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Morio Murase
I'm sorry, did I blow your mind?
I'm sorry, did I blow your mind?


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Sums up my feelings as well.

I'm going to be as active as time and energy allow, but I'll probably drop off social networking altogether in the coming months. No timetable on that as of yet. The alternatives proposed are either (a) shit management and/or community (Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/YouTube-- though anyone seriously suggesting YouTube is probably a bot), (b) appealing but in an extremely narrow sense (Twitch/Discord), or (c) extreme minority, fraught with problems, and/or isn't particularly reassuring in some fashion (everything else).

I might trawl some Meetups in my area, but this is Orange County, AKA "We must be extreme GOP because California is a blue state!!"-istan...
A Farewell to Google+

Locking down my comments to extended circles once again, this time permanently I think. It's been fun engaging with the trolls on occasion but I honestly have better things to do. And while it feels good at times, it's probably ineffective at persuading folks into believing what everyone should already know, even if unwilling to accept: that Trump, and by proxy the Republican party who have entirely fallen in line behind him, are a grave danger to US democracy.

As I like to say, this isn't a right vs. left issue. This is a democracy vs. authoritarianism issue. History shows that authoritarianism, whether left-wing totalitarianism or right-wing fascism, doesn't generally end well. For recent examples look at Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, or Russia's faux-democracy where journalists and other Putin opponents are killed with impunity. This is not the kind of environment I want to pass on to my children, even though their lily-white skin and wealthy upbringing gives them sufficient privilege to weather the worst of it (until the planet starts cooking itself, anyway). I would have considered a discussion like this ridiculously hyperbolic a mere ~2 years ago, but the downward slide in this direction is now inarguable, with entirely too many folks willing to blindly go along and succumb to the politics of fear and divisiveness. Instead of pointing to the top from which the explosion of political incivility so obviously originates, people cherry pick incidents to highlight their preferred narratives (OMG Antifa!) or parrot outright fabrications (OMG paid Soros protesters!!). The fabled boiling frog is nearly cooked.

It's been nice seeing a slight resurgence in G+ activity, with the news of its impending demise apparently bringing many folks back for a bit. Bittersweet for me. I've never been inclined to discuss controversial topics on the internet with my "real name", but out of some (lame?) sense of loyalty to Google decided to go with it here to help get G+ off the ground even though I (internally anyway) loudly objected to the ill-conceived and poorly executed real-name policy. Despite all my complaints about its directions and functionality, it's turned out to be a decent platform with an excellent community, so overall I'm really sad to see it go. But all things come to end, especially in the fickle world of social networking. Facebook still has been remarkable in its power, to the detriment of the world unfortunately: I consider it enemy #1 when it comes to the spread of mis- and dis-information. Though Twitter is where perhaps the most virulent of all trolls (many Russian-controlled) spread their poison with virtual impunity. At least Twitter doesn't pretend these folks are "real", though in practice I'm not sure it makes too much of a difference. We also shouldn't give YouTube a pass: it could perhaps be the biggest radicalizer of all, with its content recommendation algorithms gently nudging viewers towards increasingly extreme and inflammatory content, rarely grounded in any reality. Young boys seem particularly prone to its influence.

What am I trying to say in all this? I don't know. I've basically come to the conclusion that despite being involved in "social media" since the early 80s (when I ran my own BBS), I've come to regard it as a societal poison. That I might find this to be anything other than a profound disappointment would be a gross understatement. I was far too long naive in my thinking that the internet as a communications medium would revolutionize and spread democratic principles, and foster the truth and rational thinking above all. How ridiculous that all seems in retrospect.

I've thought deeply about how these problems can be fixed or at least ameliorated, but have failed to come up with any great ideas. First and foremost, there do need to be legal repercussions to the spread of disinformation. While this does open up a huge can of worms around the preservation of free speech, in many cases the intent to incite violence with knowingly false or misleading information is clear as day and this needs to be made illegal (if not already) and vigorously prosecuted. I'm thinking specifically of cases such as the deceptive editing of the planned parenthood videos ( which led to a shooting in an abortion clinic. Trump's own statements unfortunately have clearly crossed this line as well. So what to do when the leader of the free world, a malignantly narcissistic pathological liar and unrepentant con man, has no loyalty to the truth or democratic principles, cares only of the enrichment and empowerment of himself and his family, and is comfortable threatening to imprison and/or harm his opponents? At this point in time, we get out and vote. Despite republican attempts to limit voting rights through a variety of unethical and possibly illegal means, it still matters. Let's make sure it stays that way. The other alternative, if you have the means, is money. Unfortunately we now live in the land of Citizens United where "Corporations are People™", and here, money talks more than ever. So donate to the appropriate causes if you can. The other alternatives to change, if they become the only outlets, aren't going to be pretty.

I'll be weaning myself of da 'plus in the coming weeks. If anyone wants to reach me, I'm not hard to find on the web.... No idea where else I'll resurface, if I resurface at all under my real name. I have a Twitter account that gets auto-posted to from G+, but I'll probably delete it since Twitter is such a cesspool and useless at supporting any kind of effective discourse. I'll keep an eye out on the migration discussions, but probably won't actually move to any of the proposed alternatives any time soon.

And with that, this is my last post here. I'll hang around and engage in comments for a bit longer, but for the most part it's going to be a wrap for me. It's been a privilege to interact with so many thoughtful souls here. I wish you all the best.

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I've heard (mainly from teachers; fortunately not firsthand, I definitely would've blown an aggression inhibitor (1)) all kinds of crazy bullshit excuses from parents, some of them are your nasty snake's tongues ("You can't prove my baby did it, what if she's lying??"), others are basically smoke screening everything to try to dilute the actual story (the homeopathic parent?).

I mean, I get it, you want to protect your baby, but think of the consequences: You're teaching your kid that you will bail him out of anything, no matter what heinous act he did; and if that weren't enough, you're teaching him it's OK to lie and make shit up during that bail-out.

The good parents? They demand their kids be honest, be honorable, take responsibility, and they are tough as nails.

These kids' parents? They gave us Brett Kavanaugh.

(1) StarCraft joke. "Gimme the damn access codes before I blow an aggression inhibitor!!"
Strangest argument heard in defense of the Covington School students:

... that, near the end of the encounter, several of the MAGA-hat wearing teens were ‘chanting with’ Phillips and his people.

In a Native American language.

I find that hard to believe. Again, I acknowledge my own experience (sing-song gibberish mocking Cantonese was directed at me frequently as a child), but shall we dispense with the nonsense and stop trying to paint the young men as hapless innocents?

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Too right. The text isn't grey on grey.
I found this in an alternate timeline. Sorry, not applicable in this continuum.

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There's a "Hide from the editor" o'clock in the Japanese version.

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For too many people, they think these are unrelated, or worse, perfectly normal. That's privilege.
White privilege starts here, teaching young white men that they can get away with anything.

(Young white women are taught to hate too, but that takes a different form. Not letting anyone off the hook by examining a particular facet.)

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I'm sure this gives special effects guys ideas.
I think it's fair to say that this is not how the experts merge multiple exposure images of an eclipse.

Either that, or I got an excellent photo of the Death Star.

I just read a shit ton of comments on slashdot saying the MAGA Catholic teens did nothing other than stare and smile. I wouldn't be surprised if these same SOBs would try to enact a law banning black men from doing the same thing to them.

Considering the insanely loud music at sporting events, I'm rather surprised there isn't severe hearing loss reported from participating athletes. Or maybe I just need to Google it.
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