Anonymous asked a few questions:

What exactly is Philosophy?

there are lots of ideas in the world. it's confusing. people divide them up. math. chemistry. biology. economics. sports. poker. philosophy. we'll call these different fields.

philosophy is a really big group of ideas. it's not very specific.

the most important area of philosophy is about ideas. how do you get ideas? which ideas are good or bad? why? how do you find the truth? how do you find and deal with mistakes? how do you know an idea doesn't have any mistakes? how do you learn? what is learning? which ideas should you have?

this stuff is sometimes called other names like "critical thinking", "reason", "logic", "epistemology".

when i say "philosophy" this is the main stuff i usually have in mind. stuff about thinking well, dealing with ideas well. that's really important to every single field.

want to play poker well? you better have the right ideas about which hands to fold or not. want to be a good chemist? you better have the right ideas about how chemicals react, lab procedures, etc. want to be good at sports? you better have good ideas about how to train effectively and some good strategies to use in the game.

in each case there are a lot of ideas out there. some are good. some suck. there's lots of bad ideas about how to do stuff. it's pretty easy to go wrong.

ideas are the most important thing in the world. they determine how well you do at everything. so philosophy – which has ideas about dealing with ideas well – is the most important field.

there are other parts of philosophy. they include:

moral philosophy – another super important part of philosophy. what's a good life? what should people do in their lives? what are good goals and values? what's right or wrong? should you be honest? why? what are bad ways to treat people? like don't murder them, but also more subtle stuff like don't be an asshole. but it depends on the situation and can be complicated.

moral philosophy comes down to choices. every action you take in your life, you had a choice about which action to take. you could have done something else. moral philosophy guides you about what to choose to do.

ontology – ideas about existence. like: is reality an illusion? and where did the universe come from? you may noticed sometimes fields get mixed up together a bit. like where the universe came from is also a physics question. labeling fields is just to try to keep things organized, but it's not that big a deal and doesn't have to be perfect, just useful.

philosophy of science – how does science work to get good ideas? how do scientists learn? it's a lot of the same stuff about dealing with ideas. but science is really important so it's worth some extra attention.

political philosophy – when people argue the current issues they call it politics. but when they try to talk about principles about how a country should be set up, how to organize society, etc, it's political philosophy. political philosophy looks at the big picture of politics. it's pretty necessary to understand this before you can deal with regular politics well, but most people who try to debate politics don't have much of a clue about it. this has some overlap with economics.

And should I learn philosophy?


you need to deal with ideas and choices in life.

if you deal with ideas badly, you will have a bad life.

everyone has a philosophy. everyone deals with ideas one way or another. the question is: do you put effort into getting philosophy right and judging for yourself which philosophy you want to follow? otherwise you'll just have a contradictory mix of things you heard here and there and didn't think about very carefully. (the argument in this paragraph is from Ayn Rand.)

How do I learn it?

there's lots of stuff about philosophy.

and lots of it disagrees with other stuff. there's tons of ongoing debates where people disagree.

you should look around at a wide variety of philosophy stuff and see what you think makes sense. you can find books, blog posts, youtube videos, discussion forums, etc

most people who look around choose lots of the wrong philosophy. it's easy to make mistakes.

what can you do about that? write your ideas down in public and listen to criticism from anyone. so if you're mistaken, and someone knows why you're mistaken, and can explain it in a way that you'll understand, and is willing to help, then you can find out. that helps a lot. most people won't do that.

you should include FI (Fallible Ideas) people in the "anyone" who can offer comments on your ideas. if you want other perspectives you can look around or ask us about them.

FI emails are public and have links on yahoo's website. anyone can read it. the link to an email can be shared just like any other website. people have to sign up and use email software to reply though. another way to share your ideas is make a public blog and turn on comments.

if you look into some non-FI philosophy you can talk about it here and get our perspective.

for learning FI philosophy you should do a mix of:

if you have a problem reading a book – any problem – stop reading and ask about it. bored? confused? something seems false? want more details on some part? discuss it. don't just give up or try to push forward and finish the whole book.

people can suggest answers or ways to get answers.

the more stuff you do alone, the more mistakes you can make that no one could tell you. and lots of it could be wasted time. you could make a mistake then build on it.

even if everything is going well, discuss frequently. read something and think you understand it? cool, but write down what you think it's saying anyway. you might have it wrong. you might have half of it right but missed half.

lots of times people think they understand stuff but claim they have nothing to say. they don't understand it. if you're learning much you will have stuff to say. you can write ideas you learned you think are good. you can write questions you don't know the answer to yet. you can write additional ideas you have. you can make an example to illustrate an idea. you can say a counter-argument and why the counter-argument is wrong. and more.

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Reasons people are passive:

  • People are destructive, especially self-destructive. Not doing much limits the destruction.
  • People don't know what to do.
  • People don't want to make the wrong choices, try not to choose.
  • People don't want to be responsible for choosing stuff.

People broadly don't want to live. They don't want to do things, make choices, decide what happens – and maybe make mistakes and be responsible for some non-ideal outcomes. That's what life is. Acting and choosing. People don't like that. Passivity is their attempt to approximate death. It's their attempt to limit their lives.

Passivity is a choice and they're responsible for the consequences. There's no way to stop living besides actually dying. But being passive helps them minimize what actions they've clearly taken and what decisions they are clearly responsible for.

Like if I suggest we go to McDonalds and you say "OK" and then you have a bad time, you'll have an easier time lying to yourself that it isn't your fault. Your choice to say OK will seem different to you than leading the way. It's still your fucking life. You're still deciding what to do with your time. But you'd rather have someone else to (falsely) blame for your suffering than suffer less. So you avoid the sorts of situations where you'd be clearly responsible for problems. You avoid leading and being first and wait around for someone to tell you what to do, or even just make suggestions you can obey.

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Writing For Audiences

Writing is impossible with no context.

Writing requires some kind of purpose or goal. That's part of the context.

Writing requires some concept of an audience. Who will read it? That's part of the context.

Does your audience speak English? That's important. If you are writing for people who speak English, that's an audience.

Is your audience people who are alive today, have internet access, and know how to read English? That affects writing decisions.

Are you focused on people reading your essay in the next 3 months? The next 3 years? The next 30 years? These are different audiences.

Are you writing stuff that you think is good? You're part of the audience.

Writers usually try to write for multiple different people at the same time. Not one-size-fits-all. That'd be too hard. But they aim for one-size-fits-many.

You can pick a single person, like yourself, and write primarily for that audience. But then whenever you write something you think would confuse most people, you change it. Whenever you think something would be a problem for lots of readers, you change it. This removes most of the quirks from your writing and makes it one-size-fits-many.

Some ways to try to please multiple people in the audience at the same time are messier. It can be a mess because audience members have contradictory ideas. How do you appeal to both sides of a disagreement?

It's generally best to take sides in disagreements that are important to what you're saying.

People often try to be neutral about controversies so they don't alienate either side.

Writing is communication.

Writing is always done in the context of some problem.

Having an idea of the problem(s) you're trying to solve helps you write better.

Because writing communicates, there's always an audience (person(s) receiving the communication) involved.

Even if the audience is only the writer.

Even if the writer never rereads what they write, and then deletes it, they communicates with themselves while they write it.

So the audience is always involved in the problem(s) writing addresses.

Generically, action always happens in context and tries to address some problems. And specifically writing involves an audience.

There are many ways to write the same idea.

Which way to write something depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Different ways have different advantages and disadvantages.

Which way to write it depends on the audience. Which way will be clearest to them? Which way will mislead them about something?

Without thinking about your audience, it's hard to make good choices about what to include in your writing. There's always more that could be said about a topic. You can't include it all.

Writing is always selective. The writer selects which stuff to include out of the infinity of possible ideas to write about.

When arguing a point, a writer decides which arguments to include and which not to mention. You can't mention every possible argument on a topic.

Some writers don't give their audience much thought.

They write for conventional people by default. But they don't realize they're doing that.

How do they decide which way to write something? By what seems normal to them.

People often write carelessly and haphazardly. That's another option.

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curi Writes Statements

People are really complex.

Sometimes people are really stupid, cruel, mean, nasty, petty.

Sometimes people are heroic, productive, logical, innovative.

Most people are mixed.

People will be stupid about one issue and smart about another issue.

Most working people are more productive at work than outside of work.

People are individuals. No one is typical about everything. Everyone has some

Intolerance of unconventional ideas and behaviors can affect everyone. Everyone does/thinks some stuff that many people would punish as deviance.

Presenting as mostly normal usually, but not always, gets people to forgive a few quirks.

In very short online interactions, most ways of presenting as mostly normal don't work. People don't hear that you have a normal accent, don't see you make normal facial expressions, don't see your normal clothes, don't know your location, haven't come to the same physical location as you, and more.

There's social pressures that push people to be polite. Most of them work better in person than online.

Approximately no one is looking to learn philosophy.

People getting philosophy degrees are looking to get philosophy degrees, they aren't looking to actually learn philosophy. They often also want some other things like to join a subculture.

If philosophy degree students cared much about learning philosophy they would read and discuss more philosophers on their own. They'd want to be familiar with more philosophers than their classes focus on. This would be visible at discussion forums for Rand, Popper and others.

If philosophy degree students cared much about learning philosophy, some of them would have substantial success at learning philosophy. This would be visible. There would be more skilled philosophers writing great stuff.

The vast majority of people are very passive.

People don't usually look for much of anything. They usually follow, obey, conform. Most people put a lot of effort into doing what they are "supposed to".

Many people think statements like these (about passivity) don't apply to them. They think to themselves that they are the exception. But most of them aren't exceptions, they're passive too.

Learning philosophy requires initiative, persistence and wanting to.

Learning philosophy requires being willing to think unpopular thoughts and do unconventional actions.

It works way better to see unusual ideas in a neutral or positive way, not as a downside or tradeoff.

Making progress in philosophy has the same requirements mentioned for learning it.

This isn't a complete list of requirements.

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Beamdog Fraud

Beamdog sells computer games like Balder's Gate Enhanced Edition. They advertise features like multiplayer. Multiplayer didn't work on any platform for over 3 years after the game was released. It still doesn't work on the Mac App Store version which they stopped supporting indefinitely. When I wanted the update that finally came out recently, customer support told me to buy another copy of the game on a different platform.

Beamdog also violated my reasonable expectations by not releasing the new expansion pack on the Mac App Store. If i wanted to play the expansion I'd have to buy the base game again on another platform then buy it there. Or wait god only knows how long (3 more years?).

Multiplayer has been unplayable due to game-breaking bugs like being very very laggy, items frequently duplicating, and sometimes being prevented from saving or resting. Also it crashes often. Overall it has not been in a usable state. Beamdog has known this and left it broken from release for over 3 years while advertising the multiplayer feature to prospective customers the whole time. This is fraud.

They said the next update would fix multiplayer. It's finally here. I haven't tested multiplayer with it yet, but there are reports multiplayer still doesn't work.

I bought the game again on Steam, and installed it, it wouldn't run. At all. Customer support replies once per day and wastes your time. They blame my computer for being too old. It's a modern retina iMac. The game has very low system requirements like 1ghz and 512mb ram. I have 4ghz and 32gb ram. What does support say? They say their own website lies to prospective purchasers about the system requirements, the real system requirements are higher. What are the real system requirements? They didn't say. Nevertheless this is an old game and my system is easily good enough. But after telling them my system specs they just reply telling me I need to give them more system specs (but they didn't say which ones). My 10 year old plastic macbook – that was low end when I bought it – could easily run their game. Yet they think somehow my high end iMac has such bad specs it prevents the game from running at all? Bullshit waste of time. And why don't they just ask for a crash log that includes my specs in it? Or actually give instructions for giving them whichever specs they want? Just asking for specs and then blaming people for not including whichever particular ones you wanted is ridiculous (and then demanding more specs and still not saying which you want).

I even deleted my Mac App Store version, deleted all the related files from my computer, deleted the steam version, and reinstalled the steam version to get it nice and clean. Still wouldn't run.

I knew customer support would never help so I bought the game, again, directly from Beamdog, and got a refund from Steam.

Their own version is also broken. When you're downloading it, it shows the patch notes from a couple years ago. They didn't update the installer. After downloading it, it doesn't run. You run their launcher, click "launch", and no game opens. (Fortunately I managed to troubleshoot it myself using advice from other players on the forums. It runs now. Unfortunately it has some new anti-features like they screwed up the way the game map works and there's no option for the old behavior.)

To summarize:

The Mac App Store version is unsupported indefinitely. No refunds. Fuck you. Beamdog blames Apple but they can't seem to get things to work on other platforms either:

The Steam version for Mac doesn't run on a fresh install.

The Beamdog version, from their website with their own installer ... also don't run on a fresh install.

A major feature they advertise, multiplayer, was broken on release and was left broken for over 3 years on all platforms, and may still be broken on all platforms. This is fraud. Want to play with your friends? Buy the game again away from the Mac App Store and they're advertising it works, though reddit suggests otherwise. Can I have steam keys at no cost to you? No, fuck off. (They have a general policy of giving out free steam keys to people who buy the game on their website. They could easily solve this Mac App Store problem at no cost to themselves. They don't want to. They are choosing to have bad customer service after defrauding customers with false advertising. They really seem to think telling people to pay for the game a second time is the best way to handle things.)

The system requirements they list on their website are a lie according to their own customer service.

The system requirements for the game are being increased to get the new patch, according to their own customer service. Anyone who doesn't meet the increased requirements will never be able to play multiplayer. Too bad, you can't have what you paid for.

I really wanted to like Beamdog because they have worked to restore and enhance some of my favorite computer games. But I can't do it. They defraud customers and have really awful customer service. Fuck Beamdog.

Beamdog is also, non-coincidentally, a social justice warrior company. They hire leftwing activists to put transgender characters into their games and rewrite the personalities of existing characters like Safana. At least she got fired after causing a bunch of bad press.

But why would you hire someone for an Enhanced Edition who thinks the original games are bad and need changing? Why not hire a fan who loves the games? Because the company leadership is trendy leftists too. This isn't some accident. Their bad values range from social justice to fraud, awful customer service, and broken game features.

Breitbart has a nice article:

Not only is it grossly out of character for Minsc, it’s a little bit of the Internet’s ugliness that quite simply didn’t need to be there. Where the transgender character is an expression of the developer’s intentions toward inclusion, Minsc’s dig is designed to exclude people with whom Beamdog disagrees. It’s trite, it’s catty, and it makes Beamdog’s other in-game statements come off as posturing rather than sincere.

Beamdog CEO Trent Oster ridiculously calls all the criticism "ridiculous" and expressed sadness that anyone has different values than he does. Read the whole article.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Speed Reading is a Core Life Skill

speed reading is a necessary skill for any serious attempt at a good life. like touch typing.

speed reading skills include:

  • rapid serial visual presentation
  • listening to sped up audio, including with text-to-speech
  • effective skimming and searching
  • speed reading paper books (optional for most people, who can get ebooks of most stuff they read)
  • being able to keep up. being able to understand and retain what you read at higher speeds

(yeah there's a couple exceptions like blind people. not many.)

reading is a huge part of learning. if you read twice as fast then you can read twice as much stuff. then you can learn way more.

if you don't learn this stuff, you're basically just going to have a worse life. you'll spend more time per book. you'll lose time. not learning to read fast is basically just throwing away part of your life (unless you don't read much, which is a different way of throwing your life away).

another skill any reasonable person trying to have a good life would learn is how to use google search well. lots of people suck at finding stuff with google (like they choose search terms poorly and misjudge which search results to click on) and don't realize it and don't do anything to get better. another common way people use google badly is they search the wrong thing and then start clicking links instead of recognizing the got the wrong results and doing a new search immediately.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (10)

In Trump We Trust

I read In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome! the minute it came out on Kindle. It comes out today. It's 12:30am where I live. I've finished it.

You should read it too. It's amazing.

Thank you Ann Coulter.

I took breaks while reading to tweet about it. Here's my tweets:

Elliot Temple [email protected] 7 hours ago
Elliot Temple Retweeted Ann Coulter
If you buy the Kindle version, you can read In Trump We Trust early at 9pm pacific tonight. :)
Ann Coulter @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 6 hours ago
Elliot Temple Retweeted Donald J. Trump
Yeah! It comes out at 9pm pacific time (midnight eastern) tonight if you buy on Kindle! :)
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
.@AnnCoulter's new book, 'In Trump We Trust, comes out tomorrow. People are saying it's terrific - knowing Ann I am sure it is!

You Retweeted
Donald J. Trump [email protected] 7h7 hours ago
.@AnnCoulter's new book, 'In Trump We Trust, comes out tomorrow. People are saying it's terrific - knowing Ann I am sure it is!
4,807 retweets 14,113 likes

Elliot Temple [email protected] 3 hours ago

Islam’s PR Agency: The American Media

Elliot Temple [email protected] 3 hours ago

So Close! The Plan to Destroy America Was Almost Complete

Elliot Temple [email protected] 3 hours ago

Trump Builds Wall, Makes GOP Pay for It

Elliot Temple [email protected] 3 hours ago
The table of contents for In Trump We Trust by @AnnCoulter looks great :)

Elliot Temple [email protected] 1 hour ago
"You don’t want to pore through forty or fifty of them, so . . . Oh, the hell with you—here are forty or fifty examples:"

Luv u @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 1 hour ago
CHAPTER SEVEN: No Policy Specifics!

best one so far @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 46 minutes ago
The media always lies. The media always lies. The media always lies.

Elliot Temple [email protected] 45 minutes ago
Read … right now

Elliot Temple [email protected] 44 minutes ago
Then [Trump] did something completely unprecedented: He didn’t back down. Spoiled by decades of Republicans asking "Who do I apologize to?"…

Elliot Temple [email protected] 43 minutes ago
the public kept trying to tell the media that they rather liked his idea to suspend Muslim immigration.

Elliot Temple [email protected] 42 minutes ago
Maybe Russia should call CNN’s Randi Kaye … next time, so she’ll at least know as much as random South Carolinians attending a Trump rally.

Elliot Temple [email protected] 40 minutes ago
I don’t know what Trump supporter Lauren Martel does 4 a living, but she knows more about the govt's vetting process than CNN correspondents

Elliot Temple [email protected] 40 minutes ago
quotes are from

Elliot Temple [email protected] 39 minutes ago
Our current national security threat comes from millions of Islamic savages spread throughout half the globe.

Elliot Temple [email protected] 39 minutes ago
Americans are raped and maimed not by the Red Army but by millions of illegal aliens waltzing across our wide-open border.

Elliot Temple [email protected] 23 minutes ago

LOVE YOU @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 21 minutes ago
2 of Angela’s illegal alien [siblings. out of 10] had already fled California for … Kentucky, because … there were “fewer Mexicans there.”

Elliot Temple [email protected] 21 minutes ago
Alejandra raved about Kentucky, saying, “We’re in a state where there’s nothing but Americans.”

Elliot Temple [email protected] 19 minutes ago
2 yrs later: Police [say] Latin Kings, Surenos & MS-13 gangs, all w/ ties to Mexican Mafia are operating criminal enterprises in Kentucky

Elliot Temple [email protected] 5 minutes ago
First! Finished

Thank you so much @AnnCoulter

My favorites were chapter 7 and the appendix. So many quotes!

Elliot Temple [email protected] 5 minutes ago
Trump’s closest competitor, Ted Cruz, was the only rival smart enough to adopt nearly all of Trump’s positions on immigration. @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 4 minutes ago
Between them, they won 80 percent of the vote in a multiple-candidate field @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 3 minutes ago
It is no longer a question of what the party wants. The combined vote for Trump and Cruz is a ringing chorus …

Elliot Temple [email protected] 2 minutes ago

Elliot Temple [email protected] 1 minute ago
“Jeb Bush, who might be president, & … Trump, who won’t be president, competing for media oxygen, and well, it was a contest.” @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 1 minute ago
“At the end of the day, it’s quite possible that Donald Trump will get 11 percent in New Hampshire, but that might be his cap.” @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 53 seconds ago
“He’s an entertainer. And therefore he’s popular. But he will not be the nominee.” @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] 33 seconds ago
The Drudge Report, April 28, 2016: Trump most votes in Republican history. @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] [I edited my post to add this one in :)]
My IN TRUMP WE TRUST review is done! Great book! Great read! What a thriller! Couldn't put it down! … @AnnCoulter

Elliot Temple [email protected] [I edited my post to add this one in too 😀]
#InTrumpWeTrust 🇺🇸

Thank you @AnnCoulter

#InTrumpWeTrust 🗽


I also had a few book comments I wrote on IMs. Here you go:

omg dude Ann referencing pua shit [editor's note: "shit" means "stuff". this isn't an insult.]
To avoid telling voters what they really planned to do—i.e., give the donors whatever they want—Republican politicians have an annoying habit of saying, “People are frustrated.” They understand, they’re listening—and they’re not answering the question. It’s as if Republican consultants all read a book on how to pick up girls and the only thing they learned was “mirroring.” Candidates have learned to recite a series of facts about the topic as if that constituted a full and satisfactory answer. What would you do to create jobs? Our economy has changed. How would you handle ISIS? ISIS is an organization formed in 2006 by a number of Iraqi insurgent groups . . . What would you do about immigration? People are frustrated!

Mirroring is fine for the non-front-burner issues candidates are asked about—transgender bathrooms and whether they talk to God. But pointlessly reciting facts has become a vehicle for candidates to avoid telling us their positions on anything.
You’re Not Reagan

The only deep insight Republicans have had for the past three decades is: Be Reagan! This wouldn’t be a bad plan, inasmuch as Reagan was a wildly successful president (followed by a typically incompetent Bush), except: (1) Reagan was president in the 1980s, and (2) today’s Republicans don’t seem to remember Reagan.

They are the political version of the cargo cult, a primitive tribe that worshiped modern technology without understanding how it worked, holding coconuts up to their ears as if they were air traffic controllers. Republicans believe they can capture Reagan’s greatness by repeating his answers to the problems of three decades ago.
ann wrong that just keeping muslims out makes us safe. iran! nukes & icbms!
Our current national security threat comes from millions of Islamic savages spread throughout half the globe. Americans are slaughtered not by invading Soviet troops, Red Dawn style, but by Islamic terrorists flying commercial airplanes into our skyscrapers, setting off bombs at the Boston Marathon, and shooting up American military bases, community centers, and gay nightclubs. Americans are raped and maimed not by the Red Army but by millions of illegal aliens waltzing across our wide-open border. Our freedoms are being taken away not by a foreign power but by our own government—in order to protect us from terrorists, international crime rings, and Mexican drug cartels.

The downside to our new enemy is: no war can defeat them. But the upside is: they have no capacity to harm a hair on any American’s head, unless we let them come here. Does a candidate who calls illegal immigration an “act of love” really care about making Americans “safe”?
Even after Trump began to release position papers loaded up with policy details, journalists and pundits agreed: No policy specifics! The public could not be allowed to imagine for one minute that Trump’s appeal had anything to do with his issues.

Here are a few examples. You don’t want to pore through forty or fifty of them, so . . . Oh, the hell with you—here are forty or fifty examples:

It would be as if we were dying to go to Milwaukee. We pack our bologna sandwiches, go to the Greyhound terminal, pay our fare, and walk to the line of buses. San Francisco—Nope! St. Louis—Nope! The Grand Tetons—Nope! Milwaukee—That’s us! We ask the driver if the bus is going to Milwaukee and he says yes, so we get on board. The doors close, and just as the bus is taking off—the driver announces that we’re headed to Austin, Texas.

We curse, ride the bus for three days, get out in Austin, and look for another bus to Milwaukee. We pay the fare, find the signs, ask the driver where he’s going—Milwaukee!—and as soon as we’re in our seats and the doors are locked, the driver tells us the bus is going to Atlantic City.

After this happens a dozen more times and we’ve been all over the country, we’re bleary-eyed, sleepless, and frustrated. We get on another bus, it takes off, and this time the driver turns around and . . . it’s Donald Trump! He tells us, We’re going to Milwaukee. We don’t care what route he’s taking. We don’t care if he sticks to interstate highways or prefers the back roads. We don’t care if he keeps the air-conditioning too hot or too cold. We just want to go to Milwaukee. As long as we finally have a guy who’s going to take us where we want to go, WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE DETAILS.
[Twice was for emphasis.]
Neither Angela nor Alfredo spoke English, despite having lived in this country for twenty-two and twenty-eight years, respectively. Nor did their teenage children.

Two of Angela’s illegal alien sisters—out of ten siblings in the country illegally—had already fled California for Lexington, Kentucky, because—I quote—there were “fewer Mexicans there.” The sister Alejandra raved about Kentucky, saying, “We’re in a state where there’s nothing but Americans.” She noted the clean streets, police presence, and lack of gang activity. In California, she complained, “everyone thinks like in Mexico.”

That was in 2006. Two years later:


Police tell us that the Latin Kings, Surenos and MS-13 gangs, all with ties to the Mexican Mafia are operating criminal enterprises in Kentucky. Cells have been identified in Shelbyville, Louisville and Lexington. A narcotics officer told us some illegals have wired 15,000 dollars a week for months to cartels in Mexico.

[Shelbyville city councilman] Shane Sutter said, “We don’t have a swat team. We don’t have a gang task force. We’re just a small town.187


Here is the message I sent my parents after reading In Trump We Trust:
will you please read this book? it just came out. i finished it already. i'll buy it for you. just order the kindle or paper version, whatever you want, i'll send you money.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (3)

SSBM Tier List

curi's SSBM Tier List:

1: Fox, Falco, Marth, Sheik, Puff, Peach
2: Falcon, Pika, ICs, Samus, Yoshi, Luigi
3: Doc, Mario, Ganon, Young Link, Mewtwo, DK
4: The rest.

The focus is mostly on the tiers, not the ordering within tiers.

Comments on tiers:

1: We know they can win a major. Demonstrated top tier tournament results.
2: Some of these characters can win a major. We aren't totally sure which.
3: Harder to win with. Can win a smaller tournament.
4: Bad enough I'd recommend you avoid them. Pichu is underrated but still bad. Zelda and Roy are overrated. Link and Game & Watch aren't good enough. Yes, you could still win a tournament with any character if you're significantly better than the other players.

I'm not good enough or experienced enough at the game to know what I'm talking about that way, but I'm good at taking top players' explanations and judging which make sense.

I'd generally recommend people play tier 1 or 2 characters.

Peach and Puff are top tier because of proven tournament results from Armada and Hbox. Falcon looks like he should be a competitive character, and has put up some promising results, but he doesn't have the track record of the top tiers. The rest of tier 2 ranges from similar to Falcon to being more speculative.

I drew the line at Luigi, ahead of his clones, because having the best wavedash is more promising than a simliar character with worse mobility.

I'm not a big ICs fan because I place a high value on neutral game (getting the first hit in an even situation) and mobility. ICs has very strong punishes (e.g. wobbling) and is a skill test for opponents (if they mess up, they lose). That doesn't work well at the highest level and it isn't fun because it makes the other player control the outcome of the game more than you. I also don't like the idea of babysitting the computer-controlled character (that sometimes plays very stupidly) and playing a low tier when the other climber is dead. But fighting a two on one, even with some limits, is really powerful. So ICs do have potential.

And punishes do matter. If you win neutral 30% of the time for 40 damage on average, and lose neutral 70% of the for an average of 15 damage, then you're coming out ahead (120 damage to 105 per 10 engagements). And everyone does make mistakes. You can't play perfectly or react to everything.

Falcon has strong punishes but also has a strong neutral game due to amazing mobility.

Peach has some strong punishes but also has float cancels and turnips for neutral. Her problem is being a little slow.

Yoshi I don't understand very well. Partly, to me, he looks overly focused on his punish game. But he has parrying and super armor on his double jump that are unique and powerful tools, and I don't really know how good they are.

Luigi has a decent, viable moveset along with the best wavedash. The mobility gives him potential.

Samus has range, defense, wavedash back, projectiles, and recovery. But she's slow.

Puff has bair, horizontal air mobility, rest, and 5 double jumps. Puff would be bad without the large hitbox on bair that goes way beyond her foot. That one move really increases her range and zoning ability.

Fox and Marth have the best neutral games at the top level. Falco has the best neutral game at lower level where people struggle with his lasers. Marth sometimes struggles to get kills and has to win neutral a lot, and he has bad defense. Fox and Falco have the best offense but can be super vulnerable if you hit them.

Sheik has tools for neutral game (some speed, needles, auto cancel aeriels), edge guards, strong defense, strong grab punishes, and generally strong low-lag moves.

Dear new players: Fox's edge is small, don't worry about it, the other top tiers are fine too. At the start, pick any character from tier 1 or 2 that you like (or tier 3 if you really like them) and play that character until you're a halfway decent player who understands what's going on. Then reconsider what character you want to play once you actually understand what all the characters do and have a feel for playing the game.

Impatient players should choose Fox or Falco. Shine gives them the most aggressive options to do a variety of safe approaches and shield pressure. Or, better yet, learn to play patiently. Playing aggressively can be good if done in the right way, but charging in all the time isn't optimal on any character.

Players who aren't really hardcore gamers should not choose Fox or Falco. This is a very hard game with every character. Fox and Falco are a level above in terms of difficulty, and you really don't have to play them.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (3)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (2)

Learn Super Smash Brothers Melee and Philosophy!

you want to learn philosophy? except maybe not really.

i bet you couldn't even learn super smash bros melee. that's a challenge.

if you can't learn smash bros, i doubt you'll ever learn philosophy.

if you managed to learn smash, you would have used various methods of learning successfully. you could then re-use some of them for learning philosophy.

if you learned smash, you would have dealt with details. you would have done precise thinking successfully. you could use that for philosophy.

but maybe it's too hard for you. playing smash well requires being able to research information online, understand it, and apply it. playing smash well

playing smash well requires patience at appropriate times.

playing smash well requires effective practice. you have to practice in such a way you get better.

playing smash well requires succeeding at things you were bad at initially. you will be very bad at lots of the game initially. you'll have to change that.

playing smash well requires asking questions productively.

playing smash well involves running into players who are better than you, and seeing really plainly and clearly they are better than you. no excuses, no denials, you're outclassed. and it involves watching games from top players and learning from them and aspiring to be better.

playing smash well requires learning to do some thinking and situation-handling quickly.

playing smash well requires learning new terminology and physics. the terminology is easier than in biology or philosophy. the physics is much easier than the real physics.

playing smash well requires persistence and effort.

playing smash well requires strategy. you have to think about strategies well and implement them.

playing smash well requires good use of testing. is something a good idea? test it out. you can test out lots of your ideas and see how it goes. to make progress you'll need to choose useful tests, and learn from the results. smash allows doing lots of tests quickly, so if you fail at first, you can try again cheaply.

playing smash well requires discussing smash in a productive way.

playing smash well requires objectivity. biases don't win games. myths you tell yourself (like strategy X or character Y is really great – when actually they aren't) don't win games.

playing smash well requires initiative. no one will hand you smash skills. you have to pursue them.

learning smash requires creative practice techniques. play some slow paced games. play some games where you focus on doing one or two things right and autopilot the rest.

learning smash requires developing some autopilot strategies that you can perform with little attention. but you need to be able to turn them on and off. and you need to be able to make changes to them as you get better.

learning smash requires forming habits but then dropping or improving them as you make progress.

learning smash involves making mistakes and and then fixing it and not making those mistakes anymore.

learning smash involves making many tiny improvements which add up to big progress overall.

learning smash requires judging ideas on their merits, not by how fancy the writing is. there's lots of good ideas about smash that are written casually. here's an example written by a player (MaNg0) who some consider to be the best ever: "My summary for this matchup is..Shielding is your best frienD!!!This match is all about spacing! U gotta like run to them shield but space it.. then fair out of shield..Not much really to say about this match... BEtter Spacing and PATIENCE Wins .."

learning smash requires learning from criticism. if you never seek out criticism, you'll get stuck. if you dislike criticism instead of appreciating it, you'll get stuck. if you don't understand what to do with criticism, you'll get stuck.

if you don't have the initiative, persistence and ability-to-learn to play smash well, you'll never get far with philosophy (which requires far more of those skills).

if you think smash is too much work as a step forward, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which is far more work.

if you're too busy for smash, you'll never get competent at philosophy, which takes far more time.

if you don't want people to see your smash mistakes, and want to learn it all alone in private, you will fail at both smash and philosophy.

if you silently ignore this, you will fail at philosophy.

Smash is available on Windows and Mac for online play.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (30)

Moving On From Fights

I've noticed most people move on from fights in a way I find weird. Like they'll just seem to forget about it, and act like it never happened, without solving the problem. Others don't do this.

I had an idea about the difference in perspective.

Most people fight in an emotional way. Once the emotion fades, the issue is usually done for them. Sometimes the issue is unignorable and they can't do that, but they can ignore a lot, even if it's very unreasonable and self-destructive.

By contrast, I think some people look at problems more logically. So e.g. sleeping, or relaxing with the TV for 2 hours, doesn't change it.

This can lead to conflict. One person can no longer be emotional and want to act like a problem never happened. They don't want to revive bad emotions by focusing on that problem. And the other person can logically see the problem still exists and want to try to cooperatively solve it.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (5)

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Disney Movies Are Immoral Propaganda

i'm watching Frozen. i watched aladdin trilogy yesterday.

the messaging is really evil

like the let it go song, and the stuff about crazy.

and everythign about love

it's life ruiningly bad ideas

and the approach to emotions

aladdin is full of lying and forgiveness

all of them are full of non-communication problems

jasmine forgives aladdin's repeated lies b/c she FEELS GOOD when doing romance with him

iago reminds her of how she felt on a date with aladdin, from a couple days ago, and she'd like forgotten. then relives the feelings and forgives him with no problem solving.

the role of music and dancing and clothing in life is bad too in the movies

the movies have major evil like every other scene

like ana and cristof just jumped the ravine from the wolves

and he makes up a stupid lying excuse to still help her – she won't buy him a new sled if she dies.

he also makes an awful comment about not helping ANYONE in the future, b/c of this particular incident

and then she's like "oh u will [come]? i mean, i'll let you tag along"

which is a like intentionally blatant lie

like playing it off cool, but badly. which is a thing

ppl find it more defensible b/c it's not very clever or sneaky or something

being superficially socially uncalibrated IS CALIBRATED in certain ways, contexts, etc

similar to the stuff about "can i say something crazy?" she does with hans earlier

just acknowledging she (claims to) knows what she's saying is "crazy" makes it ok to say

if u want to do something crazy, but don't know it's crazy, that'd be bad

but if you know it's crazy and want to do it anyway, and it's the right kind of thing, now that's good

it's partly a massive dishonest exaggeration of their deviance

makes them more unique, rebelliious, non-comformist, quirky

but what was her "crazy" idea? a very old trope. love at first sight. a princess marrying a prince she doesn't know well.

it's convention masquerading as craziness

the movies are like this THROUGHOUT

evil after evil after evil

the world doesn't want the information that disney is evil propaganda that destroys their children. which isn't really accurate. it's just selling the kids on the same bad ideas their parents already have and are selling too.

ppl need to learn to see it themselves, not be told the points individually by me

a few demonstrations and examples are good. but i already have provided hundreds of those.

they meet the talking walking snowman and freak out. very very uncalm, rash, stupid.

disney portrays these large character flaws as fun normalcy for kids.

now olaf the snowman is singing a song about how he wants summer, like tanning at the beach and stuff. he's ignorant of melting. the whole song is teaching kids about how to make fun of people, and read between the lines, and not communicate directly, and how that's good and fun and normal.

cristof is like "i'm gonna tell him" and ana says "don't you dare" in a voice tone.

the message is telling ppl the truth is bad

positive emotions trump truth.

early on there was a really blatant attack on capitalism and trade. calling it exploitation. that's marxism!

ana climbing icy steep mountainside with no gear is like "i'm just gonna block u out cuz i gotta concentrate here"

their interactions are full of kinda mean and hostile and stupid banter presented as fun and good

after failing to climb, ana makes transparent, stupid, defensive excuses for her stupidity, and isn't contradicted

it's not presented that way. the voice tones, atmospheres, vibes, character reactions, etc, all lie about the underlying nature of the interactions.

these movies in general portray problems as solved by people being in the right emotional states, and caused by being in the wrong emotional states. elsa freezes stuff cuz fear. ana is positive and happy, so thinks elsa can unfreeze no problem. but elsa thinks she can't cuz she's being negative. says she doesn't know how. later she will unfreeze without learning how, just by changing mood.

they never have rational discussions about anything

that's just not a thing to even consider

elsa causing problems by literally trying not to feel emotions. her dialog is "don't feel. don't feel". the visual imagery shows she's having negative feelings.

she tries to suppress emotions by force of will, and this works out badly. lesson? embrace even "crazy" positive emotions, like ana. especially love.

the trolls are now embarrassing the fuck out of their FRIEND christoff. singing a song attacking various minor traits he has as flaws. this is portrayed as somehow friendly and just kinda over-enthusiastic. it's got the thinnest veneer of helping – they are asking why ana doesn't pursue love relationship with him, what's the blocker. so then they list lots of potential bad things about him.

it's very intrusive about relationship, and done on initial meeting.

lyrics include saying ppl make bad choices if mad or scared or stressed

which is like explicitly what i was saying the movie's messaging was about emotions

and they don't respect at all that she's already engaged.

the movies portray pets as humans a lot. they also have a ton of selective attention on the main characters.

olaf says "love is putting someone else's needs before yours". so: sacrifice, altruism.

elsa unthaws kingdom cuz she feels lovey

then ppl cheer for ana's petty violence and petty insult against hans.

oh look now kristoff is being super beta and getting affirmative consent to kiss ana

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)

Educators Don't Care For Their Students

Until I cared for my parents (both of whom had dementia), I had never given much thought to caring, or to those who do the caring. Having become a carer myself I realised that there was a whole wealth of experience to which I had previously been oblivious.

Twist: Talbot's job, as a Director of Studies, is basically to care for children [1]. She's never given this much thought. Maybe because she doesn't see the students as human beings.

Twist: Talbot's job, as a philosopher, is to think abstractly. her expertise is supposed to be something like not being oblivious without personal experience.

I admit to being glad my caring days are over. But I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.

It was so great that she'd never ever do it again. What a typical and transparent lie.

[1] her job is a lot more like "care for children" than a typical teacher. here is the intrusive and nasty stuff a "Director of Studies" does:

The job involves, "a level of academic support not routinely provided by [most] other universities." The whole description is a big "WE CARE!" (and therefore we meddle). It's paternalistic and overbearing (and disgusting and evil).

BTW, I tried to check what her job is (the linked description is from a different person with the same job title), but Talbot is too stupid to answer a simple, direct question. It's really fucked up – but typical – that an educator doesn't answer the question asked. How that frustrates students!

I asked if her job was like this description. (She has chosen not to explain her job on her website or on Oxford's website. Don't students need to know?) She didn't say anything meaningful about that question, and wrote back with a very vague statement about what her job is. She did use the phrase that she "makes sure" her will is done, though, which is a major red flag for authority and coercion.

on a related note, Talbot considers the children she deals with to be no more important than animals:

(b) Humans are no more important than other animals

why? relativism and skepticism. their claim is a lack of objective foundations for any knowledge of anything:

This means the claim that humans are more important than animals makes no sense because there is no standpoint from which to make such a claim.

as usual with these things, it applies to itself. by their standards, there is no standpoint from which to make the claim: "This means the claim that humans are more important than animals makes no sense because there is no standpoint from which to make such a claim."

How would we justify such a claim? We do not, and cannot, know how important animals’ lives are to animals.

no doubt they are grossly inconsistent. they demand justification (which is impossible – or in the alternative, assigned arbitrarily) when they want to reject something. but then they lower their standards at other times to accept ideas.

We know animals’ lives are important to animals. Animals will, for example, chew off their own limbs if caught in a trap.

in addition to anti-human, they are stupid. this is a pathetically stupid argument parading as prestigious intellectualism.

a robot could be programmed to perform that action. that wouldn't prove the robot cares about its life (or is alive).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (17)

Don't Fight Your Culture On Sex

Deviant sex, such as homosexuality or BDSM, is stupid. The importance and meaning of sex comes from tradition. If you don't respect, care about and value that tradition then don't have sex. With the exception of trying to have a kid, it doesn't make sense to have sex contrary to its traditional meaning. (The main reason people do anti-traditional sex is a rebellion kind of thing, much like many people are atheists to rebel against our culture. This is bad and people shouldn't live that way. Life should be about positive values, not about petty squabbling with one's society.)

Sex contrary to the traditional meaning of sex is similar to the "stolen concept" fallacy Rand talks about. It accepts some premises of the traditional sex positions (like the stuff about sex being good and important), while also contradicting a bunch of them. The result is illogical nonsense.

If sex plays a traditional role in your life, I understand. If sex plays no significant role in your life, I understand. If sex plays some other role in your life ... wtf are you doing? Don't actively fight with your culture over sex. Do something productive.

Many people believe homosexuality isn't a choice. I don't know if they also believe BDSM isn't a choice. But who you have sex with, and what your ideas about sex are, actually is a choice.

Some of these choices are made in early childhood and people are confused about how to change them later. People also create anger problems in early childhood and are confused about how to stop being such an angry person later in life. That doesn't make anger a non-choice. It's just a bad choice that's somewhat hard to undo later (many bad choices have lasting consequences).

The "homosexuality is not a choice" crowd are very confused. They say it's genetic. But if it was genetic it'd be easier to change. Hair color is genetic and is changed by dye. Eye color is genetic and can be changed with colored contacts. Having a right arm is genetic, but can be changed with an axe.

What's really hard to change in life isn't genetics, it's memes. Genetics offer a limited obstacle but don't actively do anything to stop you from changing. Memes aren't set in stone at birth, like your DNA; memes can adapt as you try to change. Static memes also have much more knowledge in them than your genes.

Homosexuality isn't all that hard to change. The reason people find it very hard to change is because they're really, really bad at changing. Plus they generally give up without trying, or don't want to try to change.

The reason changing is hard is that people hate thinking. If they liked thinking they'd participate in rational discussions, but they don't want to do that.

To be clear, I am not recommending homosexuals and others change right now. Many of them have bigger problems that they'd be better at solving. E.g many of them are parents and ought to stop hurting their children as a higher priority. Anyway, pointing out mistakes and problems is valuable and worthwhile, but doesn't imply those mistakes and problems should be one's immediate focus for change.

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