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Comment Re:Bad Google (Score 1) 416

Oh, and how did it become a "generic pejorative"? From bigoted thugs, calling out details of one's personal appearance as evidence that they were gay, and therefore should be beaten.

That's my memory of high school in the late 80s. And college in the 90s. And, come to think of it, some incidents I've seen in the last month.

Comment It's a waste of time to look before it's finished (Score 2) 190

I was puzzled by the image, the first time I saw the regular XKCD page -- I didn't see the point. So I looked at Explain XKCD, and found out it that the image was being updated periodically. I checked in again later, and saw that it was basically an animated movie, which is easily missed if you look at just one static image. The thing is, there's no point to watching an animation going up, one frame at a time, over months. You're not going to get any special insights that way that you can't get when it's completed, by watching the whole thing. You could presumably go back over individual frames at that point if you want to do a close analysis of it. But there's not enough to go on yet to make sense of it.

From what I've seen of this series so far, I'm guessing it will turn out to have some meaning that can be fully explained in a sentence or two.

There's a trend in entertainment of measuring out some serial narrative, one tiny fragment at a time, and encouraging the development of a fanbase that will analyze each succeeding fragment. This happens with Webcomics, and augmented reality games, as well as with series of computer games, series of novels, and television series. While there's no shortage of bunk that appears in the fanbase's theorizing, you'll inevitably see theories emerge that are far more interesting than what the writer originally had in mind. Inevitably, the fanbase will end up burned out and disappointed.

At some point, people need to learn to develop the self-respect to just stop hitting refresh to find out what the answer is to the enigma. Just check in again in a few months, when it's all over. It'll probably seem quite clever or interesting for the minute or two it takes to watch the whole thing.

Comment Re:Almost four years now on Linux. (Score 1) 413

Now, I enjoy only rebooting when i update the kernel, instead of daily crashes and lockups.

While I certainly prefer the stability of Linux, I don't understand why people are so resistant to shutting off their computers when they're not going to use them for a few hours. A few years ago, boot times were less than the time it took to make my morning coffee; since then, most linux distributions have put a lot of work into reducing boot times, and I find a reboot cycle is only about a minute.

Comment Maybe we won't know we're winning until we've won (Score 1) 32

Graeber made an interesting point, about how power groups are most concerned with denying the possibility of alternatives, to the point of undermining themselves. He gives the example of a demonstration outside a building where there were to be a series of IMF meetings. The demonstrators were met with an overwhelming police presence, and he went home feeling depressed, feeling the demonstration had been futile. But later, he learned that most of the IMF meetings had been shut down by security -- which is to say, the demonstrators had in fact scored a significant victory.

The lesson seems to be that we have to understand that our feelings of powerlessness are manufactured, and we need to learn to persist despite those feelings.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 331

In Planet of Slums, Mike Davis analyzes this at length: that in most of the world, the rich live in urban centers, and the poor have great difficulty affording housing in urban centers. The trouble is, of course, the urban centers are where all the jobs are. So, there are all sorts of messy, quasi-legal and illegal housing arrangements. It's quite common for people to have to pay rent to sleep on sidewalks, for example.

It's relatively recently that housing patterns in the US have started shifting to match those of the rest of the world.

Of course, many forms of work can be performed from anywhere, provided there's access to high-bandwidth communication, which would significantly ease the burden on many people to find affordable housing. But that rather brings us back to the problem illustrated in the original article.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 2) 331

Then you don't understand poverty.

Conservatives used to occasionally kick up a fuss about "unfunded mandates". Poor people have to deal with those all the time. One unfunded mandate is that Internet access is a practical requirement for participation in contemporary society. If you don't have Web access, you can't search for jobs or apply for them, or fill out legally mandatory paperwork, or do your homework.

As we all know, web-enabled devices are bargains, because they enable access to many different forms of communication and entertainment. I remember a furor erupting when a local newspaper, for an article about long-term unemployment showed a photo of a family in a one-room apartment. There was a table, with a smartphone on it. There were a few chairs, and some blankets and pillows on the floor, and no other furniture; no television, no other telephone, nothing. Yet people complained they couldn't really be poor, because they had a smartphone.

And yes, McDonalds is bad food, and overpriced. Try visiting a poor urban neighborhood sometime. It's a major problem that low-income neighborhoods frequently lack grocery stores, that the only food sources within a few miles are corner stores with overpriced convenience foods and fast food restaurants.

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