Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Primula Baggins
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Primula Baggins »

This is why I have more hope for scientists than for people in the entertainment industry, even though they have both been bastions of yuck, historically.

Scientists, at least the good ones, have some expectation that they might someday be called upon to examine their preconceptions.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Inanna »

Well, they are called upon to do so almost every single time the data shows the opposite of what they expected.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Primula Baggins »

Yes—I was being dry there.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by River »

Scientists aren't a group renowned for their people skills, though. Just trust me on this one...
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Primula Baggins »

I married one with pretty great people skills. He would have run a happy lab. But it entirely unfitted him for being a manager in bigcorp science. He hated implementing policies that screwed people over and asking them to smile nicely while it happened.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

This essay posted by aninkling on B77 captures everything I was trying to say, much more eloquently than I ever could.

https://harpers.org/archive/2018/02/the ... r-network/
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by River »

Paywall after the first paragraph. It starts out with a pretty sad example of how social media invites a certain lynch mob mentality, though. I suspect it's playing off a natural human tendency to react to reactions (as social animals often do). Makes me glad I've never been into Twitter. It seems...twitty.

**shows self out

**returns

Out of curiosity, Al, why do you keep starting these conversations about feminism or sexual harassment? Why not toss something else in the barrel?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Because I feel its the most topical right now.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Griffon64 »

A straight-up mob mentality is bad.

Harassing, demeaning, or trivializing women* is bad.

I don't see any controversy with either of those statements. They are both true.

I am uncomfortable with people tried in the court of public opinion. Therefore I am uncomfortable with mob swarms on Twitter and I am uncomfortable with statements like those made by Mr George Hook, as referenced in the second post Alatar made.

If you have a problem with one you should have the same problem with the other. If you don't, ask yourself why.

*The phrase "Harassing, demeaning, or trivializing women" stands in for a wide variety of negative behavior and treatment that women are subjected to that is typically not directed at men. We could rehash the zeitgeist around this if necessary I suppose, but I assume that this shorthand is sufficient for this post.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

I'm also uncomfortable with the comments by George Hook. I just didn't feel they should have been career ending.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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River wrote: Out of curiosity, Al, why do you keep starting these conversations about feminism or sexual harassment? Why not toss something else in the barrel?
Since you asked! It occurred to me that although the majority of the media are downright hostile to Trump, his base and supporters genuinely believe he's doing a much better job than Obama did. In fact for 8 years, the right decried every move by Obama and we (I include myself in the left here) more or less laughed it off as petulant tantrums cause they didn't get their man. So is it possible the same is happening with Trump? I mean, sure, we know he's inarticulate and bombastic, but does all this bluster cover some good work?

http://fortune.com/2017/12/20/donald-tr ... lishments/


Again, the point of this thread is not for people to debunk the link, but rather to try to find common ground. So, what have Trumps accomplishments been over the last year? Lets not look for the negatives, they're obvious and plentiful.

What has Trump done well?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Frelga »

Why don't you start us off?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

I did. The link details a few, but honestly, I'm not an American and have only a cursory understanding of your politics. But River asked for something different to discuss, and this felt like a good choice.

From what I'm told, the stock market is up and unemployment is down, so I guess that's a starting point?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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The latest tax bill is a boon to the mid-west low-state-tax states, even the middle class there. It sticks a stick to the blue high-state-tax states, but does lower taxes for the red states. Yes, the biggest cuts go to the top earners, but that does not mean that the middle earners do not get benefits.
I am also in favor of the move that increases the standard deduction - as that incentivizes people to just take that deduction, as opposed to itemizing that taxes. Which a) reduces effort, and b) enables people to file their own taxes.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Of the 3 things that article lists, 2 are highly controversial and would not be considered good by later swaths of Americans. I personally find the highly aggressive ICE policies monstrous. But the veterans thing sounds nice, I suppose, so congrats on that Mr Trump.

Also, the good economy is just a continuation of a trend that started well before his presidency so he gets no credit for that. At best, one can say that he hasn't done anything to interrupt that good trend which like some of his opponents predicted would happen.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

Thanks Inanna

So do you see anything positive to have come out of his Presidency yov?
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

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Inanna wrote:Which a) reduces effort, and b) enables people to file their own taxes.
This is fairly OT (and will mean nothing to non-Americans) but - I've always taken the standard deduction and have long been baffled that so many people itemize. How do people have so many deductible expenses? Have I been overpaying taxes all these years??
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Alatar »

To continue the osgiliation, do you guys all have to submit tax returns? In Ireland we're taxed at source (unless you're self employed) under the PAYE scheme, or "Pay As You Earn". When I get my pay all tax has already been deducted and I have to file a claim if I want to be reimbursed for expenses.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Dave_LF »

Taxes are withheld from paychecks, but they deliberately withhold too much, so you need to file a return every year to get your refund. Also, withholdings cannot account for the infinitude of exemptions and loopholes you can claim in an actual return.

yov, I've only ever taken the standard deduction too.
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Re: Escaping the Echo Chamber

Post by Griffon64 »

yov - as a rule of thumb most people only benefit from itemizing if they fall into sweetheart categories - in other words, they get tax breaks for their lifestyles or other special interests. Mortgage interest deduction is an example of that. We used to itemize for that, but we don't anymore because the interest we pay on our mortgage is now very low.

Back to Mr. Trump's presidency. I agree with everyone here that he can only be praised for not screwing up an excellent economy. For instance, the stock market did better, percentage-wise, under Mr. Obama's first year in office than it did during Mr. Trump's, though that is not necessarily a good measure. It started pretty low for Mr. Obama, and under Mr. Trump it added value into uncharted territory. So there's that, I suppose.

The tax breaks are doing most people some good but there will be hell to pay with the national debt later. The way people think that will be the fault of whoever is unfortunate enough to be president at that time though. The inability of most voters to do the most basic of reasoning about cause and effect guarantees many future disasters.

The energy sector portion of that link ignores the fact that his policies are disastrous to a section of that sector - wind and solar. So the loss of jobs and opportunity there needs to be subtracted from the gains on the fossil fuel side.

I am in favor of any immigration action that actively targets criminal gangs such as M-13 - criminal gangs are a scourge. The rest of it - not in favor. Deporting young, economically active people who can support your aging population is not smart. Look at countries with strict immigration laws and how their aging population is weighing on their economies.

All that is just sugar sprinkles though - a little jolt, no substance.

Here's the real value I think Mr. Trump's presidency brought, the one thing that he can be praised for: he ripped off the band-aid as far as American racism, American bigotry and American sexism goes. We can no longer delude ourselves about any of that stuff. Millions and millions of Americans are actively, proudly, racist, bigoted, or misogynist. And that's bringing out pushback, activism, and conversation like never before. For America to thrive that stuff needs to be addressed, not kept in dark corners. So perhaps Mr. Trump will eventually be remembered for making America great, but with the twist that the push to solve those problems ( as opposed to just suppressing them through social pressure ) started under his toxic presidency.
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