Monthly Archives: March 2017

1000s of kanji

I think the hardest thing in life is often to keep going at things that seem quite impossible. I fond two new books at the “local book depot”, and found I’ve forgotten the characters for “kireii” or beautiful. I cannot remember the book I read about Eastern Washington state when I was in 4th grade, which isn’t surprising given how many years have passed.

Realistically I might not ever learn all those kanji, and more importantly remember them. Maybe I have too much ADHD, but more importantly I’m not motivated enough, and my circumstances don’t give me any deep reasons to learn them. I don’t have a spouse waiting for me in Japan, I’m not really proud of some kind of Japanese heritage, I don’t have a great job waiting for me there, and I’m unimpressed with the skepticism towards intellectualism that passes for deep literature there as they glorify the intuitive (read: empty spiritualism/mysticism.)

And as I age, the “cool things” (of Japan, though I say this universally also) become less relevant, especially as I know I’ll stop being cool and can’t be some glorious hipster when I’m 60 years old.

It’s really hard to study the kanji for more than a few minutes without wanting to go up and go home, which I guess I’ll do today. Sigh…Learning is a grind and I don’t know if I can even remember what I study. But…if you’ll give yourself a chance to study like a diligent scholar maybe I can be a hero, iie, a legend that never dies.

It would be so great if I could just boost my working Japanese vocabulary by 100 useful phrases. And then maybe even learn 1000 kanji.
If there’s ever evidence I’m really moving to Japan, and that I can actually retire there, I think it will be a hell of a lot easier to study my ass off, so let’s procure some of that evidence asap.

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Putting together Trump’s cabinet picks

A corporate-theocratic alliance is set to expand in America as Trump has appointed to his cabinet regulators who are antagonistic to the departments they run, to sabotage them and capture them for private interests, if they aren’t outright dismantled once the gears ground to a halt from sheer incompetence and there is an excuse to gut them further. Devos does not even believe in evolution, and will effectively dumb down education at public schools while elevating funding to charter schools.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/trump-education-secretary-betsy-devos-a-win-for-the-christian-right-w470605

Other examples of planned sabotage that I can remember:
Appointing Rick Perry who wanted to dismantle the dept. of energy, a name he forgot, but which he now runs.

Appointing an Exxon CEO associated with a Climate Change disinformation campaign to regulate the EPA. He is now under investigation. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-budget-epa-idUSKBN16N0E1 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tillerson-email-idUSKBN16O04O

Appointing the corporate billionaire who founded the World Wide Wrestling Foundation to manage the small business administration, rather than someone with a background and interest in advocating for small businesses.

Appointing the attorney who advised Alibaba during their IPO to manage the SEC. (Alibaba relocated to the US for an IPO because Hong Kong actually has more stringent restrictions on preferred stock, to prevent investors from buying stock that in effect doesn’t give you  voting rights, thereby allowing an incompetent CEO with a minority of shares to stay in charge even if over fifty percent of the company want to kick him out.) I’ve suspected Alibaba ever since the IPO and now the SEC is investigating their accounting practices.

I expected deliberate conflicts of interest like this, and it appears that my studies within private industry (which encouraged keeping up with business and political corruption in the news) gave me insights to make better predictions than the average voter. The questions that should have dominated the election were hardly whispered – what is Trump’s background, experience, motives, and management style, and how sound are his policies? But the election instead hinged on the theme of fear on both sides, because most people still vote on emotion, rather than mainly discussing the best policies for the economy. All of the philosophy blogs I frequent have lamented the massive failure of critical thinking in the last election cycle.

At least he’s gonna make Russia great again.

Trump lambasts a nuclear deal without even knowing the name of it

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15O2A5

Trump tells Putin Obama did a terrible nuclear deal that wasn’t in America’s best interests. Putin asks if he wants to extend the deal. Trump pauses the conversation to ask his aides what the deal he was lambasting is even talking about.

Continue reading Trump lambasts a nuclear deal without even knowing the name of it

Botnet conspiracy theory

When AI botnets are manipulating public emotions with retweets to boost selected tweets,  and hundreds of new news websites have sprung up for SEO, you can see traditional media and discourse fragmenting, because laymen aren’t aware of the technology. Alongside the increased prevalence of blatant lies which are believed through a cult mentality, it’s more evidence that the consensus of philosophy blogs is right about how we have entered the post-truth Era. (This link believes automated programs further further tipped the public discourse toward talking about what Trump wanted to talk about, and when a politician dominates the discussion you’ve already lost.)

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage

Sometimes I wonder if some of the people who follow my blog and just mindlessly click “like” are actually bots. Of course I don’t know if bots influenced the election significantly, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence that bots have been used on youtube, twitter, chans, and on social media platforms, so I’m inclined to believe that billionaires would use them if they are legal and they had the chance. It was a close election, and every little bit helps.

China prepares to bribe Trump

 

China is getting ready to exploit Trump’s conflict of interest, via more giving more access to trump brands, AKA “bribes.” Once Trump’s business lines come in, China will be able to threaten to cut Trump out at any time. Chinese officials and the Chinese billionaire partners they can threaten, will also probably buy large amounts of Trump’s luxury products when they want to do legal bribes.

https://w ww.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-china-trademarks-idUSKBN16F2JP

 

Honestly there is so much going on with Trump I cannot record it all. I don’t even try, when there are so many lies, conflicts of interest, and signs of corruption.

Funeral Poems suck when you’re an Atheist

Being an Atheist makes funerals with burials especially tedious. There’s an unbelievable amount of mysticism and ritual, and I realized that I don’t think our culture is as emotionally mature as the Pirahã tribe who don’t believe in an afterlife, and just calmly think “Well, death sucks, but it happens.” Their Amazonian tribe buries their dead without any ceremonies, and without a coffins.In our culture we have days of viewings, we beat our chests to show our grief, pray, sing, recite poems, write  melancholic speeches called eulogies, and pay priests hundreds of dollars to preach at a funeral and sometimes talk about someone they probably haven’t even met. We make food and take photos, we look at pictures of the dead, put on suits, have pallbearers wear gloves, and drop flowers on the grave, we greet dozens of people and send cards with condolences, and if they’re Catholic or it’s a military funeral there’s even more pomp to keep you from doing anything else on that Sunday. And it’s not even over yet because anyone who pays four times more for burial rather than cremation is going to come back to the grave again.

Anyway, I was asked to recite a death poem at a funeral for Christians. What should I have done? I was seriously tempted to just troll them and quote Euphrates, or use a Japanese death poem:

Continue reading Funeral Poems suck when you’re an Atheist

Breaking out of the Post-Truth Era

 

Philosophy blogs have virtually unanimously pointed out that with the election of  reality-star Trump to the presidency (perhaps the most blatant liar to become a president in living memory or longer,), we have clearly passed into the post-truth era. An emotion-driven era when the majority of the population casually disregard objective facts, and choose to believe the lies from cults of personality.  Scott Adams is another casualty of our time, to put it charitably, (although; as I’ve hinted, perhaps he wasn’t “captured” and is a knowing a traitor to reason). Irregardless, since he is old enough to croak at any time, it is fairly safe to not waste more time reading his blog in the unlikely chance he will come around again. If we take the charitable view rather than subscribing malicious dishonesty, the Conservative turned Alt Right satire artist is definitely a cautionary tale in how one’s rationality can decline, and I wish I had an insider who could explain how this particular case happened. Honestly that is my greatest fear, and why I’m seriously considering vowing not to vote once I turn 70. Just as not all voters are equally qualified to vote, or  should be heeded equally, in a slightly better  world  the Supreme Court justices would actually retire before they failed to keep up with the times. 40 years of  a conservative majority in the Supreme Court tapping away at their typewriters must be  the primary reason that our consumer production laws have been gutted since their inception. Although to be fair, judges do drift left over time (probably moreso than the general population), which is probably why conservative radio especially wants to reduce their terms–to keep them from drifting too far.

(The Justice Gerald Ford appointed was famous for shifting to a liberal position in 30 years. Once again reality seems to have a liberal basis to it.)

Considering that most lawyers are Democrats, as are the law schools they graduate from, to the extent that Democrats are liberal or anti-corporate, it must be very frustrating to be unable to reform the law and bring it into the new millennia through rigorous debate. I still believe lawyers are far better than average people at thinking critically about social issues, from my anecdotal experiences talking to them, so it’s a shame to see them held down. I have often thought they could do a better job at running the country than the “official” lawmakers in the legislative branch, especially since they have tended to have better credentials. In theory they would be  less constrained by the Overton window in a world that doesn’t yet value valid discourse. It’s as Churchill said — “The best argument against demoacrwcy is a five minute conversation with your average voter.” – That’s why it oft fails today.

We would probably still need to cut down on income inequality and ensure their job security to keep them from expanding a bureaucracy that favors frivolous legislation – America having the dubious honor of being the country that has the most lawsuits and the highest paid lawyers. I haven’t solved that problem, and I likely won’t, but believe an obscure answer already exists in the hidden knowledge within the  fields of ignored management literature. If we valued the greek agora, and (this is so crucial) had emotionally grounded people, society would develop critical thinking and herd immunity to bad ideas. The real problem with religion is that it is an obstacle to clear thinking; once it inevitably falls away, our exponential rate of discoveries and correction of injustices will only accelerate. There will be no Rupert Murdoch style centralized media networks, no Scott Adams, no blatantly lying Presidential canidates as soon as emotionally controlled logic-driven voters stopped voting on whims or to brag about their tastes and identity, and the lower percentile refrain from voting while the voting percentile actually demand qualified leaders. Being born just 100 years from now would have made such a difference in the quality of learning from conversation. I’ve actually outlined how we will get to a vastly better society with greater general fairness and quality of life, once religion dies naturally, with our most terrible problems greatly diminished, but that first step will take time, and it is a post for another day.