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Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (Score 1) 166 166

Do we recognize the rights of others as a kind of tribal convention?


Or are we compelled to do so because of something in human nature?


There is no OR. That's a false dichotomy.
We ARE forced to be tribal and social by our biology, we don't get to choose or juxtapose one to the other.
Our biology requires both living in packs and care for infants - those who don't want that get written out of the DNA-pool hundreds of millions of years ago, long before the whole bipedal thing, let alone ethics.
And when such an individual appears through chance or mutation - we don't like those animals.
We call them psychos. Parasites. Evil. Werewolves.

Cooperation forced by biological need for familial, romantic and other relationships is what puts just another set of run of the mill primates on top of the food chain. Plus a lucky roll of the dice or two.
Tit-for-tat is what makes single cell organisms join up in cell colonies.
Other algorithms may seem profitable in short term, but in the long run... it's always cooperation.
We are social beings cause cooperation is a great strategy for survival of both the individual and its genes.


It's an important philosophical question because it potentially colors a lot of mundane ethical questions

No it is not. A question.

Legal personhood can not be based on ethics.
If it were, a society could "legally" give kids and comatose people all the rights that a sane adult has.
There would be no age of consent, drinking age, or any such thing as a state of diminished capacity of the mind.
Got a heartbeat? Full person.
With all rights and oblig... oh... wait... Rights come with obligations.

Be it claims and liberties or positive vs. negative rights - one person's rights include either/or/and their and other persons' obligations.

For a society (and we build those cause we need them) to work all sides in any relationship must agree to and obey both rights and the obligations they entail.
Enough relationships don't work (cause there are way too many for all to work at the same time, plus there is the element of chance, plus there are outside factors, plus there are werewolves...) - society breaks up.
So, we build RULES into societies to hold them together, and we call those rules laws, customs, morals... in order to codify rights and obligations (that we think are) needed for a society to exist.
Enough rules don't work or keep getting broken in order for the society to work - society breaks up.

Ethics is merely a description of our understanding of the underlying rules on which we choose to base our society.
That's why slavery can and was once perfectly ethical. Or racism. Or fascism.
It's a thing we invent to make society work the way we imagine that it should be.
NOT the way it is best for either a person, persons, the society or the humanity as a whole.

And when we base "personhood" on ethics we get societies where people are not persons based on wealth, sex, race, imaginary ethnic and cultural properties, age...
Until that society breaks cause eventually inter-personal relationships in it can't work with such rules.

Personhood AND a society which doesn't get broken up by the rules needed to run that society and which also describe what a person is - must be based on reality.
I.e. Rights that any single person must/might have and the obligations that those rights entail. Tit-for-tat.
Can't agree and obey both - sorry, can't have that right. Here's a nice cage. In a zoo or in a dungeon...
No biggie for the society. Society don't care. Persons care.

Should enough persons care enough to give rights to those who can't also obey obligations, such as chimps because... ethics...

Society breaks.

Submission + - New Unicode bug discovered for common Japanese character "no"

AmiMoJo writes: Some users have noticed that the Japanese character "no", which is extremely common in the Japanese language (forming parts of many words, or meaning something similar to the English word "of" on its own). The Unicode standard has apparently marked the character as sometimes being used in mathematical formulae, causing it to be rendering in a different font to the surrounding text in certain applications. Similar but more widespread issues have plagued Unicode for decades due to the decision to unify dissimilar characters in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Comment Re:It's based on a faulty premise... (Score 2) 191 191

No, the thing that matters is to execute those actions which keep the machine of government moving along

Sometimes you work against your immediate interests in order to promote your long-term interests

No, that's what the career politicians tell themselves to validate their own hypocrisy.

And if the Tea Partiers were the only issue, and compromise and cooperation really are "currency", then rest of the Republicans would be closing deals hand over fist and legislation would be passing like shit through a goose.
Tea Partiers not knowing how the "cooperation currency" works, just sitting on their "currency" and making no use of it, and thus raising it's value - it would be prime time to both cash in AND to make big deals for the future.

Cooperation earned earlier is now worth more cause there is none to get on the market.
Same for the cooperation made now, which can be bargained for more future deals than usual.

Same goes for the other side.
Democrats would be banning gayness and abortion, making guns mandatory for anyone older than 3 and bringing both death penalty and torture across the nation.

Just an old white guy trying to rationalize all those times he had no balls or integrity with bullshit from game theory.
Which works only with perfectly rational actors.
Which no human (other than a psycho here and there) ever is and no group of humans can ever be.
E.g. Tea Partiers and "killing the ACA, which at this point is little more than an old campaign platform that has little bearing on the current issues that the country faces".

Comment It's based on a faulty premise... (Score 1) 191 191

...that essentially, when you get down to it, all political decisions are the same.
Voting in slavery or declaring a war or a rehaul of a transportation system... same shit.
It's all just the stuff politicians do.

They act in concert with other legislators, even at the expense of their own beliefs, in order to bank capital or settle accounts.

Ergo, it is perfectly fine to give up one's own principles and voters in order to curry favor with one's peers and accumulate personal political prestige, which can then be further traded.
So, giving up one's principles to accumulate prestige, and giving up one's voters to accumulate even more...
Clearly, the only thing that matters is the prestige itself - i.e. staying in the game by keeping your seat.
Thus, political system exists solely to supply politicians with jobs and entertainment.

As for voters...
It's politics, stupid. Don't you people know that it is all the same?
Raising taxes, lowering taxes, gay marriage, voting rights, prohibition, segregation, no guns, guns for everyone, free abortions, 1 child per family, mass sterilization of men and women, secular state and a theocracy, war on this or that, war here or there, death camps and summer camps...
You just keep votin like your daddy did, ok? Good.

Comment Bullshit! (Score 4, Informative) 364 364

They literally have whole cities just lying around idle. I mean, Spain's got one, sure, but they have several. The economy never developed sufficiently to employ people in jobs that would permit them to live in developed cities in a capitalist society... so the places rot.

You are quoting gloating "China is fallin - see?" populist Daily Mail-grade articles which have little to no relevance to reality.

I.e. OMG LOOK AT THIS GHOST CITY! Silly Chinese peoples. Don't they know any thing? Their stupid, stupid brains.

Meanwhile, in reality...
It's a case of combined schadenfreude over someone's perceived failure and a situation akin to when a small turnip farmer from Lower Bumfuck comes to a BigCityTM and starts despairing at the sight of a construction yard which will surely fail cause there is no chance that 50-storey building could ever be filled with people.
He could have planted turnips there.

Ordos is actually an entire prefecture. Slightly bigger than South Carolina or Austria (86,752 km2).
Population: ~1.9 million.
Urban population: ~582,544, living in the Dongsheng District.
That region has 16% of all coal reserves in China. And a 2nd highest income-per-capita in China.
It has a textile, petrochemical, car, electricity generating and a building industry - all built on the back of all that coal.
And they are using it to rapidly urbanize the prefecture - pooling all those 1.9 million people in one place.

China is urbanizing RAPIDLY. At the rate of about 1% per year.
How much is 1% out of 1.35 billion people, yearly? About an entire Los Angeles of people looking for home, food, work, running water, electricity... and generally better living conditions than back in their village.
Year after year after year...

So, China is building entire cities from scratch and half coaxing half forcing people to move there.
Not just dropping apartment buildings or giant towers and sand islands that "someone will surely buy into" either.
Those are planned cities with built-in infrastructure (including all those "empty" parks and highways) to support hundreds of thousands of people with tens of thousands pouring yearly into Ordos alone, on a 20-year urbanization plan.
Many of those people coming in quite literally from the fields.

I asked the men where they had lived before moving to their apartments in Kangbashi. One of them, a 56-year-old man named Li Yonh Xiang, spoke up. "I lived here," he said.

Li had been born and raised just steps from the bench where he was sitting. About half of the 90-acre park had belonged to his family; the government bought the land in 2000. "When we were peasants, we lived according to the weather," Li said. "Now I live in a heated building with six floors. The city is very nice. There are many cars and buildings, but the air is very clean."

By stick and by carrot both.

China's urbanization program has been forced into motion by a fiscal policy that all but demands local cities expand to remain economically solvent. According to the World Bank, China's cities must fend for 80 percent of their expenses while only receiving 40 percent of the country's tax revenue, so land sales are often used to make up the difference.

Land is bought by cities at the low rural rate, rezoned as urban, and then sold to developers at the high urban construction land rate. The profits are huge.
One of the main ways that large-scale new areas are stimulated is through the building of university towns
Another strategy in bigger cities is to build a central business district and then force its occupation by movement of the headquarters and offices of state-owned banks and other businesses...
A third strategy for sparking a population in a new area is to move in government offices and offer housing subsides and incentives to the officials and workers to get them to follow their job. Move the feeding trough to get the cows to follow.

And it works.

Some of China's most notorious ghost cities have been attracting considerable numbers of residents, according to a report by Standard Chartered. From 2012 to 2014, they found that Zhengdong New District's occupancy rate doubled, while the population of Zhenjiang's Dantu quadrupled, and houses in Changzhou's Wujin district grew from 20 percent to 50 percent inhabited.

These are not ghost or idle or rotting cities.
This is centralized government foreseeing urbanization.
Cause it's not like hundreds of millions of Chinese will suddenly decide to give up on moving towards a better life in a city and fuck off to live in a forest or in a hut in the desert.
Humans gravitate towards cities. Period.

Foreseeing HUGE urbanization one way or another they are choosing to control how and where to urbanize.
Preemptively guiding it towards sustainable areas by forcing local governments to forgo on profit from gambling on land value while waiting to sell living and commercial space to the highest bidder.
Thus avoiding future overcrowded cities, built on unsustainable resources, with overpriced housing, high crime rates, inadequate health and education resources etc. etc.

Comment ...MORE prevalent than assumed. Maybe... (Score 2) 184 184

From TFA:

A recent study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at UCSF and an entrepreneur as well, was one of the first of its kind to link higher rates of mental health issues to entrepreneurship.

Of the 242 entrepreneurs surveyed, 49% reported having a mental-health condition. Depression was the No. 1 reported condition among them and was present in 30% of all entrepreneurs, followed by ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27%). That's a much higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed.

More surprising was the incidence of mental health in the families of entrepreneurs: 72% said they either had mental-health problems themselves or in their immediate family.

A founder who has no history of mental illness from a family with no history either "is the exception, not the rule," Freeman said.

Also, from the study mentioned:

Little is known about mental health conditions among the families of entrepreneurs. Of some relevance, though, is the fact that previous research has shown that first and second-degree family members of bipolar probands are high achievers across several domains that are important for entrepreneurship. Higier and her colleagues found that when compared to bipolar probands and normal controls, the unaffected identical twins of people with bipolar disorder demonstrate superior cognitive and interpersonal traits that would seem highly important for entrepreneurship, including enhanced social ease, confidence, assertiveness, intelligence, verbal learning, verbal fluency, extraversion, sociability, optimism, and resilience [89].

Coryell et al. found that the first-degree relatives of bipolar probands, including relatives with bipolar spectrum conditions, had significantly higher educational and occupational achievement than the close family members of people with other mental health conditions [72]. Other studies conducted over the last 100 years have reached similar conclusions [73, 74, 76, 90-92].
Creativity and innovativeness are foundational aptitudes of entrepreneurs. The close family members of bipolar probands have been shown to have high levels of creativity [23, 68]. First-degree relatives of people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, and autism have been shown to be overrepresented in the scientific and artistic occupations [66]. Male relatives of people with schizophrenia were shown to be overrepresented in a listing of prominent people [93].

Also, ALSO, from the study:

Reviewed in conjunction with the results displayed Figure 1, 72% of the entrepreneurs in this sample either reported a personal mental health history (49%) or were asymptomatic yet reported a family mental health history (23%). By contrast, 48% of the comparison participants in this sample reported a personal mental health history (32%) or were asymptomatic yet reported a family mental health history (16%).

There IS also a PRETTY BIG issue with it being a self-reporting study and with the composition and the design of the control group.

Control was created by surveying "76 MBA student and faculty pool participants, and 149 psychology students", then mixing those participants with self-reported "entrepreneurs".
Then, out of the total sum of 335 participants (meaning that 110 were actually pooled from "actual entrepreneurs") - 93 participants were declared as control because they answered "no" to the following question: "Have you ever been self-employed, a business founder, or a business co-founder (including non-profit businesses)?"

There are more psych and MBA students (132) among the "entrepreneurs" then "actual entrepreneurs" (110).
So all those mental health numbers may be coming from self-diagnosing psych students.
Which would kinda explain the fact that HALF OF THE CONTROL HAS A HISTORY OF MENTAL ISSUES AS WELL.

Comment Yeah? How hospitable were Tunisians? (Score 2) 359 359

Whether Greece makes a "little" money on tourism or a "lot" of money on tourism is a function of how hospitable it is to visitors. If the country as a whole makes it a priority to be very nice and welcoming to foreigners, they stand to reap a lot more in tourist spending than if they take tourism for granted or, worse, go out of their way to make tourists feel unwelcome.

You can make the country hospitable up the wazoo, all it takes is ONE dickhead with an AK to fuck it all up.
Or one missing child.
Or a drowned one.
Or a rainy season.
Or a global economic crisis.
Or simply a fashion trend.

Tourism is a nice bonus and a source of foreign currency, but you can't run a country on tertiary sector alone - unless you are willing to be permanently in debt or permanently poor OR to end up exactly where Greece is now. Both poor and in debt.
Cause there is hardly a more literal way of signing off one's own economic security on "hope and prayer" than resting it on good graces of fickle foreigners bored with their everyday existence back home.

On top of it, to a small country, tourism is toxic.
It artificially raises the property value to unrealistic levels, prices skyrocket and it overflows the local services with people who don't pay for those services.
And you can't just tax them cause you don't want to scare them off or simply cause you can't properly charge for things like an increased burden on the environment or water supply.
Or police - which will inevitably become corrupt first time that either local or governmental coffers go empty and they either get told to "skin" the foreigners or to let them slide.
And corruption is again something that spreads across the entire society.

On top of that, it creates conditions where country's youth will spend their most productive years SERVING instead of studying.
And since the prices are up, when they age out of serving drinks to fat tourists, they won't have a home of their own, they won't have an education - so they end up unemployed.

Which is where Greece was going with their long term unemployment rising (with youth unemployment always staying lower while following a more jagged, seasonal, curve) until the introduction of the Euro brought it down - through heavy borrowing which provided money for make-work jobs.
People who were unemployed for decades got jobs. Yay!
Just before the shit hit the fan they were running the lowest long term unemployment in last two decades, while the wages kept going up.

As the debt kept climbing up as well.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen