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Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 1) 238

by ScentCone (#48479827) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Without a long history of white police treating black people badly, a single incident would not have sparked such protests.

Without a wildly higher-than-average rate of violent crime among young black men in some areas, cops in those areas wouldn't be having to face every situation like another one in which they might get killed doing something simple like a traffic stop. And do you really think that there'd have been riots in Ferguson if the breathless media reports immediately in the wake of what happened had been reporting the observations of credible witnesses instead of the absurdly transparent lies of the criminal running buddy of the guy who had just assaulted the cop? But why did the crowds there, and social media, and some mainstream media outlets catch on fire with the obviously false narrative? Because the honest people who saw what happened were afraid of what would happen to them if they got caught telling the truth. Those witnesses weren't afraid of the cops (they went to the police as soon as they could do so quietly), they were afraid of people in their own neighborhoods.

What sparked violent protests was a bunch of deliberate BS that got trotted out in an attempt to gloss over what that 6'-4", 290 lb "sweet child" and his store robbing, warrant-out-for-him sidekick had just done. If he hadn't stood there in front of cameras and spouted a bunch of self-contradictory nonsense about Wilson shooting out the window of his cruiser, or chasing Brown down and shooting him in the back, or shooting while he was on his knees with his hands in the air and on and on about stuff that did not happen, don't you think that might have been a little different? If the people who live right there weren't so scared of guys just like him and Brown, don't you think the many witnesses who were standing right there and saw what actually happened might also have been on video, talking down the idiots? That would have been great. But they're scared - for their lives - of the very people that the cops also have to confront on a regular basis.

You're right, it's not a single incident. It's years and years of people growing absolutely terrified of the rudderless, violent young men in their own neighborhoods. And when the cameras role, those voices of reason are nowhere to be seen, because they don't want to be another statistic in the huge problem of black-on-black violence - numbers that completely dwarf even the most demonstrably real cases of some dumb cop (white or black ... black cops kill black men, too, not that you'd know that from hearing the coverage) acting rashly.

Comment: Re: Consent of the Governed (Score 1) 164

by cold fjord (#48477519) Attached to: Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

If done in a purely civilian context during peace you have an argument. However it doesn't hold up during armed conflict. It is completely lawful and reasonable to either kill or capture and detail people fighting as part of the enemy in an armed conflict. The US happens to be in that state at present. The US is not a police state.

Comment: Re:Consent of the Governed (Score 1) 164

by cold fjord (#48477501) Attached to: Judge Unseals 500+ Stingray Records

You're wrong. 90% of the people didn't want "something done about guns." That is drivel. Besides, even if they did, the 2nd Amendment provides an individual right that laws have to be consistent with or they are subject to being struck down as has been happening in a number of states and cities.

If you don't think Republicans and Democrats pursue different policies then you aren't paying attention. Even when they generally agree there are often significant differences in the details.

Let me know when you identify a member of Congress that was elected by $100 bills or just lobbyists. They still are elected the same old way: by voters.

Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 2, Insightful) 238

by ScentCone (#48473509) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

They'd be fools to do so merely on the word of a clearly hostile outsider, and even if they believe you, the perceived risk from Ebola might still be smaller than the perceived risk from social isolation.

Luckily, they (say, a village family in rural Ghana) are equipped with essentially the same meat computer your are. They are perfectly able to perceive the fact that the neighbor is dying with blood pouring out of her body, just like tens of thousands of other people just have. They are able to perceive that the ultimate social isolation is having everyone you care about die. It's nice to see you're not one of those people who thinks that a farmer in Liberia, who deals with life and death every day as he tends to livestock or hunts, isn't somehow too dim-witted to grasp cause and effect when he has the basic facts. This is about social behavior DESPITE knowing the facts.

Culture has value

Unless it's what's just killed off everyone you know. Or look at places like Ferguson, MO, where culture just decided to burn down local shops in a tantrum over reality disagreeing with an instantly concocted bogus media mythology. Culture, like the culture of castigating your neighbors for daring to go get an education or acquiring a broader vocabulary - as seen in swaths of urban culture or patches of, say, Appalachia - is often destructive, the opposite of valuable. Pious political correctness, which employees poisonous moral equivalence in the name of assuaging misplaced guilt over the fact that some cultures actually work better than others, preserves and actually perpetuates that destructiveness.

+ - Engineering Groupthink: How Polarized Opinion Works->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Harvard Business Review (5 free articles until payall warning) has an interesting article about groupthink. The authors describe a study of two focus groups. One is from classically "red state" conservative Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. A second focus group hailed from more liberal leaning Boulder, Colorado. Individually, members of each focus group were surveyed for their opinions before the groups met. Individual members (as anticipated) trended conservatively in Colorado Springs, and liberally in Boulder. Everyone was re-surveyed (anonymously and otherwise) after the groups met. After meeting with their opinionated peers, respondents opinions hardened. Conservatives answered the same surveys responded MORE conservatively, and liberals MORE liberally. When focus groups are randomized (blues and reds in proportion, in the same group), opinions become less polarized. The article discusses the effects on public policy and business decision making when groups assigned a problem to solve self-select and recruit people like themselves. Diversity leads to more intelligent decision making. Or if you are selling a specific (weaker) solution, be obnoxious to reduce participation from competitive views. Incentive-driven opinion benefits from the lack of diversity, protecting its agenda by driving away newbies who avoid trolls.

Maybe this is nothing new... the effect of co-ed dorms vs. single-sex dorms and fraternities has been studied for decades. As someone who has participated in /. for about 15 years, attracted to intelligent discourse, I notice how many mod points must today be spent on flamebait. There is still good debate, but frequently someone making an otherwise very valid counter-argument dilutes its effect with emphatic hostility and ad hominem attacks on the original poster. Is the ratio of "inciteful" to "insightful" going down? It's no way to attract women slashdotters, btw."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 0) 238

by ScentCone (#48472347) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Do you understand the average education levels in Africa? The average wage? The living conditions?

Yes, and the three countries in the worst shape (as it relates to the spread of Ebola) all have a miserable record of taking lots of external support that could be educating their people, bolstering their healthcare systems, and generally improving the lives of everyone in those countries. But because of cultural inertia and rampant corruption (you know, the people who feel entitled to skim the support cash/material personally and not do things like march out into the rougher parts of their own country to explain to the rural population that they're killing themselves with primitive rituals), those are places that can't shake off the problem.

Do you want to know who is a smug western douche? You are. "Africa" isn't a place you can talk about in sweeping terms like you just have. Your dim, uninformed vision of it as a single, monocultural place with a common level of education and sophistication is absurd (and incredibly condescending, Mr. Holier Than Thou). "The entire continent" isn't the same. Countries like Nigeria have seen cases in this outbreak, but have headed it off at the pass because the population, culture, and approach to things like this are very different there than they are in, say, Liberia.

I'll tell you what, you go to a Baptist church and tell them they need to give up a "ridiculous part of their culture". Or try it at a Mosque.

I have no trouble telling ANY group of superstitious people that what they think is ridiculous. Especially when they do things insist a capricious god is going to cure their kid's cancer, or kiss the bodies of Ebola victims, and then wander back to their own homes and, a couple of weeks later, wonder why their whole family is dying - despite a helpful aid worker risking her life to explain to them the basic facts of life and death. It's the 21st century. Billions and billions of dollars in aid flows into the countries most vulnerable to issues like this, and it gets squandered, diverted, or mis-applied because of toxic levels of corruption by comparatively educated people. They want to have a piece of that foreign aid action while also having the lazy inertia of backwards cultures that can't cope with this much human density. That sense of entitlement to both a primitive past and a piece of the largess of other countries that have moved on - it's unmistakable.

Comment: Re:Burial customs? (Score 4, Insightful) 238

by ScentCone (#48472225) Attached to: Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen

Quit being such an entitled white racist asshole with your critiques of their culture.

No, the entitled assholes are the ones who feel no reason to stop doing the very things that are spreading the disease. You're the one with the skin color obsession, everyone else is talking about what people actually do. Like laying hands on the corpse of someone who's just died of Ebola, while simultaneously asking the rest of the world to risk their lives and spend their money and time to come help ... even as they refuse to stop their idiotic, suicidal customs. That is a sense of entitlement, and a ridiculous part of a culture that simply has to stop if they want to quit spreading that disease around.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh