Archive

Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

How India Managed to Botch its Response to Second COVID-19 Wave

May 28, 2021 14 comments

A few weeks ago, you might have heard endless articles about the COVID-19 situation in India was horrible and “medical system had collapsed”. At that time, I wrote a post about almost nothing you read or heard from English Language Media (ELM) in India or Main-Stream Media (MSM) in West was factual or reflective of ground reality. Readers might be interested to know that, since then, the situation in most parts of India has improved quite considerably. As I had predicted, oxygen shortages have pretty much disappeared and availability of other important medications has also improved. However it is also very clear that the Indian government (at all levels- from central down to local) did botch its response to the second wave of COVID-19.

So.. let us now talk about why they botched it up so badly and also why their screw-ups did not ultimately hurt the national response to the second wave- starting with the later.

1] The biggest reason why multiple iterations of incompetent governments and bureaucracy have not been able to destroy India comes down to the fact that vast majority of people in that country simply ignore or bypass whatever brain-dead plans, rules and regulations those two groups come up with. While some white-worshiping brown morons in West might see that as “wrong” or “corrupt”, the simple reality is that ignoring or actively flouting bad, stupid or actively dangerous rules and regulations is a sign of intelligence. It also tells you that the elite in India, unlike their Chinese counterparts, have no interest in the betterment of people living in that country. Oh ya.. they also have little to no contact with reality.

2] Which brings us the first way in which the Indian government and bureaucracy screwed up their response to second wave- namely, by ignoring the input of their medical professionals. As I mentioned in one or two of my previous posts on this topic, it was common knowledge (based on large serological surveys) that the first wave of COVID-19 in India had exposed about 20-25% of the population to that virus. That translates into 75-80% still having no exposure to COVID-19. In other words, a larger second wave was inevitable. It was really a question of when, not if, that would occur.

3] Based on how things went during the first wave , it was also clear that shortages of oxygen for treating hospitalized (but non-ICU) would be an issue during a second wave- especially in smaller cities where such medical facilities are often less than adequate. It was also known that the richer segments of urban India and much of rural India had largely escaped infection during first wave. The point I am trying to make is that any non-retarded person could have correctly figured out where and how hard the second wave would strike. But the government (at all levels) and bureaucracy simply ignored the likely consequences of data produced by their own professionals- perhaps, because they had the ‘wrong’ skin color.

4] Instead they listened to white people from the West who had “credentials” from “famous universities”. They did so in spite of the fact that these same white “experts” had been unable to control COVID-19 in their own countries. They did so despite the very obvious fact that all the NPI measures (social distancing, face masks, lockdowns etc) had not worked in western countries. The Indian system (political leadership and bureaucracy) kept pushing for drugs of dubious efficacy such as Remdesivir while often ignoring ones such as Ivermectin that seem to reduce hospitalizations in high-risk groups. Nor did they seriously explore other drugs such as Doxycycline, Colchicine or Indomethacin. Luckily, most Indians ignored their government.

5] The Indian political leadershit (at all levels) ignored the negative consequences of (even partial) lockdowns in a country with so many people dependent on day-to-day jobs for survival. They made no serious attempts to adequately compensate poor people for the loss of income from these stupid partial lockdowns. They ignored the way cities and towns in India are laid out and how and how that makes the bullshit scam of ‘social distancing’ impossible. They ignored the fact that outdoor transmission of that virus is far less frequent than indoor transmission. They pretended that non-specialized face masks were effective at blocking transmission. Luckily, once again, most Indians ignored their government.

6] The Indian government (at all levels) and bureaucracy ignored the reality of how many medical facilities and personnel they had. That is why they made a series of brain-dead decisions such as using hospital beds to treat people who required supplemental oxygen but were otherwise likely to recover. It would have been far easier to give such patients a couple of oxygen cylinders + medicines + oximeters and send them home or to some nearby non-hospital facility so that the hospital beds could be used for those who really needed specialized medical attention. You know.. basic triage. This would have prevented hospitals in small cities and large towns from being temporarily overwhelmed.

7] The government and bureaucracy also did nothing to give people a real picture of their relative risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. This is especially relevant in India, where the median age of population is lower than the West. As you know, the risk of death or even hospitalization from that illness is much lower in people under 50-60 than in those above 70-80. The vast majority of population in India is below 50 and not especially obese. For this group the risk of death is less than 1 in a few thousand. For those under 20, the risk of death is even lower- approaching 1 in 100k. However the Indian government (at all levels) never systematically explained this to people or used it to formulate policies. Instead they imitated the West and pretended that the virus was also dangerous to younger age-groups.

In summary, the Indian government ( at all levels) and bureaucracy fucked up at multiple levels making something that was almost inevitable much worse than it should have been. Luckily, the virus has spread far enough in India to start running out of new hosts- which is why the number cases in many parts of that country has fallen by over 50% in past three weeks. In summary, almost all bad decisions made by Indian government and bureaucracy were due to deliberately ignoring their own professionals and data while blindly imitating mistakes of western countries + no willingness to honestly consider the real-life infrastructure constraints and logistical issues inherent to implementing their decisions.

What do you think? Comments?

Why SAT and Other ‘Competitive’ Exam Scores are Fairly Worthless

May 21, 2021 19 comments

Readers might have recently heard about some “famous” universities in this country deciding to stop considering SAT scores when making decisions about admissions. You might have also heard about how this change is discriminatory towards East-Asian students who apply to those universities. A few “intellectuals” are even claiming that this will somehow lead to a reduction in the quality of graduates from those universities. As you soon see, I have a lot to say about this and it might not be what many of you might have guessed.

With that out of way, let me start by telling you the harsh but obvious truth. Admission to “elite” universities have never been about competence or ability- because you cannot reliably measure either with fake “tests” with little connection to reality. Instead, admission to such universities is nothing more than the modern version of attestations supporting noble birth. In case you are wondering, such certificates and proclamations were often issued by high church authorities in the middle ages to provide legitimacy to people from humble backgrounds who scammed, bought, murdered or slept their way into power.

But why were such attestations of noble birth necessary in the first place? Well.. the middle ages, like most times in human history, were a shitty time to be alive. Consequently almost everybody was constantly grasping for more money, property and power. But those who were already in power wanted to prevent successful usurpers from replacing them. They therefore invented the myth, supported by the church, that only those of “noble blood” (lineage) could hold certain offices and positions. While this scam worked well most of time, the established order often collapsed and replacements were often not related to previous bunch of nobles.

The church and lesser “nobles” came up with a workaround for this recurring problem whereby a fake ‘noble’ lineage was often created to justify the claims to power for new clan in power. Sometimes they were able to vaguely connect the new clan’s lineage to the old one, other times they just made up some bullshit which would not sound too ridiculous. Over time this process was also used to legitimize the future claims for biological children of “nobles”, especially if there were widespread rumors about their real paternity. Now here is another funny fact.. even a cursory reading of history (European, Asian etc) show a total lack of correlation between having ‘noble” ancestry and being a successful and long-lasting baron, duke, king, emperor etc.

While we don’t have people of “noble” ancestry ruling the vast majority of countries today, a very similar system is used to justify who occupies similar rent seeking positions in modern society. In the Anglosphere, this takes the form of being “accepted” and “educated” at “elite” universities. But why? Well.. because the justification for occupying a position of power has changed from having “noble” ancestry to deserving it due to possessing “merit”. See.. it is kinda hard to openly say in our age that being rich and powerful has everything to do with blind luck of birth or what many would consider to be criminal behavior.

Enter the secular equivalent of medieval clergy, aka the universities, who promise to justify the claims to power for anybody who has reached that station by some combination of luck and criminal behavior. And this is why the progeny of really rich people can always get into any “elite” university they want, unless they are actually retarded. East-Asians who dutifully ace SAT and other exams are being either stupid or deliberately thick if they imagine that jumping through those hoops (like a well-trained dog) will land them a spot in an “elite” university. These institutions are all about reproducing existing the existing power status structure and maintaining status quo. As things stand right now, East-Asians don’t have that sort of power in North America and rest of Anglosphere.

And let us be realistic about something else. SAT and other “competitive” exams do not measure real-life ability or competence. Instead, they measure how desperate somebody with a little-more-than-average intelligence is to perform fellatio on those who currently wield power. There.. I said it! These tests measure how good somebody is at being a submissive prison bitch who can give good head. But wait.. some of you might say.. don’t those test measure reasoning ability, verbal skills and other mental abilities which predict “intelligence”. Well.. not really! At best, they demonstrate that successful test-takers are not brain damaged.

But.. but.. some of you might protest.. don’t those tests have all those elaborate questions which measure reasoning and verbal ability. My reply is as follows: those tests measure the ability of test-takers to read the questions in one particular way to provide a certain type of answer. Confused? OK.. tell me why have average and median test scores increased over past four decades? Have the tests become easier? Have the test-takers become smarter? Or are they getting more direct and indirect coaching about acing such tests? Since humans haven’t evolved a lot in past four decades, we have to conclude that either the tests have become easier or test-takers are being coached better to jump through those hoops.

But wait, there is more. Have you noticed that past four decades have also been a time of severe technological stagnation in the West. Isn’t it odd that an era when increasing number of students getting record high scores is also the era of technological stagnation. Isn’t it ironic that all these “smart” people who claim to want make this world a better place have achieved the opposite results. Why do so many of the breathless press releases touting recent advances in science and tech from “elite” universities almost never translate into anything usable. Why, for example, has life expectancy at birth stagnated in Western countries for past 2-3 decades? Why is our space launch technology still stuck in the early 1970s? I could go on.. but you get my point.

All of this “meritocracy” has caused more stagnation, increasing regression and an overall lack of everything it was supposed to provide. Consequently, we now have a couple of generations of shitty and incompetent people whose only claim to power is that they went to certain “schools” and universities” or have the “right” credentials. To make matters worse, increasing the number or percentage of desperate losers.. I mean, people with high SAT and other exam scores.. in “elite” universities will only make this shitty situation even worse. In summary, the only people who obsess over “meritocracy” are those who have neither the luck and money nor any real competence and ability. They don’t matter, so let us treat them accordingly.

What do you think? Comments?

How Did the Price of a Median House in North America Exceed 500k?

May 16, 2021 13 comments

While browsing through cable channels when bored, I often stumble upon shows and channels which would have otherwise escaped my attention. One of them is HGTV. Most of you might know what I am talking about, but in case you don’t- it is a channel almost totally devoted to buying, selling and renovating houses or condos (mostly in North America). While occasionally watching shows on that channel, I started to notice some rather peculiar things about housing in North America. One of them was especially peculiar.. see, with exception of cities in Texas, Nevada and some states in South-Eastern USA, the median house appears to cost over 500k and median condo is over 300k. Initially I thought that this was due to the selection of houses and condos depicted on that channel, however a little bit of online research revealed that the houses depicted in many HGTV shows were (at most) just a little bit more expensive than the median half-decent house (or condo) in those cities- especially if they were also located in the ‘right’ neighborhood or school district.

And this got me thinking.. how did we reach the point where a median house in most cities and metro areas cost over 500k? Also, how did the median 2-bedroom condo start costing over 300k in those same areas? This is not a trivial question because we have been through a housing bubble between 2002-2008, which burst in 2009, causing a few million people to lose their houses and leaving many more owing more to banks than those houses were worth. To make things even more mysterious, the people who should be buying houses (those between late 40s-late 20s) have huge student loans to repay, insecure and poorly paying jobs and a much smaller percentage of national wealth than their parent’s generation. In other words, the generations who should be buying all those houses are too indebted, plain broke, unmarried and childless to buy up all those older houses from their current owners- let alone pay for newer and often more expensive houses and condos. So what is going on?

But you know what makes this even more bizarre.. rents in most North American cities are also rather high. Which brings me to a series of interesting comparisons with housing in other parts of the world. Let us start with Japan and South Korea. As most of you know- both have lots of people (~ 126 M, ~ 52 M) even though they don’t have much land, especially of the type suitable for building cities. And yet.. the median person or family in those countries can easily afford to buy or rent the median dwelling. Now some of you might say- the apartments in Japan and South Korea are very small compared to their equivalents in USA and Canada. Well, as it turns out.. the median apartments in those countries are only about 20% smaller than their equivalents in equivalent North American cities. Just because young white English-language tutors cannot afford normal apartments in those countries when they first move there doesn’t mean that everybody there live in shoeboxes.

What makes this comparison even more interesting is that the average person in their mid-20s with an entry-level job in both countries can afford to rent a nice 1-bedroom apartment, pay for everything from food and utilities to medical insurance and still manage to save 15-20% of their paycheck (after all the normal deductions). Curiously, doing the above for possible for the equivalent person in almost every single city in USA and Canada (possible exception of NYC and LA) until about twenty years ago. Something pretty fundamental has changed in North America (and UK + a couple of West European countries) during past two decades. Some of you might think that affordable and decent quality housing is an East-Asian thing- but I will provide more examples to show you that this is not the case.

Let us now move on to Germany. Once again, we see a fairly dense developed country where rents (and prices) for housing are still affordable for the median person. Yes.. I am aware that certain parts of a couple of German cities (Frankfurt, Munich) can be quite pricey, but the comparison between affordability of housing in German and American cities still strands. Did I mention that the unemployment rate is lower in that country than USA or Canada? The same holds for many West-European countries such as France, Italy and Spain. Even traditionally expensive countries in that region such as Switzerland, Netherlands and Sweden are not especially unaffordable if you have a median job in those countries. My point is that rent and mortgage costs for housing in most metros in North America (other than certain parts of USA) consume a far higher percentage of the median post-deduction paycheck than almost any other developed country- and it often does that by a pretty large margin.

To make matters worse, most young people in this county have many other non-optional and recurring expenses such as student loan repayments, private medical insurance, automobile loan repayments etc which are either non-existent or avoidable in other developed countries. All of which brings me to the central question of this post- who or what is propping up the exorbitant prices (and rents) of houses and condos in most metro areas of North America? While this observation is most applicable to USA, many metros in Canada (such as Greater Toronto Area, Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton) also display the same disconnect of housing prices and rents to median income of their residents. I find the Canadian numbers especially odd as most cities there have shittier weather than equivalent American cities.

What do you think? Comments?

Younger Generations in West Losing Touch with Physical Reality: 2

May 12, 2021 21 comments

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about how the West (but especially its younger generations) have lost touch with physical reality. In that post, I made the point that people below a certain age are unusually eager to believe in technological progress, even though we live in an era where major technological progress hasn’t occurred in every single major area for at least two decades. And that is not an exaggeration, since even widely touted areas of progress such as technology behind highly-integrated smartphones have been around for over two decades. The only thing which has really changed about them is they cost less (largely due to manufacturing being outsourced to Asia) and there have been some incremental improvements in their performance. Curiously enough, these improvements have not really improved the speed of response or general usability of smartphones for a full decade.

People today are even more eager to believe in the promise of technological progress than they were in the 1950s-1990s, when the last wave of such progress occurred. That is why, for example, people want to believe that SpaceX will magically and totally revolutionize the space launch industry, electric cars will magically displace ICE-powered cars or why they believe that silly valley startups will magically revolutionize ‘insert random utility or industry’. You might have noticed that I kept using the word ‘magically’ in previous sentence, and yes.. it was not accidental. These people are displaying magical thinking of the sort seen among true believers in religions and cults. So what is the difference between magical and rational thinking?

Here is an example: what would you you use to treat.. say.. a upper respiratory infection most likely caused by some bacteria? Most of you might immediately say- antibiotics! OK, but which ones? Also why would you not use certain antibiotics? The thing is.. the few species of bacteria most commonly associated with community acquired upper-respiratory infections are sensitive to most available antibiotics. In other words, you could use a third-generation cephalsporin as Cefpodoxime, Cefdinir or Cefuroxime- and it would work very well. But you can almost always get away with using older ones such as Cephalexin, Amoxicillin / Clavulanic acid, Cefprozil or Azithromycin. But what is the connection of this apparent aside to the topic of magical thinking? Well.. because in past two decades many ideology driven doctors have started pushing the dangerous idea that we should not treat sore throats which look very likely to be caused by bacteria (at least partially) with antibiotics.

So why is this an example of magical thinking? See.. while many cases of sore throat are caused by viruses, there is often some secondary bacterial involvement. To make matters worse, the clinical presentation caused by Group A streptococci (most problematic bacterial species for sore throats) is often not typical. To put it bluntly, even if 90% of patients get little to no benefit from taking a antibiotic for sore throats, it will have a disproportionately large therapeutic effect for the minority who would otherwise get much worse or even end up in the hospital. Given that most commonly used antibiotics are extremely safe, it does not make sense to hold them back since the risk of harm from not giving them is thousands of times higher than the risk of prescribing them. This is also why you would user older and more well-known antibiotics than newer ones, even if the later are slightly better than older ones for this condition. But what does this have to do with topic of this post?

One of the key features of people losing touch with reality is that they become unable (or unwilling) to see the bigger picture. So let us talk about some ivy-league morons first came up with the dumb idea that treating sore throats with antibiotics was a bad idea. It all began when metrics-driven styles of management wanted doctors to find quick solutions for combating antibiotic resistance. See.. the biggest real contributors to antibiotic resistance is the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in industrial meat farming and hospitals full of very old and sick patients. However doing anything about these two main causes of antibiotic resistance requires a fundamental rethink of how we do those things. It is much easier to pretend that treating community acquired upper-respiratory infections is a major cause of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Trying to solve the wrong and insignificant problem is another feature of magical thinking.

Now you know why corporations (and mostly white liberals without any useful skills) push bullshit ideologies such as “Critical Race Theory”, “Wokeness”, “Equity not Equality” and a whole lot of nice-sounding bullshit which does nothing to address the underlying causes of problems they purport to solve. But why so so many in younger generation go along with that bullshit. Well.. some do it to avoid confrontation while others for maintaining their relative social position. However, too many wholly or partially believe this bullshit. Yes, I am making the case that a significant minority to slight majority in younger generation actually believe in all that bullshit! But how can I make such a statement- where is the evidence? OK.. tell me how charlatans such as Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi and many others manage to sell so many books. Is anybody putting a gun to the heads of those who buy their books and regurgitate the trash contained within those books?

How else can you explain how “Critical Race Theory” based programs and ideas has been adopted so enthusiastically by HR departments in addition to schools and universities across the country? Do you really think that all these people are getting their marching orders from a few people at top? Have you ever considered the possibility that many of its enthusiastic promoters actually believe in that bullshit? Since we are almost at a thousand words, I will stop this post here. In next part I will show you how this form of magical thinking is behind many contemporary movements such as modern anti-natalism, environmentalism, “green energy”, “recycle everything” and other related bullshit ideas- or how magical thinking behind support for Bernie Sanders during 2016 and 2020 presidential primaries. Here is a hint- it has nothing to do with his support for socialism.

What do you think? Comments?

Preliminary Thoughts on the Current COVID-19 Situation in India

May 1, 2021 17 comments

Many readers might have recently heard something along the lines of how “the second wave of COVID-19 in India has caused the healthcare system in that country to collapse” or some other example of wishful thinking by aging western ‘liberal’ whites trying to desperately get a hardon by lapping up any news about possible mass death of non-whites in “those” countries. Of course, aging and demographically doomed white liberals lack the balls to say that it out aloud. With that in mind, let me help you understand about how things actually work in India and why western media is always especially misinformed about news from countries outside their own. What I am going to write here also applies to how western media reports on many other Asian countries, including China (even in 2021).

1] You might have noticed that almost every single source quoted by western MSM when reporting about India is either a English language media outlet or a journalist who works in those outlets. But why is this relevant? To understand what I am talking about, let us revisit a bit of history. The first generation of elites in post-independence India were almost exclusively educated in pre-independence missionary run schools, went to British universities and were uncritical worshipers of anybody who had a lighter skin color than them. In other words, they had a massive racial-inferiority complex. So how did they compensate for their shitty self-image? Well.. by constantly criticizing and belittling other Indians in the hope of gaining a few crumbs of approval from white people- typical massey sahib behavior.

The English language media in India was an extension of this pathetic belief system, with other self-hating and missionary-educated Indians being its main audience. Western news outlets were, at best, a distant second. Notably, they had no interest in engaging the vast majority of Indians- even those who are were literate in English. In the first two (or three) decades after independence, this bunch of missionary-educated self-hating media types had some real power, but by the 1980s- they had lost almost all of it. Their unwillingness to change the way the saw the world also ensured that neither Indians educated in secular English schools or those who predominately used Indian languages would see them as anything but sadly comic white ass-kissers.

But what is the relevance of this explanation to the topic of post? Well.. as it turn out, after 1991 these news outlets and journalists found a much-reduced second life as publishers of western propaganda and interfering in local politics by coordinating with western NGOs. Of course, they had no real influence on the vast majority (over 97%) of Indians- including those in power, but it didn’t matter as they were increasingly financed from.. external sources. In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, these “news” outlets have done nothing but belittling and berating Indians while exaggerating the toll of illness in that country. This might not be obvious to most of you, since you cannot compare how news about the same incident is presented in Indian English-Language Media (ELM) vs outlets in local languages. But I can!

2] Consequently a lot of what is presented by Indian ELM about news stories in that country is exaggerated and (increasingly) bullshit or outright lies. Did you know, for example, that they were also pushing the idea that casualties were 10-100x higher than official numbers during first wave? Turns out, they were not- but these “news” outlets never apologized for their persistent “mistakes”. So how high were the ‘real’ causalities compared to official numbers during first COVID-19 wave in India. The best guesses, made from talking to a lot of people + going through local language media, suggest a number about 1.5x (50%) higher than the official estimates. But more importantly, the first wave left about 20% of India (over 50% in major cities) immune to that virus. And yes.. those figures are based on multiple serological studies performed at the beginning of this year.

About 150-200k people died in exchange for 250-300 million infections. The mathematically inclined among you might have noticed that this translates into a death rate of a bit less than 1 in 1,000. Which brings us to the ongoing second wave. While the first wave affected mostly poor people living in slums, chawls and crowded apartments in big and medium sized cities, this one is affecting the more well-off in cities as well as smaller towns and everyone in rest of country. So how will it play out? Well.. we know that poor people in India (even the elderly) have an unusually low risk of developing serious complications or dying from COVID-19. I expect that trend to continue. The urban middle-class and upper-middle class are a different story. Too many in this demographic have obesity and diabetes from eating high-carb food (among other reasons).

I therefore expect more excess mortality among this group (per capita) compared to, say, poor people who perform physical labor for a living. However this group accounts for a small percentage of the population on that country. Moreover, we already know that the second wave, though more intense than the first one, seems to be a significantly shorter duration. FYI- this conclusion is based on how the second wave is playing out in the most affected state aka Maharashtra- where its has already peaked. If you still want predictions about final death numbers, I am guessing that it will be about 500-600k (same as USA but in a country with over 4 times more people). I also predict that this will occur before even 50% of population is vaccinated. It is an unfortunate loss of life, but totally acceptable for vast majority of people in that country. Very few are going to miss that 1 in 2,000 or even 1 in 1,000 person (urban areas) who passed away due to COVID-19- especially if he or she was old.

3] Now let us talk about all that hyperbole about the “medical system in India collapsing due to COVID-19”. First of all, India does not have a medical system as people in west (including USA) understand that concept. There is basically zero centralized coordination of patient history, standards of treatment or even payment. The medical system in that country is really hundreds of thousands of small clinics, large clinics and hospitals of varying sizes and resources offering medical care according to the ability of patients to pay for them. Of course, you can still get excellent medical care if you have even a half-decent amount of money. But back to all that bullshit talk about the “system collapsing”.. see, there isn’t a system to collapse, just smaller and bigger nodes which will be temporarily overwhelmed.

To be clear, I am not saying that certain hospitals in some Indian cities are not overwhelmed at this moment- but you know what, they will get back to normal- either when enough sick patients die or they find new resources to take care of patients- likely both. This might sound heartless- but let us be real about something.. most governments in that country (federal and state level) have never displayed any real interest in properly funding essential public utilities such as clean drinking water, proper sewage treatment, electricity production and distribution, decent schools or enough hospitals and clinics. So don’t blame me for pointing out the logical consequences of consistently bad decisions made by elected governments over many decades in that country. It is what it is..

Now let us talk about availability of Oxygen. As it turns out, India makes a lot of liquid and compressed oxygen for industrial purposes. While the big plants for extracting it from air are concentrated in certain parts of country, moving the product to other parts by rail or road is trivial. Also, hospitals usually consume only about 1-2% of total industrial oxygen production in India. In other words, the current shortage of oxygen in some cities has everything to do with bad logistics, price gouging and poor decision-making by purchase departments in hospitals. I expect this problem to sort itself out in next 2-3 weeks. But there is one more thing I want to talk about..

While all of this is going on, the vast majority of people in that country (over 95%) don’t really care about COVID-19- because they know it is fairly harmless for them. They have much more pressing issues in their lives than a disease than almost exclusively kills a few old or fat people. They have survived far worse and have a very different view on relative risks than some aging baby boomer in an affluent west coast suburb.

What do you think? Comments?

Younger Generations in West Losing Touch with Physical Reality: 1

April 23, 2021 21 comments

Regular readers of my blog know that I have written numerous post in past couple of years about how various factions, institutions and entire countries in west seem to have lost touch with physical and material reality. What makes this progressive loss touch with of reality in west especially interesting is that most of people outside its borders haven’t lost touch with reality- and this says a lot about the rapidly and terminally declining influence of western countries. Which brings me to the next and inevitable question- will this loss of touch with reality continue to its inevitable conclusion or will it stabilize and perhaps even reverse itself. While anything is possible on a long enough time-span, it appears unlikely that any significant deviation from current path of self-abasement will occur in near future.

But why am I so pessimistic about the ability of younger generations in west to correct the loss of their touch with physical reality in near future? Well.. there are many reasons for my skepticism and here are some examples of why I think that they might be (in many cases) even more detached from reality than previous generations. Of course, I also recognize that sooner or later a significant minority of this generation will almost certainly go against the current trend of pretending that physical reality does not exist or matter. However, I don’t think that their numbers or influence will be sufficient, barring some violent revolution, to affect the current course of events. Here are a few examples of why I maintain that belief..

Some of you might have wondered about why so many, especially in younger age groups, seem to believe that widespread use of electric and truly self-driving automobiles is inevitable in near future. If you ever go to message boards of sites frequented by autistic programmer-types such as ycombinator, slashdot, arstechnica etc, you will see tons of people who firmly believe that widespread adoption of electric cars and truly self-driving automobiles are around the corner. Fun fact- these people were saying the same things a decade ago. So why didn’t things change to any worthwhile extent over that decade? Some of you might say that the share price of Tesla suggests that I am wrong. Well.. what percentage of automobiles sold today are electric or truly self-driving? And do you really think that this state of affairs will change over next two decades- if ever?

To understand what I am talking about, let me ask you a simple question- why does a new technology replace an older one? Why were steam engines the dominant mode of traction for trains (all over the world) until after WW2 and why was the switch to electric and diesel so quick after 1950? Why did turbojets and turbofans rapidly become the main power-plant of airliners after the early-1960s? Why did the adoption of personal computers explode after mid-1980s? Why did smartphones displace older types of cellphones so quickly after 2008? Conversely, why do we still use Ibuprofen and Naproxen to treat inflammation and fever- even though they are over 50 years old? Why does the toilet look and work almost identically to one from almost 100 years ago? Or why does your refrigerator function and even look very similar to one from over 50 years ago?

It all comes down to a simple question- Does the “new” technology work significantly better than “older” technology and cost about the same or less. Steam engines were dominant until after WW2 because they were relatively inexpensive to build, reliable, easy to fix and had amazing torque. Diesel locomotives became competitive with steam in terms of cost and reliability once the diesel-electric transmission was refined by late-1940s. Once that occurred, replacing steam with diesel locomotives became a no-brainer as they had good horsepower, decent torque and required much less maintenance. Similarly, using electric locomotives on main routes became far more viable once an increase in widespread electrification of many countries occurred in aftermath of WW2.

Turbojets and then Turbofans became dominant power-plant of large airliners as it was much easier to build and maintain such engines with power outputs high enough to propel airliners capable of carrying over 100 people. This is also why turboprops are nowadays restricted to smaller airliners (cost-effective) or military transports (slower but rugged). Also, there are mechanical reasons why piston aeroengines making over 4,000 hp (or equivalent thrust) were never built in any significant numbers. Similarly personal computers boomed after mid-1980s once they became relatively affordable and able to do useful things such as help compose documents, spreadsheets or play games. Similarly smartphones displaced older types of cellphones after 2008, because they opened up entire categories of new possibilities for what users could do with a handheld device.

Did you notice a pattern? If not, let me spell it out for you- Newer technologies displace older ones when they can do stuff better or cheaper or, ideally, both. This is why, for example, LCD/LED TVs replaced CRTs so quickly after 2005. Or why power plants using natural gas exploded in popularity compared to coal-powered ones in past two decades. Hint: it was the cost of building, maintenance and fuel, and not lower CO2 emissions, which made natural gas the fuel of choice for generating electricity in north america within past two decades. That is also why coal-powered power plants will maintain their dominant position in countries such as China, India and many others without ready and reliable access to natural gas. This is also why we use older drugs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen over more newer drugs or why toilets and refrigerators haven’t changed much in over 50 years.

But what does any of this have to do with the loss of touch with physical reality exhibited by, what appears to be a majority of, younger generations in west? Well.. because almost nobody is asking questions such as what are the theoretical and practical limits to rechargeable battery technology, where they are going to get all that lithium for so many batteries or rare-earth elements for modern brushless electric motors. Very few of them seem to be concerned by issues such as the problems inherent in removing automobile wrecks containing damaged lithium batteries off the road or the logistics chain problems involved in building, maintaining and repairing electric cars on the same scale as ICE-powered ones.

Even fewer seem to understand the problems caused by such decisions to the entire chain of crude oil refining which is necessary for supplying starting chemicals for everything from plastics and agricultural chemicals to drugs and specialty chemicals for a gazillion different industrial processes. And best of luck trying to run military vehicles, airplanes and container ships on lithium batteries. To put it bluntly, trying to stop production and use of of ICE-powered cars is a suicide move for any country larger than a city-state or micro-country. And here is what makes this even more interesting.. a majority of younger generations in China, India, Russia, Japan etc have a far better appreciation of these issues than their equivalents in the west. This is not to imply that China or India will ignore electric-powered automobiles. In fact, they will likely adopt them at decent percentages in future for specialized uses.

It is just that no large country outside west will replace ICE-powered automobiles until an option which is cheaper and more rugged/dependable than internal-combustion engines come along. Sure.. they may give lip-service to that idea and sign non-enforceable agreements, but when push comes to shove they are going to keep building ever more internal combustion engine-powered automobiles. However for some “odd” reason, a lot of supposedly “educated” young people in west don’t seem to understand this reality. Even more curiously, they think that the demographically decrepit and technologically stagnant west has any leverage over anything beyond small third-world countries. This belief is even laughable as the ability and infrastructure to make stuff on a large scale has already shifted to countries such as China.

In the next parts of this series. I hope to tackle issues such as the reasons behind younger generation refraining from having kids, acting “woke” and going along with other stupid “intellectual” fads, believing in inevitable major technological breakthroughs which will revolutionize lifestyles when none have occurred for almost 50 years and believing in laughably stupid bullshit such as the viability of peaceful but real political change.

what do you think?

Recent Articles about Critical Race Theory in Educational Institutions

April 15, 2021 10 comments

Over the past few months, readers of this blog might have heard come across the name of a couple of “experts” on racism such as Robin Diangelo and Ibram X. Kendi. However these two are only the proverbial tip of a iceberg of charlatans, all of whom are pushing some version of something known as Critical Race Theory. While examination of the bullshit and lies promoted by that “theory” deserve a series of its own, this post will focus on one small aspect of the damage wrought by the pushers aka promoters of this theory in educational institutions. While I don’t usually post links to outlets/ authors known for their conservative or libertarian views, it seems that nobody else is willing to even give a voice to the dissenting majority.

Link 1: The Woke Meritocracy

Students of color, particularly from immigrant backgrounds, wrote about the psychic suffering that had been inflicted on them by the dominant white culture. They had stories about having to learn to love their curly hair, their “unusual” names—in short, themselves. College applicants—and Americans generally—are increasingly asked to recount how through great difficulty they have succeeded in taking the self as the object of their love, a stage of narcissism that for earlier generations of psychoanalysts appeared not as a challenging achievement too often thwarted by an oppressive culture, but as a falling back into an infantile condition.

Members of less obviously oppressed groups had variant strategies. A number of Asian American students, for example, told me that they had written their admissions essays to demonstrate that they weren’t “like other Asians,” with narratives of how they had to challenge their strict parents and limited cultural horizons to develop passions for, as one wrote, beat-boxing and hip-hop. These are not students’ own stories. Many students in my class received tremendous amounts of help on their admissions essays from dedicated tutors at their high schools as well as private writing coaches. Their letters are a collective output, a kind of shared fantasy of the ruling class.

Link 2: A Professor Pushed Back Against ‘White Fragility’ Training

Nonetheless, a June 18 all-college email noted that the school’s president, Amy Morrison, had “made clear the expectation that all full-time employees attend Friday’s Courageous Conversations” unless they had conflicting teaching responsibilities. Parrett decided to express her qualms about the training during the training itself. What happened over the next nine months was both bizarre and oppressive. Because of a brief disruption that easily could have been brushed aside or handled with a warning not to do it again, LWTech went to war against a tenured faculty member, launching a cartoonishly over-the-top disciplinary process that included the hiring of a private investigator, dozens of interviews, and claims of widespread trauma.

and

In her email to me, Ames doubled down on her claim that Parrett’s behavior in the meeting had been frothingly out of control, writing that Parrett had “started aggressively yelling at folks in the meeting.” At the time, Ames didn’t know I had access to the leaked audio, in which Parrett does occasionally raise her voice to be heard but never comes across as anywhere nearly as aggressive or bullying as Ames described. When I sent Ames the audio file and asked her to point me to where Parrett yelled at anyone, a university spokeswoman who was on the thread jumped in, writing that “The audio speaks for itself but does not reflect Elisa’s visible anger.” Apparently, Parrett was “aggressively yelling at folks in the meeting” but it was the kind of aggressive yelling that doesn’t show up on audio.

Link 3: I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated

My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don’t match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of “oppressor” is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered “oppressed.” All of this is done in the name of “equity,” but it is the opposite of fair. In reality, all of this reinforces the worst impulses we have as human beings: our tendency toward tribalism and sectarianism that a truly liberal education is meant to transcend.

and

However, when my questions were shared outside this forum, violating the school norm of confidentiality, I was informed by the head of the high school that my philosophical challenges had caused “harm” to students, given that these topics were “life and death matters, about people’s flesh and blood and bone.” I was reprimanded for “acting like an independent agent of a set of principles or ideas or beliefs.” And I was told that by doing so, I failed to serve the “greater good and the higher truth.” He further informed me that I had created “dissonance for vulnerable and unformed thinkers” and “neurological disturbance in students’ beings and systems.” The school’s director of studies added that my remarks could even constitute harassment.

What do you think? Comments?

Thoughts on Pathetic Attacks by SJWs on the Legacy of HP Lovecraft

April 11, 2021 19 comments

Over the past few years, a minority of pathetic and unaccomplished SJWs have been pushing the grift of “cancelling” people who might have said something which could be construed to even vaguely offensive. As many of you know, this bullshit “cancelling” has now created an increasingly nasty public backlash which will soon overwhelm and destroy these SJWs and their livelihoods. While I could write an entire series about the patheticness and hypocrisy of SJW idiots pushing this bullshit, this post concentrates on one of the more ignored aspects of their persona aka their lack of personal achievement or ability.

Some of you have read a short story or two by HP Lovecraft. In not, you have almost certainly seen a movie or TV show inspired by his work. Here are some examples: The Thing (1982), Alien (1979) and rest of series, Prometheus (2012) based on At the Mountains of Madness; Hellraiser (1987) and Hellraiser 2 (1988) take their main elements from a number of his books, In The Mouth of Madness (1994) is also based on a number of his books as is Event Horizon (1997). But Lovecraft’s influence on popular culture goes beyond far beyond adaptations and obviously inspired works. Entire new categories of horror, movie tropes and ideas in popular culture which came out of his work.

Lovecraft was the first to write at any length about the idea of non-humanoid aliens visiting earth in past to seed it with life or influence evolution. Technology-based devices which could transport you across space and time and into alien bodies.. ya, he wrote stories around those ideas before others. Isolated and inbred people who become monstrously evil creatures.. well, Lovecraft was the major inventor of that trope. Archaeologists discovering lost cities on earth which reveal remains of humanoid aliens.. he wrote about that too. Incredibly powerful and immortal extraterrestrial entities of poorly defined form.. ya, that too. Extremely ancient archaeological ruins as evidence of alien visitation.. you those too.

His stories treat continental drift on earth as fact, mention aliens using nuclear power to run their civilizations and vehicles and all this before 1940. Wonder where Stephen King gor the idea for cosmic monsters such as ‘It’? ya.. you guessed right.My point is that a lot of what we think of topics and tropes found in post-WW2 science fiction and horror stories can be traced to a guy who died in 1937 when he was just 46 years old. And all of this brings us to why his name has become controversial in the past decade. As it turns out, a guy born in 1890 USA to a old WASP family in New England had racist views about the world! Isn’t that surprising *sarcasm intended*. Isn’t it odd that he was not ‘liberal’ *more sarcasm*.

Here is the thing.. HP Lovecraft held many racist and conservative views, especially when he was younger. It did not help that he was notoriously aspy and meticulously wrote them out for future generations of SJWs to peruse while acting shocked. Having said that, Lovecraft was a far more complicated person than he is often accused of being. For example- he held anti-Semitic views, but ended up marrying a Jewish woman. He started life as a conservative, but ended up being a supporter of new-deal socialism. He looked down on non-western people, but many of his stories are set in the Middle-East, South Pacific islands and other non-western cultures. It is also clear that he had read and had some familiarity with non-western lore.

In spite of his racism, the non-western and non-white characters in his book are almost never stupid or intrinsically evil. If anything, he hated poor white people more than black or colored ones. To put it another way, Lovecraft was not the race-obsessed guy that many SJWs want to imagine. Oh ya.. and he was grew up during the most xenophobic decades in USA (1910s-1930s). The only reason we know about his racist beliefs, as opposed to the millions of others who also lived in USA during those decades, is because he was honest about said beliefs and wrote them down. Also, he was never in a position of power to enforce his beliefs.

Compare that to president Wilson (from the same era) who publicly supported the KKK and re-segregated the federal government. Or what about all those white mayors or governors who upheld racial segregation, residential redlining and tons of other racist policies? He also did not own slaves unlike many of the early presidents, including a few on our currency notes. My point is that while Lovecraft’s racism did influence his worldview and some of his stories, it had zero effect on the lives of contemporaneous black and non-white people around him.

So why do SJWs, none of whom display even a fraction of Lovecraft’s talent, keep writing large amounts of bullshit about how he should be “cancelled”. Maybe.. because they don’t have the talent to write anything as innovative and consequential in the history of american literature and popular culture as him. And here is a long-ish documentary on YouTube about HP Lovecraft that tells you a lot more about the man than some sad-sack SJW ever will..

What do you think? Comments?

Multi-Party ‘Democracies’ are Fundamentally Flawed and Unworkable

April 7, 2021 13 comments

As regular readers know, I have a history of writing about controversial ideas. Consider this as the latest one in that direction. Before we move on to the topic of this post, let me tell you a bit about how I first had this idea. It, years ago, when I tried to understand the reason behind why certain states in India have done so much better than others, even when those in former group had higher levels of systemic corruption than the later. Then after a pause of years, it resurfaced while I was watching vlogs about people living in Japan. More specifically, it came from an odd difference between Japan vs west European countries including Germany.

If you have watched even episodes of Japanology, Japanology plus and other personal vlogs about living in Japan, you start seeing something peculiar in the background. See.. unlike even west European countries (to say nothing about USA) everything in that country is well-maintained, works very well and is orderly. But even more impressive is the fact that average quality of life for people in that country is incredibly good. It goes from high quality and inexpensive food, well-maintained vending machines, excellent convenience stores to well-maintained apartments of various sizes which are affordable to people with even entry-level jobs, public transit that works incredibly well, a medical system which is both very good and affordable. In short, the system in that country is made to work for the majority.

But it doesn’t stop there. In spite of having the highest median age of any major developed country, they can build infrastructure projects on time and budget with minimal inconvenience to people. They were, for example, able to repair all the damage caused by the great Tōhoku earthquake of 2011 far more quickly than western countries faced with smaller disasters. All of this got me thinking- why is Japan as a nation able to keep making things work nicely and get big things done even though it has technically been in a recession for over twenty years. There are those who might chalk this to Japanese exceptionalism or some other moronic stereotype invented why the west. But as it turns out, Japan is far from the exception.

Jut look at how fast East-Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam etc have come from a few decades ago. China has been the world’s largest economy (in real terms) for almost a decade now, South Korea has also done exceptionally well, same with Taiwan. Even the quality of life in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia etc has improved a lot over past few decades. More impressively, the improvement in quality of life for average people in those countries is far more widespread than western countries since 1980. Heck.. even the government of DPRK has more interest in improving the life of people in that country than current western governments have in doing the same for their own.

So what is the common thread running through these successful East-Asian countries? Well.. a person from west might say it is race- however this belief is a consequence of their own ignorance about that part of the world. A far better explanation comes down to the fact that these countries, even the ones which are nominally democracies, are effectively single-party systems. And yes.. the way the Chinese system functions in real-life is far closer to a one-party democracy than a despotic totalitarian system. Here is why.. unlike traditional despotic systems- incompetent people are either not allowed to rise to positions of authority or removed from them once their incompetence becomes obvious. In case you wondering.. this is what voting in democracies is supposed to achieve.

And then there is the issue of corporate capture of governments. See.. unlike multi-party ‘democracies’, countries that are effectively single-party systems are basically immune to capture by corporate interests. That is why countries such as Japan and China can pursue policies to maintain low rents and prices for housing, build good infrastructure on time and budget, ensure maximal levels of employment for their populations etc. This is also why Japan can prioritize the ability of their people to buy high quality and relatively inexpensive food, maintain long-term employment at decent jobs, maintain infrastructure etc even if it means accepting lower rates of profit for corporations. Ironically USA was rather close to a one-party system (in form, if not name) between 1933 and 1973- now widely seen as its golden age.

In summary, one-party systems with some democratic feedback turn out to be far superior to multi-party democracies in real life. A large part of their superiority comes down to the fact that single-party systems with democratic feedback allow long-term thinking and planning to occur. Moreover they are far more resistant to corporate capture and all of the subsequent negative effects than multi-party ‘democracies’. In fact, I would go so far as to say that multi-party ‘democracies’ are only accountable to large corporations and plutocrats. And ya.. almost every single Indian state which has done well compared to the median was effectively a single-party system for decades. Competent governance by people with long-term goals matters far more than levels of systemic corruption.

What do you think? Comments?

Neoliberalism Deliberately Wastes the Best Years of a Person’s Life

April 2, 2021 14 comments

While trying to write a post about why generation categories such as Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z is utter bullshit clickbait invented by MSM hacks, I noticed an interesting trend. People born before the early-1970s in West had access to things such as long-term careers and jobs in addition to reasonably priced higher education, houses and cars. But people just born a few years afterwards (late 1970s-and afterwards) did not get to experience many of these things as adults or just had a fleeting acquaintances with them. So what caused this massive shift in quality of life between those born at beginning at 1970s and towards end of that decade.

Here is a clue- add 20 to their birth years. Those born before early-1970s reached adulthood before 1992. Those born in late-1970s and afterwards reached that point in late-1990s and beyond. But why does this matter? Well.. unrestrained neoliberalism (including “free trade”, “outsourcing”, “privatization” and large-scale financialization became the dominant ideology of western countries. And yes.. it has something to do with end of the cold war in 1991. But what does any of this have to neoliberalism deliberately wasting the best years of a person’s life. Surely such an impact cannot be deliberate.. or can it?

Let me start by telling you a story about changes in the likelihood of academics having children over the years. See.. as late as the mid-1990s, most newly minted PhDs from even supposedly ‘average’ universities used to get decent jobs in universities, institutes and corporations without too much effort. They also ended up marrying and having kids before they got too old to have them without medical intervention. The same used to be true for doctors, other medical professionals and professionals in general. I distinctly remember that those about 5-7 years older than myself somehow ended up in at least semi-stable jobs and careers which turned out to be OK. However very few of my age, or even a couple of years older, have been able to achieve that and this gulf is very obvious.

But how does this have any connection with neoliberalism? Well.. let me ask you a simple question- what is the defining characteristic of neoliberalism as far as education, jobs and lifestyle is concerned? What about intense meaningless “competition” based on bullshit proxy measures of performance for a few extra crumbs. And here is how this translates into real life. Until the early 1990s, it was normal for somebody with 2-3 publications during their science PhD to get a decent and stable job in a large corporation immediately after graduation. Even somebody with 3-4 publications could get a single decent postdoc which would lead to a tenure-track in a university or otherwise stable position in some institute. Let me repeat that this was the norm, not the exception.

Or consider the type of people who ended up in medical school, dentistry, law school etc. Until the early-1900s having a decent GPA, OK scores in entrance exams and a genuine interest in the subject was enough to get into those programs. Sure.. the top 10 or top 20 schools might be more “competitive” but that was it. Since then, people who who even apply for such programs require ever more curated resumes showing tons of “volunteer” and other self-promotion bullshit, exceptional GPAs obtained via grade inflation and other degrees. Today it is not uncommon for people to have masters and PhD degrees before they are admitted in medical school. But does this improve their ability to practice medicine? I don’t think so.

But all of this metric-driven bullshit fake “competition” does do a lot of harm to people who participate in these games. Today it is almost unheard of even “ambitious” young academics to have a semi-stable job and career before they are 40. Most tenured female academics are childless. The same is true for many younger female doctors because they too don’t have anything approaching a stable career well into their late-30s. Those who go into industry do no better since the jobs which are available are quite unstable and everybody knows it. And it isn’t the case that men are doing any better.

The median age for getting your first independent government research grant as an academic is now in the mid-40s. And all of this only applies if you are lucky enough to get a tenure track position. It is also no secret that those who go into industry understand that their jobs are very unstable and rearrange their life accordingly. Even doctors making a decent amount of money are frequently paying their student loans almost a decade after graduating medical school. The same is true for most people who went to law school or obtained other supposedly professional degrees. This problem crosses many fields and areas of economy.

Now let me ask another question- has any of this fake neoliberalism-inspired “competition” resulted in the production of more competent scientists, academics, doctors, dentists, lawyers or other professionals? On the contrary, most peer-reviewed research is not reproducible because it is either fake or based on cherry-picking results. We also haven’t seen a single large fundamental technological breakthrough with positive real-world impact in past twenty years. The lesser we talk about the quality of contemporary universities and academia, the better. The quality of medicine, as measured by effects on lifespan or health-life expectancy, has stagnated or become worse in past two decades.

The same is true of fields such as law where all the extra work has not made things better- even for those who charge all those billable hours. In other words, all of this talk about “competition”, “meritocracy”. “hard work” etc making things better or more efficient is smoke and mirrors. What this neoliberal bullshit has achieved is a large reduction in rates of stable couple formation, fewer or no kids and people working hard on stuff that is useless or worse. My point is that by deliberately Wasting the best years of a person’s life, they have created entire generation of deeply unhappy and mentally-fucked up people. On the bright side, they won’t have enough children to sustain this charade for much longer.

What do you think? Comments?

The Main Reason Why CGI-Heavy Movies are Highly Unmemorable

March 30, 2021 10 comments

Almost a decade ago, I had written a couple of posts about how the rapidly decreasing cost of photo-realistic CGI was changing the production of even low-budget films and TV shows. As it often turns out, I was right and the last decade has seen a huge increase in the use of various types of CGI- especially in low-budget films and TV shows. However this huge increase in use of CGI has gone hand-in-hand a highly problematic trend. The vast majority of movies and TV shows produced in past decade (actually more like 15 years) have been very unmemorable.

To some extent, this is caused by studios milking their “intellectual properties” beyond a point of return (X-Men, Star Wars, Marvel Franchise etc). However even novel “properties” such as ‘Black Panther’ or less-milked one such as ‘Aladdin’, ‘The Lion King’ etc don’t have the long legs unlike similar ones in past. Let me explain this with a couple of examples. See.. the original Star Wars or first Jurassic Park movie created a huge franchise. Moreover anybody who has seen them can easily remember and retell the overall story arc a couple of decades after having last watched it. The Same applies for first Matrix movie, Back to the Future etc. Now try doing the the same for most top 10 movies for each year in the past decade or more.

How many fondly remember the Avatar, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, Up, The Twilight Saga: New Moon or Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Aladdin. Now compare the general apathy for financially successful films from past decade to the cultural impact of far less financially successful ones from past such as Porky’s, Revenge of Nerds, American Pie or even The Breakfast Club. How come low-budget sex comedies from 1980s and 1990s have had a far bigger cultural impact than carefully designed movies costing 200 million bucks a piece? Heck, the original Austin Powers movie has had a far bigger cultural impact than Avatar.

Well.. here is one possible explanation. Let me ask you something.. how many of you have seen a real life tights-clad “Superhero”, Godzilla, King-Kong, Dinosaur, Zombie, Goblin, Elf, Hobbit, Wizard or any of the stuff which studios spent tens of millions on when making those movies. How many of you have seen real-life examples of people doing what they do in those “Superhero” movies? Have you seen multiple buildings destroyed close up? Are you starting to see what I am getting at? Now contrast this to the fact that we all have seen and interacted with tons of people who are thin, fat, hot, ugly, nice and assholes.

All entertainment (oral stories, written literature, movies, TV shows, video games etc) require people to partially suspend their belief in reality. However, the ability of entertainment to connect with their audience requires that they are well-grounded in relatable reality at some level. The first nine seasons of ‘The Simpsons’ connected so well with their audience because the motivations and behavior of characters were grounded in relatable reality. Of course, you can go to the other extreme and have something which is almost unmoored from reality such as ‘Phineas and Ferb’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘Animaniacs’ etc. But there is a very good reason why almost all of the unrealistic stuff has historically been either cartoons, puppets or farce.

Until the early 2000s, the relatively high cost and poor realism of CGI forced movie directors, producers and editors to restrict their use and focus on story and character development. In such movies, CGI played a supporting role to the core of the story. That is why the original Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park type movies feel far more real than their later sequels. They were centered around relatable human characters rather than special effects and characters without any analogue in real-life. The thing is.. over the long-term, people will only care about and remember stuff which has some connection to their reality, even if it is in the form of a parody or farce. The rest is just easily forgotten spectacle.

To make matters worse, movies and shows which are almost entirely based in visual spectacle age far more poorly than those that are not. This is why, for example, rewatching the newer batch of Star Wars films feels so bland when compared to original Star Wars trilogy. Heck.. watching them on a 4K TV is closer to watching a splashy but poorly-acted cinema-school productions than something which resembling movies which cost over 100 million, a piece, to produce. I have a feeling that this MBA and financialism-based model of making movies, TV shows and video games is not sustainable – even in the medium term. On the bright side, very few will remember this phase of the entertainment industry in future.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Blog: Blind Spots

March 25, 2021 11 comments

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog called Blind Spots. It is largely about the many blind spots often displayed by supposedly “smart” and “credentialed” people which are caused by worship of ideas, stories, theories, and signalling. Too bad, it only contains a few posts.

Accountancy is the Priesthood of Modern Life

Like the priests and bishops of old, it has become quite standard for the accountants within the finance function to stand at the apex of influence within our organisations and tell the rest of us what and how to think about business. It is routine that the finance function is more influential than and dictates to marketing and other income-generating teams but it is extremely rare to see the inverse. It is even becoming increasingly common for CFOs to hold dominion over cybersecurity and other IT functions when it would be inconceivable to imagine a finance department answering into a computer science-educated Chief Technology Officer.

and

I’ve written before about the blinding effect abstractions can have on us when we drift into thinking the symbols are more real than the things they were created to represent. Money is a representation of value. A scoring system against which we can grade the worth of real life things. Without the resources to buy with it, it is completely worthless. Accountancy-thought, due to the ease with which costs can be counted compared to benefit, or money can be counted compared to the value of real-life stuff, has led us to develop a habit of over-focus on cash to the neglect of the things that cash can buy, which is presumably what we were all in it for in the first place.

Capitalism is Bad for Business

Commerce is roughly as old as recorded history itself. The later-stage first farmers appear to have been the first humans to trade with one another over 5,000 years ago in the fertile crescent region we now know as the Middle East. For as long as we produced surplus to what we needed, we sold that excess in markets. As things developed further, the demand, and therefore supply, evolved for specialists and skilled tradespeople who could work with metals, furs, wood, or pottery. And so the trade in services was also born.

and

In reality, the most far-reaching element of these economic policies was the promotion of shareholder value above everything else in society. When you decide that the most important thing in a society is that people be able to invest in something and sell it for a higher price, it has the effect of turning everything and everyone in that society into a gambling chip: companies, property, even people. We call this effect financialisation. Think of any financial instrument as a gambling chip; it is something you can buy in the hope of either selling it at a higher price or earning a dividend or rent off of without having to work.

What do you think? Comments?

Indulging the Delusions of Mentally Ill People Always Ends Badly: 2

March 21, 2021 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I made the point that indulging delusions of people who are obviously not right in the head is a recipe for disaster. Trying to understand their delusions in order to appear “liberal” only ends up validating them and leads to a constant increase in their demands. This is how, for example, we went from “trans people are vulnerable” to “normalize medical and surgical intervention in vulnerable children” and “trans women are real women”. And as I write in future posts, this is not restricted to performative woke-ism since you can make the exact same case against christian evangelicals and fundamentalist muslims.

But what makes indulging mentally ill people with delusions far more problematic than say the passion of a guy who spends every spare dollar he has on expensive toy train sets or hotrod cars? Or what about a woman who is obsesses with plastic surgery? Isn’t that also a type of borderline mental illness? Well.. yes, many strong obsessions could be classified as borderline mental illness, but almost all of them lack what is (in my opinion) the most important feature of a mental illness. For something to be a mental illness, it has to seriously disrupt or harm the life of that person or those around him or her. Confused? Let me explain..

A guy obsessed with collecting toy train sets or building hotrod cars is not harming their lives or those of other around them. Sure.. their obsession can appear strange to those who are not into that sort of stuff, but it an eccentricity- at most. Similarly, a woman who is obsessed with plastic surgery might harm herself a bit, but it is no worse than cutting, dieting or bulimia. My point is that a lot of what some people might call borderline mental illness is closer to personal eccentricity or personality. They aren’t forcing you to buy toy train sets, start building hotrods or undergo plastic surgery. They might make you roll you eyes once in a while, but that is all.

To illustrate the previous point a bit better, let me give you another example. If you have read this blog long enough, you know that I am into spanking girls and other mild BDSM. So how does this affect the way I interact with women, especially escorts. Well.. my preferences do factor in while searching escort reviews and I am upfront about what I would like. However, I have never forced anyone who is not into that sort of stuff to participate in it. Also, I steer the session into a different direction if the girl is not that much into it. The point is, I understand that others often don’t have the same sexual tastes as myself and have no desire to change it.

Now compare this to the “trans” people and their “cis allies” trying to ‘cancel’ everyone who doesn’t agree with their delusions. And yes.. there is a reason somebody who pretends that chromosomes or genitalia don’t matter is delusional. It is the equivalent of saying that the sky is green because it can appear greenish under very specific and uncommon conditions or that ice is not cold because it warmer than liquid helium. The fact that sky can sometimes appear greenish before tornadoes does not mean that it’s default normal color is anything other blue. Similarly, ice being less colder than liquid helium is irrelevant to our use of ice to, say, cool a drink or it feeling cold to touch. Weasel wording, you see, has no effect on physical reality.

Some of you might say.. it is about their attempts to control others rather than holding onto their delusion of choice- and there is some truth to that. But let me ask you something- why are “trans” people and their “woke” allies so obsessed with something that over 98% of other people see as utterly ridiculous. Why aren’t they obsessed with for example, banning clothing of a certain color or fashion? Why aren’t they devoting their energies towards banning certain cuisines or foods? My point is that their ridiculous demands from other people are specifically aimed at validating their delusions. Their pathetic attempts to control the discourse is as best- secondary or tertiary to validating their delusions.

Which brings me to the topic of Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen by Proxy. In case you don’t know, Muchausen syndrome is a mental illness when someone tries to get attention and sympathy by falsifying, inducing, and/or exaggerating an illness. This includes lying about symptoms, sabotaging medical tests or harming themselves to get the desired symptoms. Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) is a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability. Now tell me if a lot of “trans” culture and the actions of their “cis ally” enablers don’t remind you of these two mental conditions? And let me remind you that many others have said this exact same thing many years before today.

But why are so many people displaying symptoms of Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen by Proxy in 2021 as compared to .. say.. 2001 and 2011? And why is far more prevalent in certain western countries but not others? Also why is basically absent in all other countries around the world. My theory, which I will explain in the next post, is that this increase has everything to do with certain societies slowly decaying due to the effects of late-capitalism, neoliberalism and financialism. In other words, the rise of this social pathology (and many others) has everything to with the institutions of, and social dysfunction, created by a set of rapidly failing governing ideologies.

What do you think? Comments?

Indulging the Delusions of Mentally Ill People Always Ends Badly: 1

March 17, 2021 58 comments

One of the more darkly comic features of our current era is how mass culture in West elevates and celebrates the viewpoints of people suffering from serious mentally illness over those who are normal. And yes.. we all know what ‘normal’ means even if some aren’t willing to admit it. How else do you explain why so many sad morons are willing to go along with the delusional rants of self-important autistic puppets such as Greta Thunberg. This is also the case for many other spokespersons for “environmentalism”- which is basically recycled secular Catholicism. To be fair.. a lot of the so-called Catholic “saints” of previous centuries were not right in the head, so I guess this problem isn’t that especially new.

However, it is far easier to excuse the average person of previous eras for going along with the rants of mentally ill people because the general levels of literacy and education were very low in those times. To put it another way, an illiterate 13th century peasant worshiping some mentally ill person as a “saint” is way more understandable than a university-educated person doing the same in the 21st century. Yet, as we enter the second decade of this century, every passing day seems to bring yet another confirmation that we are in an era where mass culture seems to almost excursively celebrate people who are mentally ill. To be clear, I am not dumping on one side or segment since the majority of famous capitalists and billionaires are just as fucked up in the head as the most ardent environmentalists.

With that out of the way, let us talk about one example of how “mass culture” elevates and celebrates the views of people who are.. well.. not right in the head. Some readers might remember that I have written a few posts about the “trans” ideology (link 1, link 2, link 3 and link 4). And yes.. it is an ideology. While I believe that adults should have the right to request surgical mutilation of their secondary sexual features, even if they are not right in the head, the same cannot be said for children under the age of legal consent- especially if they are being sold a delusion which is totally detached from reality. But why does any of this matter and why is validating the delusions of mentally ill people so incredibly dangerous?

While I will talk about the dangerous effects of believing in “anthropogenic climate change”, “zero carbon energy” and other more mainstream delusions in subsequent posts, this one will focus on the real harm being caused by believing in that ideology- including the now inevitable backlash. But first, let us talk about how incredibly delusional this ideology is and how it has spread. Did you know that within the past two years there have been more than a handful of articles in supposedly respectable medical journals which are trying to say that ‘biological sex is not real’ because of long-known edge examples of abnormalities which occur in less than 1 in 1000 individuals. More than a few medical specialist associations have made similar official statements to help validate that ideology in past 2-3 years. Some might say.. but what harm can come out of these sad attempts by timid people to avoid controversy?

Let me ask you something.. would you keep believing someone who told you that ice was hot or the sky was green, even if you knew that the person was saying it to avoid confrontation with somebody else? Don’t you think that making bullshit statements on one topic affects the credibility of that person on anything else they might say. But why does this matter? Well.. if a credentialed medical person said that ‘biological sex is not real, would you still believe their views on other topics such as treating an illness or the efficacy of vaccinations? Gaining public trust, for people or institutions, always takes much longer time and effort than nuking it. But why does public credibility of professionals and institutions matter? Well.. societies where people have low levels of trust are far less stable and functional than those which do. Even before this latest fiasco, public trust in the medical profession was not especially high.

But it gets worse.. much worse. Consider what happens to journalists who write anything that is even mildly critical of trans ideology. A recent example of this is Jesse Singal. The short version of this story is that he once wrote a mildly critical article about the ideology in The Atlantic. Ever since then, he as been the target of continuous harassment and outright slander by trans “activists” and their “allies”. This has reached levels where these so-called “activists” and their “allies” make up totally bullshit lies about him. However, unlike people who point out that Biden is not mentally all there (which is observably correct) and are removed from social media platforms, there are no negative consequences for the losers making up all these lies.

Which brings us how institutions (including corporations) are handling these trans “activists” and their careerist “allies”. You might have seen tons of examples where everybody from ACLU to Amazon are busy telling the public that “trans women are real women” etc. You might also have come across examples of corporations tweeting their support for “womxn”, “latinx” and other totally made-up names that normal cares about or believes. But how did we reach this point? Well.. you are not going to like the answer. See, all of this ridiculous shit with no connection to reality became prevalent because almost nobody wanted to call them out when these cults were in their infancy. At that times, most people (including liberals such as Jesse Singal) went out of their way to try and “understand” people who were clearly not right in the head. They did so because they wanted to prove their “liberal” credentials.

As it turns out, trying to support and “understand” the mindset and actions of people who are clearly not right in the head only ends up validating their delusions and leads to an increase in their demands. That is how we went from “trans people are vulnerable” to “let us normalize medical and surgical intervention in vulnerable children” and “trans women are real women”. To summarize, indulging people who are clearly not right in the head to prove your own “liberal” credentials very often backfires on those who do it. In upcoming parts of this series, I will show you how the same principle applies to a bunch of mental pathologies found in late capitalist societies. And yes.. there is a connection between these cults and late capitalism.

What do you think? Comments?

Why are ‘Celebrities’ so Prone to Social Contagion and Virtue Display?

March 9, 2021 9 comments

In the past, I have written about unusually high rates of female celebrities reporting sexual abuse and the high levels of narcissism, attention Whoring and extra-woke SJW-ism among ‘celebrities’ in general. It is no secret that ‘celebrities’ (especially those in the entertainment sector) of western countries exhibit a lot of behaviors that are.. well.. uncommon among the general population of those countries. While I have my own theories about the reasons behind the apparent clustering of odd behavior patterns and life-experiences among those who are ‘celebrities’ or aspiring to be one, that is a topic best discussed in a future post. Maybe we can also discuss why western societies require ‘celebrities’ to an extent not necessary for other cultures and countries. Hint.. it has something to do with social atomization.

Now let us talk about another annoying pattern behavior of ‘celebrities’- namely their high susceptibility to social contagion and virtue display. What makes this behavior even more peculiar is that anybody with more than half-a-brain can see the hilarious fakeness of their behavior. Some of you might remember hearing all those jokes about Hollywood celebrities adopting black children from Africa about 10-15 years ago. Or how the children of actors, musicians and models started coming out gay, lesbian, queer etc at record numbers in past decade. While the rates of alternative sexual orientations do vary across different populations, it is a bit suspicious when those rates are 5-10 times those for rest of population.

With that in mind, let us talk about the latest social contagion spreading among ‘celebrities’. Have a look at the picture below to understand what I am talking about. FYI: I cam across this image on Twatter. While I was initially skeptical about the photo-montage, a little background research shows that it is factually accurate. Here is the one about Megan Fox and her son, Gwen Stefani and her son, Adele and her son and there are many more. So what are your theories about why so many ‘celebrities’ are enthusiastic about screwing over the developing identities of their children? Isn’t it also a bit odd that we almost never saw this sort of stuff before 2015-2016. If this isn’t an example of social contagion, I don’t know what is..

What do you think? Comments?