theories, History 

Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories Follow a Century-Old Formula. Trump and QAnon sound like they’re from the 1910s.

Day three without power. And no ETA for when it comes back on; the local PUD is slammed by outages from the windstorm.

Based on past experience, day three is when it goes from a bit of adventure to a slog. First few days the inconveniences are no worse than going camping. But, by the third day, you *really* want to take a shower.

We tend to forget just how much ubiquitous electricity has changed modern life.

I'm beginning to think the human race has *always* been separated into 'Reality-Based' and 'Fantasy-Driven' ways of looking at the world. Moreover, the 'Reality-Based' community (as opposed to a few 'Reality-Based' individuals) may be an extremely recent development in human history and very much in the minority.

If the goal of the demagogue is to play to populist fantasies about how things work, what is the goal of the 'Reality-Based' politician? And how can they compete?

Politics, Personal Observation 

In any case, the war isn't over, and will continue long after Trump's poxy ass is out the door. It's a war that cannot be won except by reducing one side or the other numbers below the point of political relevance; an impossibility where the is concerned.

We will always have those who wish to follow a strong leader, just as we will always have those who fear the evil potential of strong leaders and wish to walk their own path in peace.


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One ever-present (and often problematic) aspect of the is the way people can believe in things without proof they exist, or even in the face of proof they do not.

No religion I know of could exist without faith in the absence of proof. But neither could scams or cults. It all comes down to people believing what they *want* to believe. Even when they extend that unwarranted certainty to bizarre conspiracy theories.

And, sometimes, it gets downright scary…

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