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I am pretty bad with these puns. But this one might just be SSC-worthy.

One of my goals for the rest of Anti-Bolshevik Month is to write a comprehensive alternate history in which the Russian Republic survives WW1.

Randall Parker’s question on Twitter: “Imagine a time traveler goes back to 1913 and kill Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Gavrilo Princip and a few others. How does 20th century play out?

Gave me a convenient opportunity to sketch out the basics: “If you study the details, success of both October Revolution & Nazi ascent were almost freak occurrences. Moreover, latter depended on the former. Very unlikely to repeat. There might not have been a WW1, and not just Pinkerian reasons, but Realpolitik ones. Russian power was rapidly converging to German, making two front war increasingly untenable; hence, German General Staff urged war sooner, before 1916 at the latest. USA and Russia would dominate mid to late 20th century, and more equally; a China on S. Korea’s development trajectory would be surpassing both ~2000 (instead of Russia in 1990 and the US around ~2030 in our TL). Tech in general might be about a decade further advanced, though rocketry might lag slightly. But global warming also worse, since Communism wouldn’t have retarded many countries’ development.

In other news, Andy Weir, the guy who wrote The Martian, now has a new sci-fi book “Artemis” about a 2,000 population lunar base in the late 21st century.

Anyone read it? Is it any good?

Tolkien’s son resigns as director of the Tolkien estate. Hopefully the days of capricious copyright exploitation are coming to an end. Film adaptation of The Last Ringbearer when?

Main

* Top 500 supercomputer list for November 2017 is out.

Although China first overtook the United States in June 2016 by the smallest of margins, for the first time the gap has become truly significant: China – 202; United States – 143.

As per usual, Russia has a grand total of around 3, because the Putin regime prefers the Rotenbergs to R&D.

poland-death-march

* Inspirational imagery from the Polish nationalist march in Warsaw. Vincent Law attended and has a good writeup.

Much more impressive than the sad affairs that pass for such in the Trumpreich and the Putlerreich. But long-term prospects are mixed, at best.

* Lubos Motls: Bitcoin congestion singularity may be coming. Can’t really serve as a normal means of exchange if a single transaction costs you several cups of coffee.

* spandrell: Biological Leninism.

* Scott Alexander: Book Review: Legal Systems Very Different From Ours

They feared that a written law code generally available would lead to rules lawyering and supported unequal treatement based on the unequal status of those to whom the law applied…Some early writers argued against making the law code publicly available. …

Where the offense did not seem to fit any category in the code, the court felt free to find the defendant guilty of doing what ought not to be done or of violating an Imperial decree — not an actual decree, but one that the Emperor would have made had the matter been brought to his attention.

The sections on China were fascinating – it was the definition of Kafkaevschina. And the same order prevailed at the end of the Qing dynasty.

byzantine-culture-world

* Caitlyn Green with a world map of where Byzantine artifacts have been found.

* Gerald Clare: The Forgotten Dream of a Russian Africa

* Alt Left podcaster Robert Stark has a book out, Journey to Vapor Island. B.W. Rabbit reviews it.

Russia

* Russian rearmaments program from 2018-2027 is, at 19 billion rubles, virtually equal to that for the period 2011-2020.

Adjusting for inflation, this translates into a massive cut to military spending.

* New VCIOM poll: While Putin’s approval remains high, indicators of social dissatisfaction nearing the heights they reached around late 2011, when mass protests kicked off.

* Patrick Armstrong: RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 16 NOVEMBER 2017

So now RT America is a “foreign agent“. (Remember all the faux outrage about Russia’s FARA imitation law? No? But it was only a year ago: “Russia: Four years of Putin’s ‘Foreign Agents’ law to shackle and silence NGOs“. Hard to keep up, isn’t it?) In case you think this reflects poorly on the “champion for free speech and free press”, John McCain, channelling Brezhnev, explains why it doesn’t.

* Bershidsky: Russia’s RT Just Isn’t Worth Attacking. Simpler Explanations Are Usually Correct. Even on Russia.

It looks like Russia’s retaliation will be very mild; so far, we only know that RFERL/Voice of America and their various projects will have to register as foreign agents.

* Alexey Kovalev: Here’s what Russians think: Brexit is your creature – don’t blame it on us

* Kevin Rothrock translates Oleg Kashin’s op-ed for the liberal Republic webzine (formerly Slon): When Russians stopped believing in the Western media:

There’s a thoroughly naive misperception that the people working for propaganda outlets are all hard-nose cynics ready to say that black is white just so they can make their mortgage payments. In fact, anyone who’s talked with just one of these people knows that any cynicism that might guide them is something entirely different: it’s not “I lie because of my mortgage,” but “I say what serves the state’s interests because that’s how it works everywhere — we serve Russia, CNN serves the U.S., and the BBC is itself a state organization.”

Hearing this kind of talk, Russians from the independent media of course always laughed, but time has shown that the ones who said “it’s like this everywhere” were right. At the very least, over the past year and a half, the Western press with its highest standards has gifted us too many outrageous stories to ignore.

Kashin is a Russian liberal, yet even so, he is of the firm opinion that the Western media has gone way overboard in their Russiagate hysteria. In this sense, he parallels Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky and Alexey Kovalev, who sometimes writes for The Guardian – both of them are highly anti-Putin pro-Westerners, yet not completely devoid of critical observation, for which they in turn have been accused of being Kremlin trolls by the ROG truthers.

* Joe Lauria: The Creation of RussiaGate

* Russian freedom fighting anarchist Pyotr Pavlensky flees to the West (after a rape accusation cooked up by the KGB… maybe not). Burns down a French book. Neoliberals who praised him when he was pulling his stunts in Russia now practice punitive psychiatry on him.

* Bryan MacDonald: How George Soros’ people enlisted me as a ‘foot-soldier in the fight against Putin’. There are a lot of these scam NGO’s sucking up State Department and Soros money.

* Muh based Putlerreich introducing gender equality law inc. quotas for female % in politics; will solve “problems of sexism, ageism, harassment.”

* Russia Elections 2018:

Will Putin run? Bryan MacDonald thinks there is still a slight chance that he won’t. Will have a separate post on this.

Ksenia Sobchak got a Vkontakte account just this week. Goes to show why she won’t rise above the single digits: All the Russian liberal kreakl tusovka hangs out on Facebook.

World

* James Thompson: Boost your IQ. Important discussion of two recent papers on effect of more school education on later IQ.

* Gregory Hood: The Lie of Law

* Defrosted: Just noticed that Peter Frost is writing again, though at his own website now.

* New study: Moderate alcohol consumption improves foreign language skills (the paper). Funny and so very true.

india-map-gdp-per-capita

* GDP per capita map of the Indian subcontinent. Pakistan used to be richer than India, really strikes home the fact that this is no longer the case.

* The Atlantic has a very long profile of Andrew Anglin. Skimmed through it. Seems like a stereotypical background for a Neo-Nazi.

* Inventor of Ethereum is much less cool than Pavel Durov.

* Bunch of Alt Right/Alt Right people lost their Blue Checkmarks on Twitter (Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, Laura Loomer, James Allsup would be recognizable to many); Baked Alaska got suspended entirely.

This is in line with a new Twitter policy to remove verification from users who “promote hate” (except, presumably, against white people).

However, the real fun will begin on Nov 22, when new rules on the display of “hateful imagery and hate symbols” – developed in conjunction with the ADL – will come into effect. Like schools and workplaces, it will now also take into account offline behavior, as well as “monitor for hate speech in usernames, display names, and profile bios.”

Since everyone born in 1988 is, by definition, a Nazi, there’s some chance @akarlin88 will be shut down around that time. Can’t say I’ll miss it.

* Wrath of Gnon digs up a note on medieval German hospitality.

german-hospitality

I have sometimes wondered about practical logistics of long-term travel in the deep past (esp. if you lose your purse). This helps explain things, I suppose.

 
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powerful-take

It will be the centenary of the October Revolution in a couple of days – the original color revolution that finished off a great and rapidly modernizing empire and handed power to a gang of Russia-hating criminals.

To mark the occasion, the next two weeks I will be documenting the dismal failure of sovok across almost virtually all spheres of life. Obligatory trigger warning for commies.

Featured

* gwern’s October 2017 newsletter

* Not only a good intro to Bitcoin per se, but an original (so far as I know) way of thinking about it: https://blog.chain.com/a-letter-to-jamie-dimon-de89d417cb80

There’s a TL;DR version at the end.

map-becker-world-iq

* James Thompson: The World’s IQ = 86: Test results of 550,492 individuals in 123 countries

Link to David Becker’s database: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3c4TxciNeJZWUx5bzBWZ1BuMUk

The discussion is also worth reading.

* Heiner Rindermann has what appears to be a rather interesting book coming out on January 1, 2018: Cognitive Capitalism: Human Capital and the Wellbeing of Nations

poll-military-government* PEW: Globally, Broad Support for Representative and Direct Democracy (PDF)

Many interesting tidbits there but one table I liked is support for military government by left/right.

Mostly as you’d expect (right more supportive), with the understandable exception of Venezuela – and the less understandable exception of Hungary (unless you read hbd*chick).

* Emil Kirkegaard: About that blog: Italian IQs, Lynn IQs, brain size and doctors

* /r/gorgich: Cultural macroregions of Russia

* Daniel Treisman – 2017 – Democracy by mistake

How does democracy emerge from authoritarian rule?… In about two thirds, democratization occurred not because incumbent elites chose it but because, in trying to prevent it, they made mistakes that weakened their hold on power. Common mistakes include: calling elections or starting military conflicts, only to lose them; ignoring popular unrest and being overthrown; initiating limited reforms that get out of hand; and selecting a covert democrat as leader. These mistakes reflect well-known cognitive biases such as overconfidence and the illusion of control.

Leonid Bershidsky writes about it.

* 39% of French citizens spoke Occitan in 1860.

* A beautiful @WrathOfGnon thread about the superiority of medieval urbanism:

Russia

* Lucy Komisar: The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act Did Bill Browder’s Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?

Attack on RT

* RT: Revealed: How Twitter pushed RT to spend big on 2016 US election; Twitter’s multi-million dollar US election pitch to RT revealed in FULL

kovalev-saudi-propaganda

Even some Russian oppositioners like Alexey Kovalev think it is ridiculously selective.

* RT: NGO publishes names of 2,300+ RT guests, labels them ‘useful idiots who undermine Western democracy’

I was amused to see that Nina Khrushcheva was on there (not sure about the “useful” part, though).

Alexander Mercouris: Blackmail and the latest attack on RT

* Michael Tracey uncovers Twitter’s criteria for being a Russia troll:

We took a similarly expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account. Because there is no single characteristic that reliably determines geographic origin or affiliation, we relied on a number of criteria, including whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user’s display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.

Beware of the Cyrillic autocracy!

Russiagate

* Alexander Mercouris: Robert Mueller should resign

In other words instead of arriving its suspicions of Russian meddling in the Presidential election on its own investigations the FBI chose to rely on the work of two private contractors – CrowdStrike and Christopher Steele – both of whom were found and paid for by the DNC, and one of whom – Christopher Steele – was then passed on by the DNC to the FBI so that he could be paid by them as well.

That makes the FBI look more like an accomplice of the Democrats and the DNC than an impartial and objective police agency.

* But perceptions are another matter.

* Some stuff comes out further proving that DNC colluded with Hillary to give her the nomination.

Real Democrats: Donna Brazile was duped by Russia. Putin is God, etc.

* Latest video from Kirill Nesterov, chief editor of ROGPR podcast.

(It’s in Russian, but mostly just consists of translations of the most “powerful” Russia takes from Anglo Twitter).

* The insanity is not contained to the Left:

putler-welcome-to-resistance

* Daily Caller: Growing Evidence That Russia Using ‘The Resistance’ To Stoke Division

Powerful Takes on Manhattan Terror Attack

Other

* Paul Robinson: Wall of Grief (Putin on Stalin)

* Patrick Armstrong: How I Became a Kremlin Troll

* Chechens organize a queue for the new iPhone in Moscow, selling the first position for R300,000 ($5,000). A few hundred Virgin Kreakls – their idea of “creativity” consisting of being the first person in their tusovka to get a new iPhone – wait in line for a several hours… only for a gang of Chechen Chads to push them aside at the last moment, snap up all the iPhones, and put them up for sale on Russia’s eBay within a few minutes.

* Daily Beast: She’s in Pussy Riot. He’s on the Far Right: How Maria Alyokhina and Dmitry Enteo Fell in Love

Still a better love story than Twilight.

* Affirmative action Kremlinologist Terell Starr: “Ukrainians and black folk share common bonds when it comes to resisting supremacy, whether it is from “white people” in the U.S. or Russia.Memetic response.

Hell

Meanwhile, in the actual Putlerreich…

* Moscow authorities want to install a monument to Islam Karimov in the city center, a Central Asian tinpot dictator who removed all of his country’s WW2 monuments.

What makes this even “better” is that the Uzbeks themselves are slowly doing away with Karimov’s legacy, with their new President inching towards liberal reform and criticizing his predecessor for abuses. So it fails even as geopolitical bootlicking.

Almost certainly pointless petition against this: https://www.change.org/p/владимир-путин-против-установки-в-москве-памятника-президенту-узбекистана-исламу-каримову

* Leader of Tatarstan implicitly threatens Putin with low vote numbers if Tatar language instruction in schools is made non-obligatory (“We made it so that all the electoral processes are done by the directors of our schools“).

The problems of relying on ethnic minority states-within-states to give you a 10% point bump in elections…

* Meanwhile, the son of a Tatar director of a military academy (who is also a member of the pseudoscience organization RAEN) was arrested in Tajikistan for joining ISIS for 2 years. Previously, after completing his PhD under his dad at said military academy (nepotism), he was made responsible for ensuring the security of military R&D communications, and had the appropriate high level security clearance for it. Said military academy to KP journalists requesting comment: “We won’t say anything, the director isn’t here, and we don’t know when he will be.”

World

conferederate-iconography

* @tcjfs: Huntington argues the Confederate monuments to “the Blue & the Gray” were built thru 1920 to foster united American national reconciliation

Seems to parallel Soviet celebration of Victory Day: First Moscow May 9 parade after 1945 was in 1965; then 1985, 1990, became yearly event in 1995.

* Guardian: Romania shrugs off label of Europe’s poor man as economy booms.

* China unveils massive island-building vessel

Remarkable cultural continuity: Great Wall on land 2,000 years ago, now a Great Wall in cyberspace and on the high seas.

alt-right-bin-laden

* So Osama bin Laden was a gamer, like all the other great men of the 20th century.

BTW, Navalny is a console peasant, while proves he is not destined for greatness.

 

racism

Culture War

* Bread Pilled: Jordan Peterson turning young, Western men into Christians Again

Only heard of the guy thanks to spandrell. Sounds like a big phenomenon.

* #ItsOkayToBeWhite is a brilliant strategy. /pol/ continues to deliver.

* Frances Lee: Why I’ve Started to Fear My Fellow Social Justice Activists

* John Derbyshire: Geezers Don’t Care! Marc Faber Defies AntiRacist Moral Panic

* Feminist prof says ‘traditional science’ is rooted in racism

* Geoffrey Miller channels Taleb: To understand the present, read good books about our biological & cultural history, & sci fi about the future. ‘News’ is a distraction.

* Melissa Meszaros: Buzzfeed’s Male Writers Revealed to have Dangerously Low Testosterone

* Porn Addicted Bomb Nazi Mutilated Himself With An Axe. Exemplary commitment to nofap.

* Eliezer Yudkowsky’s struggle:

.

 
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ukraine-popular-sites-2017 A couple of weeks ago, Ukraine passed an edict banning access to a host of Russian web services including VKontakte and Odnoklassniki (Russia’s Facebook, and most popular social network in Ukraine, with 13 million users; Odnoklassniki is 4th, with 9 million users; for comparison, Facebook is 8th with 5.6 million users, though tellingly it is where the country’s political elites tussle), Yandex (Google, and 5th and 11th most popular website in Ukraine for the .ua and .ru domain, respectively), Kaspersky (Europe’s foremost anti-virus software), mail.ru (an email service that is the 7th most popular site in Ukraine), and 1c accounting software (the foremost accounting software in Eurasia due to its competitive pricing and regular updates to comply with the latest labyrinth regulations of post-Soviet bureacracies).

As pretty much everyone except Ukrainian nationalists agreed, this was a stupid and self-defeating move anyway you look at it. It will create headaches for normal people and for the small businesses who rely on 1c accounting software (as if they don’t have enough problems already, what with the collapse of the Ukrainian economy and the Maidan regime’s total failure to make headway against corruption).

It doesn’t look any good from a “democratist” perspective. The only halfway comparable block in Russia is with respect to LinkedIn for its refusal to store its data in Russia. That said, sitting here in Moscow, I can open it just fine even without using VPN or other roundabout methods, which brings up another problem: Implementing such censorship is harder than it looks. It requires money that Ukraine doesn’t have. So any attempt to implement this ban seriously will have to be borne by Internet providers, which in turn will pass it onto the consumer. Not good for the country with Europe’s lowest Internet penetration rate (including Moldova).

In any case, segregating the Ukrainian Internet from Runet is doomed to failure anyway, considering that it is mostly to overwhelmingly Russophone outside the far west.

ukraine-vkontakte-language

Map of Russian/Ukrainian language usage on Vkontakte in 2013.

It might work after half a century of aggressive Ukrainization, but not today, when at least 80% of intellectual culture in Ukraine is carried on in the Russian language, despite the best efforts of Soviet Ukrainianizationists.

Finally, even bad optics aside and impracticality aside, Russia remains by far Ukraine’s biggest investor – some 38% of the total as of 2016 – so scaring off the Russian companies that remain there with armed secret police raids and “treason” charges, as recently done on Yandex’s Kiev office, seems pretty stupid.

And really, if these sites are all such a big threat to Ukraine, why didn’t it ban them back in 2014?

Two possible reasons. Maybe Poroshenko was really butthurt about the Russian tax authorities finally shutting down his chocolate factory in Lipetsk. Alternatively, and more plausibly, this was done to appease svidomy Ukrainian nationalists for a few more weeks. They have a good track record of forcing the weak Ukrainian state into acceding to and formalizing actions that it doesn’t really want to do, such as the Donbass blockade. Of course as I pointed out earlier the nationalists themselves are mostly tools of oligarchic groups who are themselves opposed to Poroshenko. Online as in real life, it is ordinary people who have the pay as the high lords play their game of thrones.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Social Media, Svidomy, Ukraine 
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I would like to thank everyone for participating in the Reader Poll 2016.

The responses have been very helpful and have helped spur me on to make some strategic changes to the way I’ll proceed with my blogging forthwith.

reader-poll-2016-results

First off, it’s good to know that the average “quality of posts” mark was 4.2/5, so I guess deleting my account and doing something more productive online, like mining gold on Warcraft, is premature. The “regularity of posts” marker could do with some improvements. There seems to be general satisfaction with the commenting policy, so I will largely keep to my hands off approach (apart from cracking down on some of the most egregious trolls). Otherwise, since the quality of comments are largely a function of the quality of the blog posts they are responding to – for instance, no-one would bother trolling the blog of someone like pseudoerasmus – the onus here is on me more than anyone else.

In terms of topics – geopolitics, Russia, HBD, futurism – no change is merited. Although my Russia/geopolitics fanbase is the biggest one, it is not absolutely preponderant, and besides, there are plenty of people who like the mix and match approach (e.g. Russia + futurism, geopolitics + HBD, etc). Besides, of the top 5 listed blogs that people read in addition to mine, three are HBD blogs (Sailer, GNXP, West Hunt) while The Saker is only third.

Finally, there is pretty overwhelming demand for me to start writing reviews, which is something I’m entirely happy to accomodate. As a base for future reviews here, I have created a special web page at my home website here: http://akarlin.com/library/

It contains a sortable list of most of the books I’ve (fully) read, the video games I’ve played, and some of the films I’ve watched as well as the categories they belong to, their publication dates, my ratings of them, and where available, links to my already existing reviews of them. That list will remain updated in the future.

The biggest change I will be making, however, is in regards to social media.

zucky-and-peons

Zuck Walks Past His Oblivious VR Addled Peons

I am leaving Twitter and Facebook.

There are good reasons for this, which I will soon expound on, but just in case you mostly follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, the most convenient way of continuing to do so as well as keep up with multiple other blogs is to use a feed reader. Feedly is generally acknowledged to be the best in existence today, though there are also others such as the The Old Reader which reproduce much of the functionality of the much missed Google Reader. To follow my blog in particular, just insert one of the following feeds:

… into the search/input box on your feed reader and click to subscribe. This is an extremely convenient tool if you follow multiple blogs or even individual columnists. (Most, though not all, news websites now have separate feeds for individual categories, authors, etc).

Now back to the social media question.

The proximate (or “selfish”) reason is that the Reader Poll revealed that I do not depend near as much on social media for my audience as I had imagined. Although a third of respondents follow me on Twitter, only 11% use it as the primary way to follow my posts. A mere two respondents follow me on Facebook. Now if those figures had been inverse, at 90%, then obviously abandoning those platforms would have been unfeasible. But if I only stand to lose at most 10% of my more engaged readers – and that’s assuming none of them switch over to other ways of following my blog (see above) – then its a price worth paying for cutting my reliance on a facet of modern society that I have gradually come to view as being even so much superficial as negative value added.

Yes, that’s right. Much like Soviet factories in the early 1990s, or arguably the metastasized financial sector in the West today, my argument is that social media consumes far more useful resources than the questionable “benefits” it produces. Far from “democratizing” global discourse, as techno-utopians hoped it would in the optimistic days of the first decade of the 21st century, it has in fact privileged soundbytes over sound analysis, confounded and contaminated rather than clarified, decelerated and devalued intellectual progress, and entrenched the power of the economic and political elites.

Let’s look at these bold claims one by one.

First, social media has been heralded for increasing the amount of information at the fingertips of the “global citizen” (a creature that is just as mythical today as he was in the days of its inventor Immanuel Kant). This may be so, but the banal fact is that for a long time now, the problem has not been so much a lack of information as a surfeit of it. (In the big picture, historians only suffer from a paucity of sources as regards pre-Early Modern Europe; since at least the nineteenth century, the struggle has been over what to include and emphasize). There is still a problem of limited access to important information – the Bilderbergers don’t seem to be in any particular rush to open up the minutes of their meetings, for all that their counterparts (largely the same class of people) at Davos wax lyrical about this brave new world of openness and transparency. There has been some formidable theoretical and more importantly, practical and technological work to undermine this, spearheaded by Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and the rest of the “cypherpunk” mileau, but guess what percentage of that had anything whatsoever to do with social media. That’s right – zilch.

This hints at a related problem, a paradox even: Even though there might be a surfeit of information, there is at the same time a deficit of useful information. Nicholas Nassim Taleb, one of the few public intellectuals worthy of the title, made the brilliant observation in Black Swan that “news shared with millions gives you no real advantage,” since it is inevitably already priced into people’s models of the world. Furthermore, apart from wasting your time, there is a real risk that reading newspapers might even “decrease your knowledge of the world” insofar as the media foist upon you a narrative interpretation of reality that often has little or nothing to do with reality itself. Now if this is the case for newspapers, how much more so for Twitter? Taleb’s recommendation is to “denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs.” Very good advice, even if mercenary self-interest makes me argue for making at least a partial exception to that last part…

Second, social media has been praised for enabling “people power” and unleashing the revolutionary energies that would overthrow creaky old authoritarian regimes – a Whiggish faith in progress that approaches cult status, or technological solutionism as Evgeny Morozov called it. To be sure, it is true enough that social media has of course played a substantial role in fomenting so-called “color revolutions” across the post-Soviet and Islamic worlds – Moldova, Egypt, Ukraine, Armenia, Syria, etc. (with not inconsiderable help from “activist training programs” run by the State Department and its various affiliates-in-practice-if-not-name, Western oligarchs like George Soros, and the tech giants themselves).

The problem is that a monkey clattering away at a keyboard is still a monkey. Almost without exception, all the countries where color revolutions prevailed have proceeded to collapse in on themselves. This pattern is not surprising to anyone who has bothered to acquaint himself with the accounts of these color revolution activists, many of which are characterized by a distinctive mixture of boorishness, gratuitous profanity, parochial nationalism, and a vindictive authoritarian streak that in the case of Ukraine extended to using the #banderakaratel hashtag to organize the mass abuse of Twitter’s report function to get opposing voices banned from the platform (despite this being an egregious violation of its own TOS, it took Twitter almost two years from the time of Euromaidan to do anything about this, by which point the campaign had long ceased to be very relevant). Once in power, these Yuropean intellectuals turned their attention to renaming everything after Bandera, even as their country collapsed around them. What was prophesied to be a torch for liberty has become a bullhorn for demagoguery and destruction.

Third, and again paradoxically, the real influence of social media – at least as a means for promoting truly original ideas, as opposed to their pastiches – remains highly marginal and circumscribed. Now I realize that this will raise some hackles at a time when Alt Right shitlords on Twitter are seemingly at the forefront of a popular reaction against the elites, while SJWs and Tumblrettes have appropriated the discourse on the Left from crusty old Communists (now “tankies“) and trade unionists. But think about it: In a hundred years, assuming that the Great Filter doesn’t do us in, who of the following will be remembered, and who will be but a footnote in the history books at best? Will it be the ephemeral, half-virtual protest movements, or the writers of the Big Books?

Look around you. Almost none of the hardcore intellectuals are on Twitter. Where is Andrew Wiles? Perelman? Shinichi Mochizuki? At best, they occasionally update their academic home page. Voluntary reclusion seems to be a constant prerequisite for getting serious intellectual work done. Who is the most prominent scientist on Twitter? Neil deGrasse Tyson. A professional publicist whose real achievements in astronomy are close to zero. The same goes for social scientists and historians. Those who are now primarily showmen are active on Twitter. Emmanuel Todd is not.

The flip side of the coin is that there are a number of potential intellectuals who instead crashed and burned on social media. The most prominent example in our parts might be Michael Anissimov, whose rather good and original ideas on neoreactionary political philosophy have been overshadowed by his misadventures on Twitter. The platform might have some marginal benefits in terms of publicity, but it carries the risk of cognitive contamination, and the ROI in terms of time does not look good. This is not something I have been immune from myself. For instance, I might have had a dopamine high from “winning” (perhaps) a debate on HBD/immigration with Leonid Bershidsky, but at the end of the day, he is a highly influential journalist with a column in Bloomberg and I am not.

The banal reality is that if you are a publicist on social media you are probably not near as witty as you think you are, probably quite superfluous, and many other people do what you do much better anyway (for instance, much of the Alt Right can quit any day, safe in the knowledge that Ricky Vaughn will continue hitting out of the ballpark). You are also, in all likelihood, just repeating yourself. My last Facebook post as of the time of writing, dated June 23, is a link to former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s Tweet in which he acknowledges that Putin is “not responsible” (for Brexit):

Come to think of it, isn’t this ironic ReTweet more or less what I have been saying since… I started blogging? And haven’t I been writing about the link between IQ and economic development since 2008, when I was less than two years out of high school? Yes I have, but in the meantime, Garett Jones has written an actual book about this, while low energy types such as myself, whom The Donald rightfully mocks, whiled away their time on frivolous activities. Shitlibs LOL. SJWs LOL. Svidomites LOL. Let’s write 140 characters on their latest inanity. It elicits a chuckle and is soon forgotten in the poorly indexed cyberwastes that are social media’s archives.

Social media has pretty much single-handedly killed off the once flourishing discourse across the blogosphere, reminiscent of the “culture of letters” in the long bygone heyday of European civilization. Here is Scholar’s Stage evocative account of what happened in the strategy sphere, though I can confirm from personal experience that exactly analogous processes were under way in the Russia watching world, and almost certainly in many other topical networks:

Many of the 200 word hot takes that would have ended up on a blog or forum in the days of yesteryear now happen on social media sites. Likewise, most commentary that would have ended up in a comments thread is now tweeted and retweeted on Twitter.

This brings me to a broader point I want to make about social media’s intersection with intellectual progress (or the lack thereof).

I was once at a futurist debate where one of the speakers was ranting some technoutopian nonsense about how high-bandwidth brain to brain communication systems would revolutionize science and allow much faster progress. I remarked, not at all facetiously, that we already have such a system: It’s called Twitter.

After all, it’s not the bandwidth or the ease of communications that’s bottlenecking anything; it’s a plain lack of the sort of very high-level intelligence that we increasingly need as the Flynn Effect grinds to a halt and we slam against the technological frontier. Social media do almost nothing to extend it. Bandwidth is already superfluous, more than our Dunbar Number brain can handle anyway, and is swamped by a low signal-to-noise ratio besides. Admittedly, social media does probably make information marginally easier to find, but I would argue that Alexandra Elbakyan’s humble academic paper sharing/piracy project Sci-Hub by itself has already achieved at least as much for global intellectual progress as Facebook and Twitter combined.

Finally, by rewiring so many first class brains from deep analytical mode to dopamine-seeking wisecrack mode – Charles Murray and even (ironically) N. N. Taleb himself might be in the early stages of that – social media might have ultimately retarded progress. This is not to even mention the considerable cognitive effort that has been expended directly to develop and maintain Facebook and its various clones and applications like Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. as well as Twitter, Instagram, etc. It certainly pales besides the epochal misallocation of cognitive resources that is the modern financial sector, but it is probably quite considerable nonetheless.

Finally, it would be remiss in an extended critique of social media not to touch upon its increasingly cataclysmic political aspects.

In the past five years, social media have become ever more overt instruments of the globalist elites and their geopolitical and domestic agendas. Increasingly, they operate under the principle of “For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.” For instance, Russian nationalists who still maintain active Facebook accounts are far likelier to get hit with bans than their Ukrainian counterparts and other assorted color revolutionaries (see above). Ergo for Twitter, even though there has never been a Russian or Novorossiyan equivalent of the #banderakaratel campaign. This goes in tandem with support for pro-Western revolutionary forces across Eurasia, China, and the Islamic world. Ultimately, the major information companies are almost all US based, so it is only natural that they would seek to cater to American geopolitical interests. And needless to say, the Chinese and Russian governments use the tools they have at their disposal, such as domestic alternatives (Vkontakte, Sina Weibo, etc) and a policy of either banning foreign companies entirely (China) or making them keep their data on their own territory (Russia). It might be pointless to rail against this state of affairs, but it is outright dishonest to pretend that geopolitically, social media is some sort of global kumbaya circle.

The domestic agenda will be more familiar to Unz.com readers. Conservative and especially Alt Right voices are far likelier to get banned than their liberal and SJW opposites. When Return of Kings journalist and provocateur Matt Forney experienced a torrent of death threats from SJWs, it was his account that got banned for reporting them. Breitbart resident kebab Allum Bokhari compiled a list of five of the most egregious cases of Twitter unpersonings, which included reporting on (scrupulously documented!) instances of alleged pedophilia, fraud, and abuse on the part of SJW leaders. Meanwhile, a leading SJW and Gamergate critic who uses “set yourself on fire” as a universal comeback to any criticism of her positions has the personal ear of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

That said, these cases are atypical, if demonstrative; for the most part, the social media giants have taken a more nuanced approach to rigging the visibility game, shadowbanning politically inconvenient users (removing or reducing their visibility on search results and timelines) while promoting loyalists to the Eye of Soros. Politically inappropriate hashtags are manually suppressed from the trending lists. These processes are, if anything, even more overt at Facebook, what with the stunning recent revelations that its trending topic curators removed stories popular with conservatives and rumors that Facebook employees asked Zuckerberg if they could try to influence the elections against Trump. Although the Facebook CEO was quick to engage in damage control, his active personal support for Sorosian causes like #BlackLivesMatter and principled stand against all walls (except his own) put his company’s ultimate political neutrality under serious question.

picus-network-deus-ex

Picus HQ, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Potentially, Facebook (Google, Twitter) are far more powerful enterprises than even the MSM and the six major corporations that own 90% of it, since they have the power to manipulate and control access to who sees what. /pol/ is always right. So is Deus Ex. We are seeing the materialization of Picus News, a globespanning media conglomerate that directly or incorrectly controls most of the world’s news, complete with shadowy globalist cabal in the background and reinforced not by elite teams of cybernetically augmented assassins but your own Likes and RTs.

Though you might get censored and banned for expressing the wrong viewpoint in the US, at least you won’t go to jail (yet). But warnings, fines, and arrests for expressions of wrongthink about the women and children who are also doctors and engineers on social networks in Europe are now a weekly occurence, and things are only going to get much worse as trans-European regulations on “hate speech” are adopted under the auspices of the EU with the active connivance of Zuckerberg and Merkel, in which “extremism” functionally translates to “anything critical of the EU’s current catastrophic immigration policy.” In practice, these policies will likely extend to the US as well, because of the multinational nature of Facebook’s moderation and its cross-Atlantic ideological unity.

The US plans to start collecting social media profiles as a condition of entry into the country. Apps are being created that scour your social media profiles for financial and political reliability, and in the not too distant future might become a condition of getting hired or taking out credit. These apps have floundered thus far, but this might not be indefinite, as technology advances and the bargaining power of labor gets further diminished by mass immigration and automation. Facebook is taking steps to stake out its territory in Virtual Reality before it has even properly emerged, buying up the Oculus Rift and immediately refocusing it on advertising.

Should we continue feeding this machine? As Zuckerberg himself once said in a private message when founding Facebook, “They “trust me.” Dumb fucks.”

Let’s listen to him.

So we have established that social media contains almost no useful information, yields marginal if not outright returns on intellectual progress, promotes the baser elements of political discourse, and is increasingly blatantly manipulated by a historyless elite that will stop at nothing (except to make a buck off selling your personal information) in pursuit of its chiliastic dreams of social justice and an end to national sovereignty. Perhaps better alternatives will come along in time – for instance, some sort of social network based on the blockchain/Ethereum? – but as of today these systems have become forces for regression across almost all spheres of human activity.

All this is why I’m announcing a permanent end to my presence on Facebook and Twitter.

I will not delete them, because this is ultimately a kneejerk response, and I will feasibly use them twice a year to make very big announcements in the future (e.g. whenever I finally get a book published). Unfortunately, it also has considerable vestigial value as a big network that many people continue to use for its purely social functions like organizing meetups.

But the period in which I made active investments into my social media presence is definitively over.

So to sum it up here are the changes I’ll be making:

1. As per above, an end to social media. Anyway, after so much talk, it’s not like I can avoid the walk.

2. I will read more books, especially Big Books. As a political economy major it is ultimately rather embarassing that I have yet to read Capital in the 21st Century.

Taleb again: “I then completely gave up reading newspapers and watching television, which freed up a considerable amount of time (say one hour or more per day, enough time to read more than a hundred additional books per year, which, after a couple of decades, starts mounting).”

antilibrary

 

3. I will resume studying math – possibly the only intellectual sphere in which BS is impossible in principle, and which is quite possibly the ultimate basis of physical reality.

Not to mention that I have long wanted to explore and understand the real nitty gritty of The g Factor.

Ironically, what inspired me to this was this Tweet by N. N. Taleb. Even more ironically, it is in all likelihood the last ReTweet I will ever make.

4. I will focus anew on whittling down my ridiculous backlog in planned but unwritten books.

books-ak-future

5. As per the wisdom of the Unz.com crowd, I will write fewer short posts and shitposts, and will refocus on the longread and on reviews of books and the better sorts of video games.

The culture of letters might be dead, but perhaps it is not yet too late for individuals to continue to nurture its saplings behind walled gardens, like the Green Man in the Great Blight, in the faith that the day when the Troll-ocs and the other minions of Soros are driven out will eventually dawn.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Administration, Social Media 
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My response to Snowdengate, the new Graph Search, its inevitable integration with Google Glass? I will be minimizing my privacy settings and for all intents and purposes making my Facebook public.

So good ahead, look up my profile. Friend me. Whatever. I don’t mind.

Sounds counter-intuitive, huh? There’s a logic behind the madness. It’s now a safe assumption that in between the numerous bugs and the surveillance what you post on Facebook might as well be public. So I will treat it as public.

Which means no more denying friend requests on the basis that I don’t know you. No more purges of weirdos who happened to friend me. No more separation into “Friends,” “Acquaintances,” and other groups. No more photos of an excessively… personal nature, or confidential communications. That I believe is for email, Dropbox, and even older systems, like face to face meetings.

Some commentators are recommending people delete their Facebooks. But I find its social features to be quite useful, plus I am a publicist – so why on earth would I do that? That would just be stupid.

PS. There is also know a dedicated Facebook Page for this blog that’s automatically updated with every new post.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Mashable tells students about 12 things they should never do in social media.

By now this doesn’t apply to me, as between my non-anonymous Russophilia, HBD-ing, gaming, and AGW-ing I’ve long ostracized myself from both liberals and conservatives and torpedoed myself any hopes of “respectable” employment anyway.

I do however wonder about the point of such articles even for more normal people.

(1) Of course unprovoked harassing/bullying of people is bad. Threatening violence is just idiotic. But you see, the kind of people who’d benefit from such advice aren’t really the sort who’d be reading these articles anyway.

(2) Quite aside from the inherent cowardice of gagging oneself to increase one’s attraction to corporate vultures, it is actually – objectively – useful. You read that right. From the same article:

“Whenever I evaluate a potential employee, I always take a look at what is publicly visible on their Facebook profile,” says Ryan Cohn, vice president of social/digital operations at What’s Next Marketing. “On two separate occasions, I have rejected entry level prospects (finishing their senior year of college) for featuring firearms in their profile picture. Both were qualified in terms of experience and otherwise would have been worthy of an interview.”

Would you want to work for a hoplophobic asshat like that anyway? Fact is expressing opinions in print and on the Internet doesn’t only degrade your job prospects with certain managers and companies – it allows you to screen out BS managers and companies.

In other words, it’s a two way street, in which benefits outnumber disadvantages. After all, as long as you view the job market not through a scarcity model, but an abundance model – which is what it really is – it’s not like you’re losing out on anything. Filter out the trash, I say.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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In the Japanese TV series Dennō Coil, people wear Internet-connected augmented reality glasses and interact with a world that is now split between the real and the virtual. Citizens and netizens become one. The story is set in 2026, some eleven years after the introduction of this technology.

Considering that this series was first conceived of in 1997, the dates are remarkable accurate. Recently it was revealed that Google is working on a “Project Glass” that will become available to consumers for a cool $1,500 from late 2013 or early 2014.

Needless to say the usual cynics and technophobes have been making fun of the idea, going on about the ethical problems of facial recognition, announcing they will boycott the technology (yeah right), etc. I am unconcerned with all this. As with other mega-trends like global demography or climate change, contrary opinions are like a flimsy shack against an advancing tide, in other words, irrelevant. Fortunately, for the most part, technological revolutions increase wellbeing and are useful anyway.

In my opinion, the decisive technological development of the 2000′s was the mass proliferation of cell phones. In the late 1990′s, only a small percentage of people in developed countries had access to them, as well as a handful of businesspeople and high officials in the developing world. Today they are ubiquitous with global penetration at over 70%. Apart from making people much more connected – I can barely remember the days when one actually had to make strict appointments in advance – the sector also powered a mini-economic boom for both designers (Nokia, Samsung, etc), their manufacturing contractors in China, and the ecosystem of app developers they spawned in places like the Silicon Valley.

The augmented reality eyeglass revolution will be of similar or even greater scope. What is now almost unheard of outside the techosphere will begin to break out into the public consciousness by the mid-2010′s; substantial numbers of the global middle class will start wearing them by the late 2010′s; and by the mid-2020′s, this will be a thriving global industry with tons of spinoffs and applications. So much so that a proper name will surely have to be found for these glasses. Intelligent glasses? AReyes? Thinking goggles? Denno glasses? I like the sound of the last one so I’ll be using it until the term catches on or another replaces it.

The historical penetration of cell phones. I suspect denno glasses will follow the same trajectory, plus two decades.

Anyway why exactly do I think they will be so revolutionary? Simply because of the absolutely seamless and compact way they will integrate with and augment everyday life and the other aspects of Internet features (Google Search, Wikipedia, social networks, etc) that already enrich it. Here is a list of how different activities will change:

(1) Facial recognition. Have you ever had this awkward situation where you meet some person (or worse romantic prospect) whose name you can’t quite recall? No more problems as long as they are plugged into Facebook, Google+, etc. Facebook already has fairly good face recognition technologies as per when you tag photos so integrating this with denno glasses will be a breeze.

(2) Social networking. Which leads us to the next big revolution – meeting someone, and having a list of relevant information appear beside his or her name. This will be highly useful as it will enable one to better optimize their social interaction. Privacy concerns are irrelevant; the technology doesn’t cardinally change anything in this regard, it only makes the process of recognition and information gathering far quicker and more efficient.

(3) Geolocation. So you find yourself hanging out by yourself? The world is a small place. Quite possibly some of your friends or acquaintances may be nearby; you will know if they choose to switch their locations on. This possibility already exists on smart phones but you actually have to bring up the program which is a spot of bother and the main reason I rarely use the feature. But if this feature is literally staring in your face all day…

(4) Translation. Text is a breeze: Just look at something, and Google Translate will give you the general gist of it. Same goes for Chinese Hanzi for which as I mentioned there already exists instant translation software on the iPhone. Speech recognition will create more trouble, as machines will first have to transcribe it into indigenous language text before spitting out the appropriate translation. This will require half a decade to a decade of tweaking to perfect. Nonetheless, denno glasses may well be the greatest technological aid to learning foreign languages since the invention of alphabets.

(5) Livestream your life. Not the kind of thing I would do, at least unless I’m doing something very cool like shredding snow on a double diamond or picking up an HB10, but if it floats your boat why not?

(6) Cloud memory. Have a great view that you want to take a picture of? Get an original thought that you will soon forget if you don’t jot it down in your Moleskin? Denno glasses can record both.

(7) Events. Concerts, wine tastings, friends’ birthdays… all in very close proximity.

(8) Real time performance monitoring. Get an instant heads-up display of heart rate, distance covered, calories burned, etc, etc, with just a couple of sensors attached to your body. Needless to say, this will also allow perfect performance tracking. This is extremely important because monitoring yourself improving is very inspirational when losing weight, getting big, etc.

(9) Learning. With the advent of Internet technology, cognitive patterns are changing. Older people have wonderful memories; younger people are much better at recalling how to access a piece of information, as opposed to actually committing it to memory. Neither method is superior to the other – they are products of different technological environments. Denno glasses will put the final nail in the coffin of the old, memory-intensive way of thought. But they will also be of great practical help. Learning to drive a car? Fly a helicopter? Denno glasses can actively give you hints and solutions just as happens in the tutorial modes of video games.

(10) Knowledge. If Wikipedia is a single voice command away…

(11) Gaming. This is going to be huge. Imagine what you could do if you could populate the real world with virtual objects that can be perceived with denno glasses. Create a real life Stalker simulation in the shadows of Chernobyl. Organize Western-style shootouts in the dozens of abandoned dustbowl towns of inner California. Instigate a zombie outbreak in New York or Los Angeles. (That might not be such a good idea actually what with the potential for car accidents…). This is coming soon:

So what should gamers expect from the final Oculus RIFT product? “Imagine an HMD with a massive field of view and more pixels than 1080p per eye, wireless PC link, built in absolute head and hand/weapon/wand positioning, and native integration with some (if not all) of the major game engines, all for less than $1,000 USD. That can happen in 2013!”

Still, I see the emergence of numerous “game arenas”, in the style of paintball areas: Just bring your denno glasses, pay for day access and (electronic) gun rent, and off you go! Once people (virtually) die, the HUD can start representing them as translucent “ghosts” to avoid confusion. Similar games already exist for smartphones like Zombie, Run! but with denno glasses the feeling will be much more… visceral.

(12) New ways of seeing the world. See the city in wireframe X-ray vision – much more efficient way of navigating it than using maps. Look up at the sky and see the names of all the stars and constellations just as you can with the Google Sky Map. Look at famous landmarks or natural wonders and get instant information about their history, dimensions, how many of your friends visited them, etc.

(13) And even more new ways of seeing the world. See virtual re-enactments of historical scenes. See ads while passing by corporate areas (ugh). This will take time to develop but by 2030 I suspect a lot of the visions of augmented reality in Minority Report will have been realized.

(14) Semantic Webs. In tandem with this revolution, we also have the emergence of the “semantic web.” Cell phones are a huge phenomenon. Denno glasses are more integrated with people; more integrated with the Web; and the Web itself is steadily becoming far more useful and intelligent.

(15) Economic opportunities. For most rich country citizens (those not in the 1%) the 2010′s and 2020′s will be grim because limited global resources and competition from China will mean that their share of the global economic pie will shrink not only in relative but absolute terms. Nonetheless, some niches – especially the hi-tech and dematerialized – will continue seeing very impressive growth and possibilities for vast new fortunes.

The App Revolution meant that anybody with even fairly basic programming skills could begin making apps for the Droid or iPhone. Everything from wake up alarms to Hanzi flashcards to Angry Birds to Zombie, Run!. The mass penetration of denno glasses will recreate the same conditions and if anything on a much larger scale because they are likely to become even more central to human life than cell phones are today. I foresee a lot of millionaires and probably a few billionaires arising from this industry in the next two decades. I can think of few things more prospective today for the high-IQ and logically-minded than mastering computer programming and becoming deeply involved with the emerging world of Dennō Coil.

None of this is science fiction – indeed, I have avoided the more sci-fi like development scenarios, which are unlikely to be realized before 2030. The prototypes for denno glasses already exist, and they go into mass production very soon. The first versions will no doubt be buggy and slow, unable to process data quickly, however with time – with the further development of ubiquitous ultra-fast broadband wireless Internet, cloud computing, etc. – these issues will be ironed out and denno glasses will become an integral element of life in the early 21st century.

PS. This article was translated into Russian at Inosmi.

(Republished from AKarlin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
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Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.