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Journal Journal: Capsule summary of China versus the US

[From a discussion elsewhere...]

While I agree with you about some parts of what you said, I think your understanding of the Russians and the Chinese is flawed, both at the individual and at the governmental level. You're looking at some of the right issues, but I think you are seeing them in a funny or even misleading way.

The primary focus of the Chinese government is transitioning the entire country to middle class status along the lines of what Japan did after America sent the "black ships" to open the country. They have a fixation on economic growth, and have been doing a pretty impressive job of growing, but there are strains involved and in some areas they are reaching painful limits. From that perspective, I think they may see Trump as a golden opportunity to blame America for their own problems. In other words, they can try to focus the legitimate anger and dissatisfaction of their citizens outward towards Trump rather than letting it build against their government.

The Russian situation is also different from your depiction, but I'll just recommend the book "Putin's Kleptocracy" as one good source for more information. Instead I want to focus on education, the other topic you mentioned. Perhaps I'm just projecting too much from my own experiences, but...

"Good education" is NOT obedience training. Most governments have that preference, but America's education system moved strongly in that direction beginning in the '80s. I suggest that you read up on William Bennett, Reagan's Secretary of Education and now a Trump supporter. America's public education system was divided and conquered in the worst Caesarean tradition, and though there is a tiny division of good public schools, most of them are in the other division, terrible obedience schools you wouldn't send your dog to.

"Here boy (or girl)! Memorize this trivia and we'll give you a doggy treat and a lifetime of docile wage slavery (or actual incarceration)"

Now Trump is attempting to divide and conquer the entire population. Great sadness.

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Journal Journal: "All your attention are belong to us [the google]" 2

Why does it seem like the "news" is dominated by "fake" or "stupid" in various ways? Oh yeah. I seem to have forgotten where the fish started rotting...

The "Don't be evil" fantasy at the google died long ago. I'm pretty sure you just didn't notice until "the last year", and the minor question is "What blinded you?" Maybe your dreams of getting hired by the google died?

The google's primary motto has become "All your attention are belong to us so we can sell more advertising as we [the google] seek perfection defined by infinite profit." This is actually tightly linked to the evolution of the google's mission statement. Turned out that all of the world's information was too overwhelming and the metric of utility was too unclear. They fixed that by focusing on making the advertisers' ads the highest priority information and using profit as the primary metric of utility. Which finally leads us to the religious part of it:

"There is no gawd but profit, and Apple, Gilead, Google, Exxon, and some giant gamblers are profit's prophets."

That's based on Fortune's ranking, and I'm grouping banks, speculators, and money changers as "gamblers". Other sources define "profits" slightly differently and come up with different lists. I just saw one with Exxon higher up and Samsung included. Plus the prophets change over time.

I've come to believe that a problem without a solution is meaningless. Since I can prove that the so-called "problem" of "more profit" has no solution, I reject it. The proof is simple. There are infinite numbers, therefore there is no maximum profit. If you want a more technical proof, you can use any of the infinite set proofs. Personally I like the infinite prime numbers.

I think it would be better if our economic system were organized around two different principles: (1) Increasing freedom, and (2) Improving the use of our limited time. As a result of practicing those principles, I don't have the money to bribe the cheapest politicians to rig the rules of the game in favor of larger profits. In contrast, the google has become a YUGE lobbyist.

You don't want to get me started on fake individuals. Suffice it to say that corporations are NOT human beings.

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Journal Journal: Why is Slashdot's link color so fail? 4

Why does it need to be so damned hard to tell the difference between a visited and non-visited link on Slashdot? I have color-calibrated my display, so it's not me.

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Journal Journal: That was a good drunken slashdotting 2

Went to Fortuna for the beer fest, which was pretty good except that I didn't have any beer there which I liked much which I hadn't had before. Found out that, shock amazement, Hoparillo became Hop-Trio due to threat of lawsuit by a Texan brewery which might have been in or had a beer named Amarillo. (Hello Texas, I hope you don't get your asses kicked too bad, some of you are with me always.) Anyway, most of my comments got up-modded. I'm certainly going to combine beer with Slashdot a lot more.

A big part of the formula had to be that I was using my phone, though, and less is more. So with that thought in mind,

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Journal Journal: Possession (of your PI) is nine points of the law 1

Possession of your Personal Information is still nine points of the law

Repeating the obvious seems increasingly pointless, but: Unless we are given control over our personal information, then freedom becomes meaningless. With sufficient personal information about you I can force you or prevent you from doing anything. It's not just the bad stuff that can be used as a sticks to threaten you, but even the good stuff that can be used as carrots to manipulate you. (Check my sig.)

Easier to make the example clear by personifying it, so: Controlling your personal information means deciding WHERE it is stored, WHO has access to it, WHAT they can do with it, and WHEN they have to erase any working copies. Oh yeah. It also includes knowing WHAT the personal information is.

As the current system of corporate cancerism (not to be confused with extinct capitalism) has developed, your personal information belongs to any giant corporation that has figured out some way to collect it. Of course that information is incredibly valuable, but the frightening parts are (1) There is no gawd but profit, and Apple, Exxon, Google, and some big banks are profit's prophets, and (2) The highest RoI is bribing cheap politicians to implement "government of the corporations, by the lawyers, for the richest 0.1%".

Old stuff. New aspect involves how this should interface with your public reputation. I think that PUBLIC information is also being distorted and abused when it could be aggregated and displayed in a way that would (1) Help you understand who you should pay attention to, and (2) Help you become a better person.

My own focus on (1) is in terms of saving my time. I'd prefer to spend as much as possible with good people. Not only would I prefer not to see people with negative reputations, but I'd actually prefer to filter on a relative basis in terms of people who are clearly much better than me. Unfortunately, in accord with (2), that's not saying much. Too much room for improvement, and it doesn't help to just avoid mirrors.

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Journal Journal: The Dark Side of the Moon

(Photo of the "waves" and an unborked version is here)
        Iâ(TM)d been eagerly looking forward to this event since I first heard about itâ"Illinois was going to see its second total solar eclipse in its history as a state, and no one alive had ever seen an Illinois total eclipse. It happened in 1869 and totality passed right through Springfield, the stateâ(TM)s capital. Then, as now, people were very excited.
        I heard more and more about it, like totality was passing through Carbondale. Carbondale is about a hundred miles from St. Louis, which is about a hundred miles from Springfield. Ozzy Osbourne was slated to hold a concert in a tiny town thirty miles from Carbondale, and play Bark at the Moon during totality.
        I was stoked; it was reported that the stars come out during totality and there are other strange things, like wavy lines on the ground that scientists couldnâ(TM)t explain.
        At first I was planning to meet my daughter Patty, who lives in Cincinnati, in Carbondale, but Carbondale was where everyone was talking about. It was going to be a madhouse, I was sure, and decided to visit my mom in Bellville the day before, a Sunday, then go to my friend Mikeâ(TM)s in Columbia to cook pork on his Weber and drink beer. I planned on crashing on his couch and heading south early the next morning.
        Then I found NASAâ(TM)s interactive eclipse map. Mom and Mike were right on the edge of totality, and the center of totality passed right through Prairie du Rocher, about thirty miles or so south of Mikeâ(TM)s house. Patty watched from the Shawnee National Forest, camping there the night before.
        I set out south Sunday morning, and traffic was thick. However, it always is on the weekends, which is why I usually visit during the week. As is my usual habit I set the cruise control to five miles under the limit to make for a stressless drive. But I knew traffic was going to be worse the next day.
        I visited my mom in Bellville, then headed to Mikeâ(TM)s, where we grilled pork steaks (well, he did) and we drank beer and bullshitted. I crashed on his couch, as planned.
        Patty texted me, excited that they had found eclipse glasses for ten bucks apiece. She was thrilled. I thought she had been ripped off, as Mikeâ(TM)s wife had five pairs she had picked up at the library for free. I just heard today when I picked up tacos at George Rankâ(TM)s that they were selling them on the internet for $150!
        Iâ(TM)d planned on not using the glasses, not trusting them; there are some really evil people in the world who donâ(TM)t mind blinding people for money, or even killing them. I wound up looking through them once or twice, anyway.
        Monday morning we got up and drank coffee, and headed south on Bluff Road for the middle of the umbra, the part of the shadow that is in totality.
        Bluff road is a little-used two lane highway that you can often travel without seeing another vehicle. We turned on to Bluff Road, and joined a parade of cars and truck headed for the best view. Traffic moved briskly, at the various speed limits on the way. It took about forty five minutes.
        On the way we saw a roadside stand selling eclipse glasses for twenty bucks apiece. Mike cursed the ripping off they were doing; theyâ(TM)d gotten theirs for free from the public library, donated by a veteranâ(TM)s club. It was indeed a ripoff, because it would have probably cost less than a penny apiece to make them. But better than a hundred and fifty, at least.
        I wished Mike had driven rather than me, because there was some enchanting scenery on the way, as well as an eagleâ(TM)s nest. The magic was beginning hours before the sun and moon met.
        Mike has a grandson who lives there, and we had a hard time finding the address of the house in the tiny town. His wife had told him that if he asked google for the address on Bluff Road it would lead to the wrong house, as his address was Bluff Street.
        Stupid Google kept giving directions to the address on Bluff Road, and it was even more maddening because we were surrounded by bluffs and the cell signals were nonexistent to very weak. Weâ(TM)d brought no refreshments, so stopped at a restaurant for soft drinks and directions to bluff street.
        When we got out of the car, the very humid heat was oppressive. The place was packed, inside and out. We had a hard time finding a parking spot. We were informed that the streets were the same; Bluff Road became Bluff Street for a while.
        His grandson lived in a house trailer right up against the bluff. We got out and it was even hotter and more humid. We went in, and it was perhaps five or ten degrees less hot than outside; the trailer had only a single one-room air conditioner. Every time I went outside, the heat started getting to me. My hands shook and I could barely walk; I was starting to suffer from heat exhaustion. Mike and his very young great granddaughter went up the hill exploring.
        âoeThereâ(TM)s a cave up here!â Mike yelled down to me, so I staggered up the hill. There was a cool breeze coming out of the cave.
        It wasnâ(TM)t cool enough, so I got in the car and started it and blasted the air conditioning. It really helped, and I was in the car several times before the eclipse started.
        I saw something Iâ(TM)d not seen since I was a kidâ"a toad. Then another one. This hellishly hot day was really cool!
        Finally, some time between twelve thirty and one it started. I finally looked through the glasses once, and afterward made a pinhole viewer out of my fist. When the sun was a crescent, I saw the âoewavy linesâ science couldnâ(TM)t explain and I had no trouble at all explaining them. It was the multiple crescents moving around the gravel. The tree was causing multiple pinhole viewers. The way the breeze moved the leaves did look like wavy lines on the ground as the crescents moved around the gravel.
        There were clouds which sometimes covered the sun, and I feared the clouds would cover it during totality, but they didnâ(TM)t. I hear clouds occluded the totality in Carbondale. I hope they didnâ(TM)t cover the sun in the forest where Patty was.
        Iâ(TM)d brought my big tablet, thinking I could use its front-facing camera to watch the eclipse on it and maybe make movies, but I feared the glare on the screen might harm my eyes, so that was out. I tried to take a photo with my phone, and I got a picture, but it didnâ(TM)t show the sun as a crescent. The only halfway decent photo was the tree shadows when it was still partial.
        Then the sky gradually changed colors for about ten minutes, after which it took seconds for it to become dark and for all the streetlights to come on, and the screams and cheers and applause of the thousands of people in town for the sight were very loud, from half a mile away. Mike kept saying âoeWow! Man, thatâ(TM)s the neatest thing Iâ(TM)ve ever seen in my life!â Nobody could help but agree.
        It did get very dark, about like under a full moon. But I saw no stars, although a friend who was in a different spot in totality told me he saw two or three stars right by the corona, which I only glanced at. Around the corona it was indeed pitch black. but the horizons were like dusk. Obviously light was being reflected from places that werenâ(TM)t in totality. Itâ(TM)s hard to explain what it looked like.
        Darkness lasted maybe two minutes, give or take a few seconds. I was way too busy taking it in for photos, and it was too dark for my phoneâ(TM)s camera to work without a flash, anyway. I should have bought film and brought my Canon 35mm SLR Iâ(TM)d bought half a century ago. Yes, film is coming back. They now sell and develop it again at Walgreenâ(TM)s.
        When it was over I was again in distress from the heat, then we headed back to his house. Mike, who knew where we were going and I didnâ(TM)t, was too busy watching the scenery to see a turn we needed to take. We got all the way to Red Bud before realizing our mistake, and highway three was in gridlock. We didnâ(TM)t want to go that way, anyway, and turned back around.
        The little-used Bluff road was full, but traffic was moving at a reasonable pace. Iâ(TM)d planned on crossing the river for cheaper gasoline, but was still heat-distressed and decided not to. We went to his house, where I drank a copious amount of water, and we ate leftover pork steaks, but eating was making me hot. They say âoestarve a fever, feed a chillâ and the reason is that eating will warm you up, unless itâ(TM)s ice cream.
        I left Mikeâ(TM)s about two, planning to stop by Momâ(TM)s house on the way home, and changed my mind as soon as I got on I-255. Traffic was at a crawl. The normally ten or fifteen minute trip to Bellville took nearly an hour. I drove right past her exit, because I could see this was going to be a long drive and I didnâ(TM)t want to get home after dark.
        Not once did the speedometer measure over 30 mph on 255. Getting off 255 to I-55 is a nightmare in normal traffic because of the idiotic interchange design, so I decided to bypass it and take Collinsville Road to I-55. Traffic was heavy, but moving briskly, far faster than the interstate. I stopped for gas and a soda and got on I-55. I was really glad Iâ(TM)d bypassed a bit, probably saved myself half an hour or even more.
        Iâ(TM)ve never seen traffic that heavy outside Chicago in my life, and never saw traffic that heavy that stretched that far. My phone rang three times before I reached a rest stop, just past the I-70 interchange. I had to pee, I had to get my tortuously aching back out of that car, and I wanted to see who was trying to call. I figured it was my mom, who Iâ(TM)d told Iâ(TM)d probably visit again on my way home.
        Two of the calls were from her, worried about me, and I ignored the other one, because I donâ(TM)t answer calls without attached names. If youâ(TM)re not a spammer, scammer, or pollster you can leave a message and Iâ(TM)ll call you back and add your number to my address book.
        Iâ(TM)ve never seen an interstate rest area so crowded. Cars parked where they didnâ(TM)t normally, and so did I. This wasnâ(TM)t a normal day. I reassured Mom, walked quite a long way to the rest room, and walked back and resumed the arduous journey.
        Four and a half hours after leaving Mikeâ(TM)s Iâ(TM)d traveled fifty miles. Past Staunton I had it up to 55mph for a short time, and hit sixty past Mount Olive. Five miles from Litchfield, traffic was stopped again.
        Past Litchfield traffic thinned somewhat, and you could usually do forty, but it was almost in Springfield before anyone could do the speed limit. There was simply far, far more traffic than that highway was designed to handle.
        Which makes me wonder how bad it will be if a nuclear missile is headed to a major city whose occupants have only half an hour to escape.
        The trip was finally over about eight, just as it was getting dark. It had been a seven hour journey with an average speed of 14.3 mph. But it was well worth it! Iâ(TM)m really looking forward to the one in 2024.

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Journal Journal: Dealing with nut cases (and I guess I've still :got it") 13

In the last couple of weeks, 3 of my sisters, a neighbor, the therapist helping me explore job options for low vision work, and a couple of other people have told me that I've got to learn to say "No" more often. Not only was I running myself ragged volunteering, but I already knew I should have said no to a former co-worker who needed a place for him and his mother to stay.

They're both paranoid, and delusional, but I'll concentrate on him. I had told him years ago that if he didn't get professional help he'd be a 40-year-old virgin, and sure enough, he didn't, and I was right. He has always lived with his mother in what can only be called a co-dependent relationship that has mutated into elder abuse. When I found out that his mother was paying all the rent where they were staying ($1,400 a month, basically her entire pension) because he wanted to stay close to work, I immediately went from "this guy is fucked up" to "this guy is beneath contempt."

BTW, they don't need a 7-room place. No couch to sit on to watch TV, because no TV. No kitchen table and chairs. A cheap 120-volt stove (no wonder his mother didn't know how to fry an egg). Plastic cups. A few small folding tables like you'd set in front of the TV to eat off of to hold 2 computers. Twin beds (fortunately in separate rooms now - they weren't always). But with his mother stuck spending all her money on rent, she's dependent on what he buys, and he's a cheap bastard. He seems to think that grapes and soda crackers is an okay supper. She is the same, except that the times I brought her to the diner (she's obviously been socially isolated for the last decade at least) she really cleaned off her plate. I feel sorry for her. Like too many people approaching their 70s, they're vulnerable to the predations of their children. Especially since in their folie à deux, he really cranks her up.

His latest paranoid delusion is that his landlord, who lives downstairs, is using the sound of their footsteps to track them from room to room, moving an infra-sound projector that emits inaudible sound waves that are causing ear pain. In another building, it was another tenant's air conditioner, and the place before that, mold and noise. Multiple specialists have told him there's nothing wrong with his ears, so it's kind of obvious that his problem is between the ears. He's so paranoid that he glued the bottom flaps of his cardboard moving boxes shut "so that the movers couldn't get into them", so he has a room devoted just to uncollapsible moving boxes. Even a decade ago, he would insist on taking his backpack to the washroom with him because he didn't trust anyone, even though everyone else left their personal laptops behind when going for a snack, to eat, or to pee. He would cover his mouse with 2 layers of kleenex (germaphobe) just in case anyone else touched it. Oh, and he's anorexic. Doesn't trust most food. After a couple of decades, not only does he look like he has AIDS, but he's permanently damaged his skeletal musculature - he walks like an 80-year-old, with an 80-year-old's posture.

Things came to a head Sunday night. I had just entered the bathroom when he tried to squeeze in by me. I told him I was there first and he would have to wait. He kept on trying, so I pushed him with one hand - and even though it wasn't a hard push, he kind of went flying into the hallway's opposite wall. He's a real bag of bones with zero muscle tone.

I decided that this weekend would be his last. But first, I told him Sunday morning that he owed me money for him and his mom staying here. He said he'd bring it Monday, but snuck in real late Monday, left really early Tuesday, came back really late Tuesday night, and they were both gone Wednesday by 6 am. Problem solved, but I should have stuck to my guns in the first place - the last time he puled his nonsense, I told him never to contact me unless he's seen a psychiatrist, but of course paranoid people only see that as trying to exert control over them. And cash in advance. D'uh!

More good news. Not only are the crazies gone, but there's a Jack Russel at my feet. His owner asked me to baby sit him for a weekend, and then asked me if I wanted to adopt him. He was quite the handful the first week, but he's settled down nicely - he now walks properly on a leash, stopped humping everything in sight or trying to mark things. He's become really attached to me, following me everywhere. There were some problems with Jack, the little dog, but Jack put him in his place so it's all good.

But boy, does he crave attention, and lots of walking.

It's while I was walking the two of them that a guy almost half my age stopped to talk to me, asked me if I was single, and then asked for my phone number - several times. I've never looked my age, but I guess the increased estrogen is enhancing the desired effect.

My life - never boring.

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Journal Journal: Public reputation and two sides 5

[From a discussion of an Android app.]

Or perhaps you prefer #PresidentTweety's "many sides"? Let me address both:

Two sides: Good versus non-good

Many sides: Good versus bad versus unknown

Now how does that apply to apps on Google Play? What unifies that application with discussions on Slashdot?

If people knew the reputation of the app, then good people would not choose to download or use apps with bad reputations. There are actually two obvious ways that this applies to Android apps. One is the personal reputation of the developers, and the other is the reputation of the financial model supporting the app. The financial model is easier to handle, and should be displayed on a "financial model" tab in the description of the app, which would include the google-side evaluation of the developer's description of the financial model. (In the app described in this article, the honest financial model would probably be something like "philanthropy of wealthy and reactionary conservatives to support propaganda campaigns".)

If people know the reputation of the authors of comments, then good people could choose not to read comments from people with bad reputations. This ties back to the personal reputation of the developers of an app.

People should have the freedom to decide. For example, some people might want to read comments from people with unknown reputations. I would not, but there are actually certain kinds of comments I might be willing to read from certain kinds of people with certain kinds of bad reputations. As things stand now, those freedoms of choice are being suppressed because the public reputations are ignored even though they are in theory right out there in public.

Time to close with one of my old jokes: Details available upon polite request. It shouldn't be a joke these days, but there was a time when the "collective mind" of Slashdot was not so narrow and closed. Long ago.


Journal Journal: Trumps' Ghostwriter Predicts The President Will Resign Soon 14

Trump's presidency is effectively over. Would be amazed if he survives till the end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner

This from the man who ghostwrote "The Art of the Deal" for Trump.

Personally I still expect that Trump will find a way to take down Pence before he himself leaves, just to be vindictive. He'll justify it to himself under the guise of the idea that Pence is vastly more experienced in politics and could have offered advice that could have helped him avoid this shitstorm. Ultimately though it was pretty clear Trump never wanted Pence as VP, so I expect he'll do what he can to keep him from becoming POTUS - even if he has to blow up the place to do it. Whether that leads to President Paul Ryan (terrifying thought) or something else we'll have to see.

Schwartz makes another interesting claim in a tweet that I would say missed the mark though:

The circle is closing at blinding speed. Trump is going to resign and declare victory before Mueller and Congress leave him no choice

Trump already won. Not the presidency (which of course he lost by several million votes) but he won in a different way. His security budget - and the budget for security for his family and beyond - just plummeted to exactly zero dollars for the rest of all their lives. His grandkids will get secret service protection, 24x7, around the world, until they die. That is a huge win for the Trump family and they'll be entitled to it regardless of when the administration blows up. We'll have secret service guarding Trump Tower, Mar-a-lago, and prominent Trump properties around the country for the rest of time as well. You can't put a price on that.

I did post this article as a submission to the front page (without my editorializations) but of course there is pretty well zero chance it will make it.


Journal Journal: And Jonah Goldberg Still Won't Admit He's Wrong...

After making millions on the bullshit text "Liberal Fascism", Mr. Goldberg is now faced with the reality that the rest of the world already knew - fascism is a subset of the right, not the left. A large number of self-proclaimed fascists just paraded with the AltRight in proud displays of their membership in that sect.

The only thing he got right is the fact that there are indeed fascists in this country, he just has no idea what fascism actually means or entails. I expect this means he will be offered a position in the white house soon, once Trump is forced to ax one of the Stephens.
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Journal Journal: Proof that those who attack transsexuals are often repressed gay men.

The "repressed gay men hate transsexuals" has been proven in various court cases, but it's still a bit jarring to find it repeated in my face.

There's a guy who for several years made a habit of loudly insulting me in public. One day, he went too far - "Hey, are you like those shemales on Jerry Springer?" He was about 30 feet away when he shouted it. Pissed me right off, so I went up to him and said "You ever do that again and I'll call the cops and have you arrested for sexual harassment*. Do you really want to go around the rest of your life being on the sex offenders registry?"

He continued to talk against me behind my back. But at least not to my face.

One day I saw him walking along with a bicycle wheel, and asked him what he was doing. He said he was going to the garage to get a flat fixed, so I told him to wait and I'd fix it for free (our old man had taught me and my sisters to fix flats using nothing more than 3 tablespoons and a patch kit so he wouldn't have to over and over again).

It was after this that we ended up talking about the biological basis of transsexuality, and how transitioning to the other sex isn't a choice - it's what you realize you have to do when you have run out of choices to avoid the inevitable. How it's much better to live as who you are, and not what other people expect or demand you be, because you'll never please everyone anyway, and why should you? And how liberating it is.

So fast forward 5 years later, to last night. I'm walking my dogs (I babysat a Jack Russell last weekend and the woman was so amazed at how much calmer and happier he was that she asked me to adopt it) and he pulled up on his bike. He wanted to thank me for changing his life. What I had said had sunk in, and the next day he decided to tell his parents (and a few others) that he was pretty sure he was really gay, not straight. Later that very same day he went online and found a boyfriend, and they're still together.

So that cliché has a lot of the truth behind it. Repressed gay men do beat up on transsexual women, and them coming to terms with their sexual orientation makes the hate go away.

Please keep that in mind next time you see me getting slagged for being me - there's lots of truth in the conventional wisdom, and there are way too many repressed people out there looking for what they think is an easy target to make them feel superior, or at least distract them from their own issues, or turn their self-loathing against others..

I'll do my part by reminding them of what they're running away from :-)

* Yes, it's considered sexual harassment here - as well it should be. Any form of harassment based on sex qualifies. As one judge remarked, "if harassing someone because they used to be the other sex doesn't qualify as harassment based on sex, what does?" Transsexuals are a protected minority at both the provincial (for decades) and federal level (June 18th), unlike the USA.

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Journal Journal: Starting a Job Search 7

Looking for sysadm or auto electrical work, willing to tone down online rhetoric if it's a dealbreaker

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Journal Journal: Do good ends justify stupid means? 16

If Trump defeats Kim, will that make it okay for him to have naively gambled with other people's lives?

On the one hand, getting rid of Kim Jong-un's insane dictatorship would surely be a great thing. The North Korean people have a whole lot of healing to do.

On the other hand, Trump is gambling with OTHER people's lives and money. Any costs are coming out of taxpayers' pockets, which infamously does NOT include #PresidentTweety. Much worse is that any lives lost will not be his own. If he bungles "the game" badly enough, that could be MILLIONS of human beings. I think it's even worse that many of Trump's most enthusiastic supporters would dismiss them as little yellow runts (or worse) that don't even count.

On the third hand, going against little Kim could be a smart bet if the Donald had carefully and deeply studied his opponent, but there is no evidence that he has or that he wants to do so. Actually, the evidence is even worse than that, indicating that Trump is not even capable of deep thinking and careful study. It appears that he whipped up this fresh crisis without even discussing things with "his" wise and experienced generals.

More hands to hand, but I think that's enough for now. Whatever happens, we already know that Trump is going to claim 1000% of the credit if things go well and accept 0% of the blame if they don't.

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Journal Journal: "Failure to launch" has become a lifestyle, and that's not good

Just one example of adults who don't want to grow up:

Moving out of the family home to go it alone is usually a necessary rite of passage for most millennials. But if you have to do it before youâ(TM)re ready - if you get nudged out of the nest rather than getting the option to fly - well, it kind of dulls the excitement a little bit.

If someone had predicted 10 years ago that by 24 Iâ(TM)d be renting in a house with a bunch of strangers while my old, comfy bedroom six miles away sat completely empty and all my friends stayed at home, I would have said that scenario didnâ(TM)t make any sense. My adolescent plan was to live-in; to drain the food supplies and hog the television â" along with my brother â" so we could save money after graduating.

The expectation when I turned 18 was that I would continue my education, but work weekends and evenings to pay for it and get my own place, which I did. And the utilities, And clothes. And transportation. In other words, take responsibility for my life as an adult. I wasn't the only one who did this - my next 3 sisters also moved out on their own in their teens. We couldn't wait to actually be free - even though it meant lots of hard work.

And now we see a surfeit of 30-something and 40-somethings, still virgins, still living with mom, still spending their free time on the internet or playing video games because anything else is too threatening. The same characteristics that make tech a safe choice (no need for social skills, safely isolated from the general public, a culture of sublimating sadness with pissing contests and electronic toys) - well, what are they going to do when mom dies or gets placed in a long-term care facility? Or finds somebody else they want to make a life with and finally puts their foot down and (more than reasonably) says "grow the fuck up and get the hell out?"

They have no real-life skills. They haven't got the ability to break out of their isolation, or they already would have. They haven't developed the resilience to overcome a major life screw-up on their own, or in many cases even how to cook or shop for groceries ... or how to work the stove or washing machine.

Those in such situations for a prolonged period of time end up interpreting events in a different way than the rest of us. With time, it can pass the boundary of what we call "delusional." I've seen how they are now paranoid, germaphobic, refuse to eat a normal diet, become anorexic, friendless (except for their "best friend mom" who they have always lived with in a co-dependent relationship characterized by mutual isolation from everyone else), and rather than trying to get help with their psychological problems insist that their life is somehow a mark of superiority, that there is nothing wrong with them, there really are people following them and targeting them for misery using infrasound projectors and their co-workers cannot be trusted and there really is something wrong with their ears causing pain even though years of tests with specialists have found absolutely nothing wrong.

This 24-year-old is lucky - events have forced her to develop the necessary independence while she's still young enough to adapt. Someone in their 30's 40's or later? They never will. And when mom dies or goes into a home and can no longer pay the rent for both of them, they will become a 50-year-old virgin who will fully retreat into their paranoid delusions. It's always easier to blame someone (or everyone) else if that's all you've ever done.

I know too many people who are in their 30s and 40s who are still living with mom, whose evenings and weekends are filled with internet and video games (yes, one of them is a 40-yer-old virgin - I warned him 10 years ago to get help or this would be the end result because his paranoia was driving everyone else in the office nuts) and seeing every event, no matter how random, as justifying their paranoia.

I would say that most people who fail to launch have more than just an introverted personality - they're fearful of rejection - even though they spend so much time anticipating how every possible outcome of an event can be a sign of rejection, and then when it happens, "see - I told you so" - even when it's obvious to any outsider that it was either a coincidence or their behaviour became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

What would happen if people couldn't retreat into "safe" careers with other similar social misfits, such as tech? Or if people couldn't easily exchange (though they aren't really replacing) social contact with "social" media and video games?

Over the next 20 years, when tech becomes less and less of a viable career, where will these people go? I suspect they will fully retreat from reality. It's easier to play a game than go meet people (and certainly easier than getting a personality transplant). We worry about the future lack of jobs because of AI, but these people aren't really employable in jobs that require human interaction anyway, so the real factor that will characterize those who have jobs from those who do not will be the soft skills. The same soft skills that our smartphones and social media are destroying. "Job retraining" won't help them.

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