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Comment saving face (Score 1) 4

We can know the universe by judging actions. Is a person kind? Does a policy produce desirable results? What actually happened? This sort of knowledge equips minds to be better at predicting how reality will be in the future. Alternatively, we can ignore the universe of actions and seek knowledge in the superficial. Did a person smile at me just the way I like? Does a policymaker say the word "victory" with sufficient frequency? What irrational sentiments do events instill in me? This approach to seeking knowledge leaves minds ill-equipped to understand reality and anticipate the future.

It is true that the political theater of eye-rolling and name-calling is a bipartisan phenomenon. However, it is just as true that we live in times when right-wing narratives are uniquely dominated by superficiality and deception -- uniquely dependent his theater for sustenance. 90% of the pundits presently expressing disdain for immigration reform and misrepresenting a path to citizenship that involves pleading guilty to a crime and paying a substantial penalty as "amnesty" could be seen in years past rolling their eyes at the notion that Hans Blix's UN inspection teams conducted thorough and unfettered inspections of Iraq supporting the conclusion that Saddam Hussein made no effort to violate the UN ban against weapons of mass destruction. These deceptions are not anomalous. They are standard operating procedure for opinion hosts (and plenty of "news" personnel) employed by Fox.

Wrong is wrong. Sneering at the people who are correct should never carry more weight than actually being correct. In fact, being spectacularly and repeatedly wrong about matters of great importance ought to be reason enough to lose any audience one might have cultivated for listening to commentary about matters of great importance. If our entire society were full of deep thinkers blessed with great personal integrity, outcomes might reflect that imperative. The continued popularity of Fox News and the broader panorama of partisan house organs engaged in so much willful prevarication suggests our society is presently full of something else. Yet must we remain afflicted with this particular weakness?

We are all animals. Certainly a subset of the noises we make are more interesting than typical animal sounds. Certainly a subset of the actions we take are more constructive than typical animal behaviors. When we judge a person entirely by non-verbal cues, we fail to transcend our animality. When we dismiss an idea due to the scowls and sneers of others, we are guilty of that same failure. The forces of darkness in early 21st century politics depend on the visceral voter. They need fear of "death panels," and be damned all those suffering Americans who could benefit greatly from a physician's time spent discussing palliative care and DNR orders. They need hatred of "socialism," and be damned all those children exiled to day care so that their single parents can be compelled to work at jobs that pay roughly the cost of day care.

If we look past the surface and into the substance of a person or an issue, this may reveal something truly wonderful. Even when it does not, this approach equips us to make decisions based on useful information. Rarely do circumstances demand that a personal or political decision of any import be taken in the heat of the moment. With time for reflection, it is inexcusable to make a big decision based on the petty or the shallow. Men like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes may prosper to the extent that they can debase the American political process, but even they cannot fully avoid the preventable violence, preventable sickness, and preventable poverty that their efforts do so much to perpetuate. I believe we as a people should do better for the sake of our least fortunate citizens. Yet I also believe we as individuals have a duty to do better for ourselves.

Submission + - END FOX News: The answer. The solution. ( 4

Web Goddess writes: FOX NEWS. The answer. The solution.
I was born without muscles to open my eyes! Blepharophimosis ptosis is extremely rare. "Full medical treatment" = a muscle graft that allows the forehead to elevate the eyelids. To blink, the eyelids just drift downwards, not fully shut. So my eyes learned to automatically roll upwards, each time I blink and when I sleep.

Eyelid movement is so important that, all my life, my body has (wow!) been re-purposing the lower facial muscles, neck muscles, even part of the tongue and lungs, to open and close the eyelids. TRUE STORY! Today I can squint, and move my eyelids a remarkable amount! When did this happen?! It is not documented. I believe I am revealing, for the first time ever, the true story of Blepharophimosis ptosis.

NOBODY NOTICES. Not consciously. But my expressions are often backwards, or complicated, or unusual. This is like having a speech impediment that someone stops noticing in five minutes, or a few weeks. But it is different. My expressions can only be properly mapped in a one-on-one conversation, where the observer's expressions learn what my matching expressions look like. (*) On film, my expressions appear to be a spectacle of facial grimaces when viewed by a stranger.


My expressions and microexpressions (especially the ones involving blinks which include involuntary eye rolls) have caused the following lifelong problems:

* A single innocent glance can immediately turn a stranger or even a friend into a person with a permanent blood feud against me, who will NOT listen to reason, invents evidence to support the hatred, and transmits the senseless hate to others. "You sniffed my boyfriend's crotch!" Invented memes become gospel.

* I am completely unable to convey sincerity. Those muscles just don't...exist. Therefore, authority (police, teachers, parents, anyone with a skeptical opinion) never,ever,ever believe me. The mismatch between my words and my subliminally-perceived aspect inevitably lead to escalating suspicion and anger. Even when I am reporting serious crime, or serious personal abuse, the police begin to interrogate ME and things go downhill rapidly. My complaints about this abuse, frustratingly, evoke laughter in my friends, time and time again.

I see in FOX news, er, similar symptoms:

* Dittoheads are furious about insane things that fly in the face of reason, and infect others by the strength of their convictions.

* Commentators say the most outrageous things with seeming sincerity.

Yes, I am contacting facial expression analysis experts, Good Lord, I need a medical note to prevent a routine traffic stop from turning into an absolute nightmare. But do we have time for all that?

YOU are the solution. Microexpressions? Blepharophmosis ptosis people know that a single microexpression can induce permanent, infectious feud over nothing. Find the answer. The evidence is out there.

If you wish to analyze my facial expressions (how embarrassing I apparently look pretty odd, at times) you can contact me, or check out this video, where I was trying to carefully control my expressions for a large audience.

(especially camera angle beginning around 35 minutes in.)

Thanks for your help! I am 47 years old. A lifetime of sad encounters, culminating in a miracle. The dittohead microexpression that induces hate? It's in my loving face.

Comment Re:Less talk, more action (Score 1) 388

There is a difference between customers purchasing games and customers purchasing software development services. I'm pretty sure the only game consumers who would demand copy protection (other than shills for DRM et al.,) are those so uninformed as to believe the protection some how keeps their computers safe from intrusion. "Copy protection" does have a nice "security blanket" feel to it. Yet for legitimate users, it contributes absolutely nothing positive to the gaming experience.

Now, those 95% and 60% numbers seem odd to me. For one, the methods used to collect data on piracy are invariably shady. I suppose a creative researcher might come up with a credible way to get an accurate sample of who uses what, but people peddling DRM and copy protection products have no history of being interested in accurate data. Still, I suppose pointing out that the very best work in this area is haphazard stuff like seeding P2P networks with a specific bug and tracking tech support activity is not the same as proving that piracy is not a widespread phenomenon.

Still, I do not dispute that it is widespread. I only dispute the idea that the activities of pirates provide any justification for hassling paying customers. This is because I remain unconvinced that copy protection, DRM, et al. generate any sort of positive return on the investment. Even if one grants the bold assertion that piracy accounted for 95% of the game play anywhere ten years ago, and had since fallen to 60% of the game play in that same place, so what? Making piracy go down is meaningless. Only rising sales would even begin to justify deliberately hassling paying customers the way DRM and traditional copy protections do.

As I recall, ten years ago copy protection inflicted real pain on legitimate users and only the most trivial inconvenience on users of pirated software. Today it is no different. Nothing has been invented that prevents game crackers from distributing executables modified to be stripped of their nuisance features while retaining the full glory of the relevant game. The argument that this sweeping change was caused by copy protection efforts fails to recognize the completely unchanged ease with which games could be pirated throughout the interval in question.

If I had to guess, I'd suspect the place was China and the figures were a half-baked estimate derived from the real trend of increasing appreciation for the legal doctrine of intellectual property. Many cultural traditions give ideas a place of greater stature than mere baubles. The practice of letting people own ideas may not be unique to capitalism, but it is uniquely necessitated by the lack of any other mechanism to sustain creative works in a purely capitalist society. As China continues to embrace all things capitalist, old attitudes about the importance of sharing knowledge and art give way to new attitudes about the importance of hoarding wealth.*

Even if there were some magical way to end all software piracy forever and ever, it is questionable if this would be a good thing for software sales. Do pirates never buy games they have previously played illicitly? Do pirates sometimes buy games they would never have considered but for the illegal free taste? One could argue that piracy increases software sales -- it is a thin argument, but the arguments that piracy drives down software sales are based on similar speculation and similarly dubious reasoning.

If we take China as an example, and we grant that piracy has declined dramatically there in recent years, what are we to conclude? Did something magical happen to make the easily-cracked games of 2008 less fun to steal than the easily-cracked games of 1998? Could it instead be that cultural and economic factors largely beyond the control of game publishers drove a noteworthy trend?

I suspect if anyone does come up with a valid empirical method of gauging the scope of software piracy, trends in its popularity will be influenced by anything but copy protection practices. Long ago, and in ways unchanged to this day, a subculture of expert users insured that game pirates would always quickly enjoy access to protection-free versions of significant commercial releases. Pirates have already decided that copy protection and DRM won't spoil a thing for them. I continue to believe that there is no excuse for the waste of developers' funding and users' time squandered on creating troubles that almost all illicit users will never experience.

*One can only hope this enthusiastic surge is tempered by some understanding that hunger for wealth is a gaping void that can only be satisfied through transcendence to a less vulgar and amoral pursuit. After all, the last thing the Rising Dragon needs is Bill Gates and George W. Bush types defining the new order.)

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