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Open Thread, 11/13/2016

51jUZQV3r1L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ (1) Now reading Hume: An Intellectual Biography. David Hume was a man of moderation in his private life. Something to consider.

I was in New York City yesterday. I got a cab from the Upper East Side to Columbus Circle. The cabby did not anticipate the anti-Trump protest. When I said it was the anti-Trump protest probably, he turned around and said “Trump?” I said, “Donald Trump. You know.” He shrugged. By his accent I assume he was an African immigrant. I wonder if his English just wasn’t very good, as I have a hard time how you could be a cab driver in New York City and be surprised at who Donald J Trump was.

Met some friends. Some of them are in the ‘conservative establishment’, at least the more intellectual parts. They are cautiously hopeful. Or hoping for the best.

If you are a Trump supporter, perhaps this is a time to consider that tribal exultation will eventually fade and real life will again intrude. If you are a ‘conservative’, and not married, and without children, and above 30, perhaps you should consider what you need to do to get to a point where you can embody the values you purportedly support. If you are not a Trump supporter, and if you do have a family, perhaps you should reflect that at the end of the day the ultimate thing of substance is your relationship to them, and taking care of them. You have to get up every morning and work to support them, love them, and let them flourish. Politics is just a means toward the end of this sort of flourishing. But just one means.

510bcY7t15L I pre-ordered a copy of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason. Skeptical that one can be an “Atheist Muslim,” but the author is someone who I respect from Twitter, and it is important to read differing views. I myself am careful to state that I am not a “cultural Muslim” for two reasons. First, I am not part of the “Muslim community” in any way in my day to day life. I do not attend Muslim celebrations with my family in a nominal fashion. My children will have no affiliation to Islam except their surname indicating some connection to a South Asian Muslim. Second, unlike some people I do not have fond memories of a past life as a believer. I never really believed. My family as isolated enough that I was never part of the Muslim community anywhere that I lived. And my distaste for religion generally increased in a monotonic fashion as I grew into adulthood.

But other people have different experiences. So I’m curious.

Finally, I know people on all sides are binging on analysis of the election results. I understand. I get it. I just wish people would be more enthusiastic about immersing themselves in the life of the mind. People always ask me how I make time to be able to read. Some of the answer is prosaic. I stopped playing video games when I was sixteen. This is not without cost in hedonic utility and the ability to bond with people of my similar social profile. But it freed up a lot of time (similarly, I do not own a television, and have not for over ten years, so I don’t get caught up in passive viewing). Though I work a lot and have a family, various reasons allow for some level of flexibility in time allocation. And, unfortunately, I often do not sleep as much as I should.

But another reason I take time to read is that it is who I am, and who I have always been. I don’t read books and try to learn things to impress people or seem smart. I don’t really care that much about that stuff compared to actually knowing stuff. If that’s not important as an end in and of itself, and it isn’t for most people from what I can grasp (in contrast to winning arguments), that’s fine. But, I think a lot of people aspire to read more, and know more, because its important to them. If so, a little Buddhist or Stoic equanimity again the currents of the world really does help.

 
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  1. Here is a message I received from a innocuous Facebook group (a summer camp I attended as a child) I belong to:

    Yeah, I feel hopeless and helpless in the face of all this. I want to crawl under a rock. … let us all get up and do something, anything, before that proverbial knock is at our door and there is no one left to help.

    To which I replied:

    Really? Your candidate lost an election. It happens. It has happened before, and it will happen again. Learn to cope with it. I suggest the works of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. One was a slave, the other was an emperor, but they both taught that nothing that happens in the external world can corrupt you or make you unhappy.

    Here is an e-mail from a French friend of ours, a woman who has spent lots of time in the US and who travels here frequently:

    “Donald Trump is like a Nazi intellectual without any ideas.”

    To which I replied:

    Please. Do not be so anxious. Donald Trump is a lot of things, he is a boor, a bully, a lout. He is lecherous, intemperate, rash, rude, ignorant, illiterate, and not very bright. I did not support him, nor did I vote for him, and I am not thrilled that he won. I doubt that he will be a very effective President.

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded. I have spent far more time that I found pleasant reviewing Trump’s actions and words, and I saw nothing that would support those accusations.

    Further, the US political system is unique and complex. The President’s powers are really quite limited, and are very circumscribed. Henry II said “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest” and Thomas a Becket was assassinated. No US President could count on that type of behavior from his subordinates. Trump is more likely to founder than to do anything that anyone would later criticize as immoral.

    Europeans do have a legitimate concern. Europe needs leadership in developing and implementing policies to deal with the aggressions of the Putin regime. I am doubtful that Trump will supply that leadership. OTOH, Obama has not provided it either. Perhaps it is time for Europe to lead rather than hope the American electorate will send them a leader.

    I am sorry about these events, but I do not think they are the end of the world. I hope you can learn to live with them as we will.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    FWIW, I'm scared shitless. In particular, I disagree with the statement:

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded.
     
    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    It is going to be a white knuckled, hanging on for dear life, four years.

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  2. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Students were discussing the election on 11/8, some getting anxious. My advice was that I would not let an election outcome affect my mental or emotional well-being, and I suggested that they take the same tack.

    “stoic equanimity” reminded me that I got only part way through Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. Thanks for the prompt.

    Read More
  3. As a long-time Trump supporter, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping a low profile and not being smug, but it’s still a pain interacting with other people since 99% of my real life social connections hate Trump and are going out of their way to lob snide comments at me. Maybe I should just hide in my apartment for a couple weeks and knock a few books out.

    If you are a ‘conservative’, and no married, and without children, and above 30, perhaps you should consider what you need to go to get to a point where you can embody the values you purportedly support.

    Wait, yeah, as much as I like reading, it’s not going to lead to sex.

    Read More
  4. I’ve been reading “Comanches: The History of a People” by Fehrenbach. I was surprised to learn that the Comanche and Aztec were distant kin. Do you know any good reading on the Uto-Aztecans and their migrations?

    Read More
  5. I’d wondered if Razib would be offered a Trump government position.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I’d wondered if Razib would be offered a Trump government position.
     
    I don't think Mr. Khan supported or voted for Trump.
  6. If you believe Houellebecq, family is no longer important to quite a few Westerners. Very low TFRs seem to confirm that. IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children. OTOH, the eccentric German Defense Minister has given birth to seven ethnic German children. If Trump forces Germany to build up its military, she may become a positive role model for the masses and thereby increase family formation.

    And, yes, I’m well aware that affluent (or at least rapidly developing) East Asian countries have “death spiral” TFRs.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    "IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children."

    That's the number for women with higher education, it's somewhat above 20% for the general population as far as I know.
    Don't see how Ursula von der Leyen (whom I wouldn't call "eccentric", but rather incompetent and annoying) could be a role model, she comes from a highly privileged background and is religious in a way increasingly uncommon in Germany, not many people can identify with her.
    , @Erik Sieven
    another awkward trend is to get children but then spent as less time as possible with them. People have children and then give them to childcare from 8:00 to 17:00, and that starts sometimes even before the first birthday. Now I know that the post-WWII paradise of the single earner and the housewife who takes care of children was a historical anomaly, and I understand that talented people need to work to make use of their talent. Yet I think that most people are not that talented, so their work is of no essential value, other than being a mean to have a good life. So, why not use all the wealth which exists in the modern world to trade some additional money for additional time at home?
    , @Matt_
    My impression is traditional societies had kind of social features to favour marrying young: perhaps for people not to be too choosy and not to make a perfect romantic life the enemy of the good and much, much more importantly than these two, that to marry and have kids when young (maybe with practically the first partner you might meet) was assumed to be vastly the norm.

    (Yes, in the old days, a number of people (men particularly) didn't marry. Often because of wealth though - when the traditional social model was in force and median wealth was high, in the early-mid 20th century, marriage and reproduction had an apex?).

    (Subjectively, if you listen to this late 70s pop song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQciegmLPAo. Seems like a quick shorthand reminder of how dating and romantic and working life was, at least for the working class and seems intuitive that would be higher tfr if it was the norm.)

    You still have pockets of this old approach, passed down by some parents and communities. But I think fewer today are "the marrying kind". I think once the norms and attitudes are gone, a lot of people just drop away from family and children.

    I don't think there's a lot that can be done about this really! There seems like no appetite to go back to an old way of doing things.

    A lot of people who, in today's terms for marriage, are not the marrying kind still have generally conservative moral intuitions and do not have liberal moral intuitions... It's a poor fit to claim they shouldn't have if they aren't going to marry. You are what you are. But maybe for the good of their lives they do need to find some form of community to be a part of.
  7. @fnn
    If you believe Houellebecq, family is no longer important to quite a few Westerners. Very low TFRs seem to confirm that. IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children. OTOH, the eccentric German Defense Minister has given birth to seven ethnic German children. If Trump forces Germany to build up its military, she may become a positive role model for the masses and thereby increase family formation.

    And, yes, I'm well aware that affluent (or at least rapidly developing) East Asian countries have "death spiral" TFRs.

    “IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children.”

    That’s the number for women with higher education, it’s somewhat above 20% for the general population as far as I know.
    Don’t see how Ursula von der Leyen (whom I wouldn’t call “eccentric”, but rather incompetent and annoying) could be a role model, she comes from a highly privileged background and is religious in a way increasingly uncommon in Germany, not many people can identify with her.

    Read More
  8. Skeptical that one can be an “Atheist Muslim,”

    I share thy skepticism – the phrase sounds OK as an admixture of two disparate languages, but let’s make it one… ‘The Atheist One Who Submits’…

    Or the other ‘Al-Muslim ul-Mulḥidu’ – now that one is rich!!!

    Peace.

    Read More
  9. @Walter Sobchak
    Here is a message I received from a innocuous Facebook group (a summer camp I attended as a child) I belong to:

    Yeah, I feel hopeless and helpless in the face of all this. I want to crawl under a rock. ... let us all get up and do something, anything, before that proverbial knock is at our door and there is no one left to help.
     
    To which I replied:

    Really? Your candidate lost an election. It happens. It has happened before, and it will happen again. Learn to cope with it. I suggest the works of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. One was a slave, the other was an emperor, but they both taught that nothing that happens in the external world can corrupt you or make you unhappy.

     

    Here is an e-mail from a French friend of ours, a woman who has spent lots of time in the US and who travels here frequently:

    "Donald Trump is like a Nazi intellectual without any ideas."

    To which I replied:

    Please. Do not be so anxious. Donald Trump is a lot of things, he is a boor, a bully, a lout. He is lecherous, intemperate, rash, rude, ignorant, illiterate, and not very bright. I did not support him, nor did I vote for him, and I am not thrilled that he won. I doubt that he will be a very effective President.

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded. I have spent far more time that I found pleasant reviewing Trump's actions and words, and I saw nothing that would support those accusations.

    Further, the US political system is unique and complex. The President's powers are really quite limited, and are very circumscribed. Henry II said "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest" and Thomas a Becket was assassinated. No US President could count on that type of behavior from his subordinates. Trump is more likely to founder than to do anything that anyone would later criticize as immoral.

    Europeans do have a legitimate concern. Europe needs leadership in developing and implementing policies to deal with the aggressions of the Putin regime. I am doubtful that Trump will supply that leadership. OTOH, Obama has not provided it either. Perhaps it is time for Europe to lead rather than hope the American electorate will send them a leader.

    I am sorry about these events, but I do not think they are the end of the world. I hope you can learn to live with them as we will.

     

    FWIW, I’m scared shitless. In particular, I disagree with the statement:

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded.

    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    It is going to be a white knuckled, hanging on for dear life, four years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Walter Sobchak
    You have created the monster in your own imagination. If you are that upset, I would suggest talking to your personal physician.
    , @Talha
    Hey ohwilleke,

    Trump has roused a dragon
     
    That dragon was already roused; the question is, who was going to ride it? In fact, had he not been elected, it may have been a dragon without a rider - a possibly more frightening prospect. Whether a lot of things change or not, it does mollify disenfranchised whites (and there are quite a lot of them) that a WASP-like person is in power - so at least one of their own is screwing them and not some black guy with a middle name of 'Hussain'.

    FWIW, my wife and I have already discussed getting passports for all the kids...never hurts to be prepared.

    Peace.

    , @European-American

    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.
     
    Trump certainly raised a dragon of anti-Trump exaggeration. Unless you have some special evidence unmentioned in the news, there's nothing remotely connecting your illustration of "some people dead" to Trump.

    "Police, who are working with the FBI on the case, have said it’s unclear whether Alnahdi was the victim of a hate crime."
    http://www.twincities.com/2016/11/14/2-women-sought-in-uw-stout-students-brain-injury-death/
     
  10. Razib,

    What is your opinion on Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s bromide about the risks of GMOs? He helped penned this article below last year and I’m curious about just how accurate his take, since he’s not a biologist by training:

    http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pp2.pdf

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    he get's stuff wrong. he called me a fucking idiot on twitter for saying that.
  11. @Riordan
    Razib,

    What is your opinion on Nicholas Nassim Taleb's bromide about the risks of GMOs? He helped penned this article below last year and I'm curious about just how accurate his take, since he's not a biologist by training:

    http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pp2.pdf

    he get’s stuff wrong. he called me a fucking idiot on twitter for saying that.

    Read More
  12. Razib,

    Are you able to provide links to your exchange with him on Twitter? If not, what did he get wrong about it, to put it briefly?

    Read More
  13. @fnn
    If you believe Houellebecq, family is no longer important to quite a few Westerners. Very low TFRs seem to confirm that. IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children. OTOH, the eccentric German Defense Minister has given birth to seven ethnic German children. If Trump forces Germany to build up its military, she may become a positive role model for the masses and thereby increase family formation.

    And, yes, I'm well aware that affluent (or at least rapidly developing) East Asian countries have "death spiral" TFRs.

    another awkward trend is to get children but then spent as less time as possible with them. People have children and then give them to childcare from 8:00 to 17:00, and that starts sometimes even before the first birthday. Now I know that the post-WWII paradise of the single earner and the housewife who takes care of children was a historical anomaly, and I understand that talented people need to work to make use of their talent. Yet I think that most people are not that talented, so their work is of no essential value, other than being a mean to have a good life. So, why not use all the wealth which exists in the modern world to trade some additional money for additional time at home?

    Read More
  14. If you are a ‘conservative’, and not married, and without children, and above 30, perhaps you should consider what you need to do to get to a point where you can embody the values

    If hearth and home are the ideal for a conservative, does the conservative have any obligation to entertain the idea that our economy is structured and functioning in a manner that puts the “ideal” out of reach for the less able?

    Read More
  15. Depending upon how the next four years go, Donald Trump’s administration may quite literally put me out of work., with my prospects for other employment very dim indeed. That said, I’ve settled more into a “watch and wait” mode right now. Trump has said so many different (and often diametrically opposite) things that it’s hard for me to predict what he will be like in office. I could foresee anything from a largely ineffectual, non-ideological populist to a pretty conventional movement conservative depending upon which inclinations he goes with (and how much he decides to let his cabinet make decisions he cares little about. I’d prefer to wait to criticize what Trump actually does than litigate what he has said, given now that the campaign is over words are once again just that.

    But as Razib said, I’m trying to put things in the wider perspective. My son’s cancer treatment is almost over, and all signs are that he’s remaining in remission (full diagnostic scans are coming in January. All things considered, I prefer a live son over a Clinton presidency greatly- not that I greeted the prospect of the latter with anything more than a shrug regardless.

    Read More
  16. @ohwilleke
    FWIW, I'm scared shitless. In particular, I disagree with the statement:

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded.
     
    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    It is going to be a white knuckled, hanging on for dear life, four years.

    You have created the monster in your own imagination. If you are that upset, I would suggest talking to your personal physician.

    Read More
  17. I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember. Even at age 6, I could tell the difference between history and fiction. Also, I was probably influenced by spending a lot of my time as a kid with my grandparents, who had a mixed Catholic-Protestant marriage at a time when this was really unusual. There were two parallel sets of relatives who NEVER interacted with each other, and my grandparents’ house was sort of a religious demilitarized zone. So, I got good at being superficially supportive and agreeable without being offensive to whomever I was with, while at home, religion was simply never brought up.

    I’ll have to admit that I liked going to Catholic Mass more, because they worshiped in a secret language (Latin) that I could spend my time trying to decode. Early exposure to Latin is probably the best benefit I have ever gotten from religion of any kind. It’s a shame the Catholics don’t do this any more.

    Read More
  18. @ohwilleke
    FWIW, I'm scared shitless. In particular, I disagree with the statement:

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded.
     
    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    It is going to be a white knuckled, hanging on for dear life, four years.

    Hey ohwilleke,

    Trump has roused a dragon

    That dragon was already roused; the question is, who was going to ride it? In fact, had he not been elected, it may have been a dragon without a rider – a possibly more frightening prospect. Whether a lot of things change or not, it does mollify disenfranchised whites (and there are quite a lot of them) that a WASP-like person is in power – so at least one of their own is screwing them and not some black guy with a middle name of ‘Hussain’.

    FWIW, my wife and I have already discussed getting passports for all the kids…never hurts to be prepared.

    Peace.

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    it may have been a dragon without a rider – a possibly more frightening prospect

    I agree with you here, Talha. Trump's election will mollify most of the anger and resentment.

    As to the long term, we will just have to wait and see. If the Democrats select the NOI follower as DNC chair, it should just about finish off the Democratic Party in 2020. Then, without having the Democrats to worry about the Republican Party can choose up sides and split.

  19. @Talha
    Hey ohwilleke,

    Trump has roused a dragon
     
    That dragon was already roused; the question is, who was going to ride it? In fact, had he not been elected, it may have been a dragon without a rider - a possibly more frightening prospect. Whether a lot of things change or not, it does mollify disenfranchised whites (and there are quite a lot of them) that a WASP-like person is in power - so at least one of their own is screwing them and not some black guy with a middle name of 'Hussain'.

    FWIW, my wife and I have already discussed getting passports for all the kids...never hurts to be prepared.

    Peace.

    it may have been a dragon without a rider – a possibly more frightening prospect

    I agree with you here, Talha. Trump’s election will mollify most of the anger and resentment.

    As to the long term, we will just have to wait and see. If the Democrats select the NOI follower as DNC chair, it should just about finish off the Democratic Party in 2020. Then, without having the Democrats to worry about the Republican Party can choose up sides and split.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey iffen,

    I had to do a double take on this one:

    If the Democrats select the NOI follower as DNC chair
     
    I looked it up - and I guess they are talking about Keith Ellison taking that position. From what I know, the man is soundly Sunni - but came through the NOI like many Black Muslims* that are past a certain age. But I agree, I don't think that is a strategic move at all and will likely tank the DNC further. I have known some big shots in the large Muslim organizations in the past, and I disagree with their strategy. A lot of their tactics mimic those of Jewish groups, but that doesn't work for us since we are not simply an ethnic minority.

    Peace.

    *Not joking - I know a white brother who came to Sunni Islam because the NOI rejected him since he had no Black ancestry. They felt bad for the guy so they said something like "Well, we won't take you, but you might want to try those guys."
  20. I don’t own a tv and I don’t drink alcohol; those two activities “take up” a lot of time..

    I have made an exception for the “Crown”; the netflix show on the Royals.

    Other than that my London sci-fi/Fantasy & post-apocalyptic book clubs keep me on 2/3 books a month (upper limit).

    I also tend to buy a paperback as a companion read; no surprise historical fiction, the “Cicero trilogy” by Robert Harris..

    Finally my handyman’s ancestor founded one of the chapels in the Cambridge colleges in the 17th century. So as we were discussing evensong (I attend the Sunday one at one of the older colleges and the other at my fiancee’s college) he asked if I too was an Anglican? I’m not and have no plans to be (I remain true to my own faith) but I tend to be drawn to the High Culture of any place I’m in (be it Hindu, Anglican, Shi’ite or Sunni)..

    Read More
  21. @fnn
    If you believe Houellebecq, family is no longer important to quite a few Westerners. Very low TFRs seem to confirm that. IIRC, about 30% of German women (including of course Frau Merkel) never have children. OTOH, the eccentric German Defense Minister has given birth to seven ethnic German children. If Trump forces Germany to build up its military, she may become a positive role model for the masses and thereby increase family formation.

    And, yes, I'm well aware that affluent (or at least rapidly developing) East Asian countries have "death spiral" TFRs.

    My impression is traditional societies had kind of social features to favour marrying young: perhaps for people not to be too choosy and not to make a perfect romantic life the enemy of the good and much, much more importantly than these two, that to marry and have kids when young (maybe with practically the first partner you might meet) was assumed to be vastly the norm.

    (Yes, in the old days, a number of people (men particularly) didn’t marry. Often because of wealth though – when the traditional social model was in force and median wealth was high, in the early-mid 20th century, marriage and reproduction had an apex?).

    (Subjectively, if you listen to this late 70s pop song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQciegmLPAo. Seems like a quick shorthand reminder of how dating and romantic and working life was, at least for the working class and seems intuitive that would be higher tfr if it was the norm.)

    You still have pockets of this old approach, passed down by some parents and communities. But I think fewer today are “the marrying kind”. I think once the norms and attitudes are gone, a lot of people just drop away from family and children.

    I don’t think there’s a lot that can be done about this really! There seems like no appetite to go back to an old way of doing things.

    A lot of people who, in today’s terms for marriage, are not the marrying kind still have generally conservative moral intuitions and do not have liberal moral intuitions… It’s a poor fit to claim they shouldn’t have if they aren’t going to marry. You are what you are. But maybe for the good of their lives they do need to find some form of community to be a part of.

    Read More
  22. For the most part, I’ve stopped playing PC/console games except for the occasional game of Civilization 4. But I do play a lot of mobile games and I do watch “Let’s Plays” and gaming commentary on YouTube from time to time, as replacements for television that I don’t watch anymore. So I guess you can call me a “cultural gamer” or “non-gamer gamer”. I also play (modern) board games with two groups fairly regularly, but that could be bracketed as socializing time.

    I would give broader advice regarding the election, particularly for the losers. If possible, get a hobby, particularly one that “hands on” and is more “grounded in reality”. If that means reading intellectual books, that’s great. But that’s not everybody’s inclination, but they could still do like woodworking, cycling, etc. Remember that no matter how much whine about politics, unless you are one of select few within the charmed circle of the capital, you aren’t going to any effect whatsoever on the outcome. So after a certain time, it’s better to just move on to matters you can more easily control. Moreover, I say “hands on” and “grounded in reality” because in our “information” age it’s easy to lose contact with the “real” world and get caught up in the “social (media) world”, with arguments and discussion often too far removed from facts. It’s nice to go back to things that “just are”, even if it’s only within books.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Moreover, I say “hands on” and “grounded in reality” because in our “information” age it’s easy to lose contact with the “real” world and get caught up in the “social (media) world”, with arguments and discussion often too far removed from facts.
     
    That's a good advice even for the "winners" of this election... in other words, for everyone.

    I don't understand the fascination with video games. I see even alleged adults playing shoot'em up games, and I just shake my head. Why not go out and do actual shooting or hunting? It's much more fun and exciting than staring dumbstruck at a fast moving electronic image while furiously pushing little buttons in a dark basement. And the same with people playing sports games - go out shoot some hoops, play catch or kick around a soccer ball. Or better yet, go take martial arts or boxing classes. It's so much healthier for both mind and body.

    People - especially young people - nowadays seem to want to live vicariously through the electronic screen rather than go out and do something productive and healthy.
  23. @abner
    I'd wondered if Razib would be offered a Trump government position.

    I’d wondered if Razib would be offered a Trump government position.

    I don’t think Mr. Khan supported or voted for Trump.

    Read More
  24. @Christopher
    For the most part, I've stopped playing PC/console games except for the occasional game of Civilization 4. But I do play a lot of mobile games and I do watch "Let's Plays" and gaming commentary on YouTube from time to time, as replacements for television that I don't watch anymore. So I guess you can call me a "cultural gamer" or "non-gamer gamer". I also play (modern) board games with two groups fairly regularly, but that could be bracketed as socializing time.

    I would give broader advice regarding the election, particularly for the losers. If possible, get a hobby, particularly one that "hands on" and is more "grounded in reality". If that means reading intellectual books, that's great. But that's not everybody's inclination, but they could still do like woodworking, cycling, etc. Remember that no matter how much whine about politics, unless you are one of select few within the charmed circle of the capital, you aren't going to any effect whatsoever on the outcome. So after a certain time, it's better to just move on to matters you can more easily control. Moreover, I say "hands on" and "grounded in reality" because in our "information" age it's easy to lose contact with the "real" world and get caught up in the "social (media) world", with arguments and discussion often too far removed from facts. It's nice to go back to things that "just are", even if it's only within books.

    Moreover, I say “hands on” and “grounded in reality” because in our “information” age it’s easy to lose contact with the “real” world and get caught up in the “social (media) world”, with arguments and discussion often too far removed from facts.

    That’s a good advice even for the “winners” of this election… in other words, for everyone.

    I don’t understand the fascination with video games. I see even alleged adults playing shoot’em up games, and I just shake my head. Why not go out and do actual shooting or hunting? It’s much more fun and exciting than staring dumbstruck at a fast moving electronic image while furiously pushing little buttons in a dark basement. And the same with people playing sports games – go out shoot some hoops, play catch or kick around a soccer ball. Or better yet, go take martial arts or boxing classes. It’s so much healthier for both mind and body.

    People – especially young people – nowadays seem to want to live vicariously through the electronic screen rather than go out and do something productive and healthy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    I haven't been a console gamer since childhood. I did keep up with PC gaming for a long time - mostly strategy and role-playing games. This has fallen to the wayside as I have gotten older and have more responsibilities regarding work and family of course, although I may do it for an hour or two before bed on occasion if I'm not reading a book.

    A few years back I read an article which perfectly encapsulated the appeal of gaming - it's basically addictive problem solving. Our minds have evolved in such a way that we get a sense of accomplishment from coming up with a solution to any sort of problem. Gaming is appealing because it takes the seemingly infinite and ambiguous choices of reality and narrows them down to a handful of "right" solutions (in some cases, just one). It also puts only challenges in front of us which the average consumer can easily figure out. And it eliminates a lot of the drudgery which is involved in making decisions in reality - the only physical "work" involved being a handful of clicks. And you often get immediate numeric feedback - you get points, or gain a level, or get an achievement on Steam. The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.

    What the popularity of gaming shows, at least to me, is that there is a lot of untapped cognitive potential yet in the modern era. Of course, many people simply like passive entertainment, or mindless arcade-style games. But many people spend hundreds of hours crafting perfect strategies and uncovering every "Easter egg" in games as well. It's a heck of a lot of cognitive load for something which has absolutely no practical or economic application. I can't help but think that if offered with more engaging work, many of these people could accomplish great things for society. Perhaps the solution in the future will be to make what work remains more "gamelike" with immediately visible "achievements" once standards are met.

  25. I don’t understand the fascination with video games. I see even alleged adults playing shoot’em up games, and I just shake my head. Why not go out and do actual shooting or hunting? It’s much more fun and exciting than staring dumbstruck at a fast moving electronic image while furiously pushing little buttons in a dark basement.

    With single player, there’s the challenge of beating the game (which has gotten easier over years). Many of the games are thick with non-interactive plots … which often struggles to reach typical television-storytelling quality. But it is there.

    Multiplayer has the competitive angle, with local multiplayer (i.e. you and bunch of friends sitting around a single television and console) there is also the social interaction. I’ve got a feeling that has declined with console internet access. Playing anonymously over the Internet strikes me as unpleasant, given how people act on the Internet.

    And the same with people playing sports games – go out shoot some hoops, play catch or kick around a soccer ball.

    My impression (I am almost totally unfamiliar with the genre) is that modern sports game – at least for the major team sports like association/American football, hockey, baseball, etc. – is all about being the team coach/manger as much as it is about being the players (at least for season mode). It what you call a “god game”, like war or 4X games. So while you can go out and play amateur games on the evenings and the weekend, you cannot easily indulge the fantasy of micromanaging your team to victory. It’s closer to sport spectating and fantasy sports than the act of playing those sports.

    Which is arguable worse than playing video games, since at least during the latter you are doing something. TIME has a recent article pointed how during the 20th century medicine and sport science became all about perfecting elite athletic performance for mass audiences who were slowly becoming more sedentary and unhealthy.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    there’s the challenge of beating the game
     
    In all the physical endeavors I mentioned there are challenges, whether it is tracking down and killing an animal or outsmarting a human opponent.

    you cannot easily indulge the fantasy of micromanaging your team to victory.
     
    If team management is your desire, there is always coaching or managing your kids' bumble bee soccer team to the league championship.
  26. @Twinkie

    Moreover, I say “hands on” and “grounded in reality” because in our “information” age it’s easy to lose contact with the “real” world and get caught up in the “social (media) world”, with arguments and discussion often too far removed from facts.
     
    That's a good advice even for the "winners" of this election... in other words, for everyone.

    I don't understand the fascination with video games. I see even alleged adults playing shoot'em up games, and I just shake my head. Why not go out and do actual shooting or hunting? It's much more fun and exciting than staring dumbstruck at a fast moving electronic image while furiously pushing little buttons in a dark basement. And the same with people playing sports games - go out shoot some hoops, play catch or kick around a soccer ball. Or better yet, go take martial arts or boxing classes. It's so much healthier for both mind and body.

    People - especially young people - nowadays seem to want to live vicariously through the electronic screen rather than go out and do something productive and healthy.

    I haven’t been a console gamer since childhood. I did keep up with PC gaming for a long time – mostly strategy and role-playing games. This has fallen to the wayside as I have gotten older and have more responsibilities regarding work and family of course, although I may do it for an hour or two before bed on occasion if I’m not reading a book.

    A few years back I read an article which perfectly encapsulated the appeal of gaming – it’s basically addictive problem solving. Our minds have evolved in such a way that we get a sense of accomplishment from coming up with a solution to any sort of problem. Gaming is appealing because it takes the seemingly infinite and ambiguous choices of reality and narrows them down to a handful of “right” solutions (in some cases, just one). It also puts only challenges in front of us which the average consumer can easily figure out. And it eliminates a lot of the drudgery which is involved in making decisions in reality – the only physical “work” involved being a handful of clicks. And you often get immediate numeric feedback – you get points, or gain a level, or get an achievement on Steam. The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.

    What the popularity of gaming shows, at least to me, is that there is a lot of untapped cognitive potential yet in the modern era. Of course, many people simply like passive entertainment, or mindless arcade-style games. But many people spend hundreds of hours crafting perfect strategies and uncovering every “Easter egg” in games as well. It’s a heck of a lot of cognitive load for something which has absolutely no practical or economic application. I can’t help but think that if offered with more engaging work, many of these people could accomplish great things for society. Perhaps the solution in the future will be to make what work remains more “gamelike” with immediately visible “achievements” once standards are met.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    the appeal of gaming – it’s basically addictive problem solving.
     
    It's an addiction all right, just not a healthy one. There are other, healthier kinds of obsessions that involve problem solving and reward for correct solutions.

    When my eldest child first started doing Judo and Jujitsu formally as a small child, he'd get pinned by bigger and more experienced kids during sparring. He would get really frustrated and even cried once when he was thrown cleanly over his head and then pinned by a kid who outweighed him by 30 lb. He got scared and froze (thankfully that was it - one time of crying - there were kids who cried the whole training session... for weeks).

    I explained to him that, once he overcame the panic from the physical discomfort, he'd realize that his training partner/opponent was presenting him with a problem, a four dimensional (three physical dimensions plus time, with the latter being the most important dimension) puzzle. I told him that what he should do is take a deep breath, relax, empty/refresh his mind, and think about the solution to the puzzle and then implement it (physically). And that once he got good, he'd be the one presenting puzzles to his training partners, non-stop. Opening one door, then closing it, then opening another one, then closing it. And imposing his will on another.

    Over the years, he never took to video games (of course, my wife and I strongly discouraged it), but as a teenager he tosses, pins, and submits many of the adult training partners. And he's had six-pack abs since he was about 8. He occasionally even gets the better of me if I nap during sparring - of course he's getting stronger every day while I am getting weaker, but I do have my guile from decades of training. It's a little bit scary what he'll be like when he becomes a full grown adult. He'll be putting people to sleep with one grip. He'll have to take it easy on me sooner rather than later. And he will realize - my goodness - he can BEAT HIS FATHER!

    That's what a good kind of problem solving game does for you. What does one get after a decade of playing video games hour or two a day? Probably ADHD and bad eyes.

    My children don't know how to play "Tour of Duty" or whatever those shoot'em games are called, but they can survive in the wilderness with a knife. That's real. That's tangible.

    The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.
     
    You should have seen his face the first time my son was able to do this in sparring to a resisting opponent: https://youtu.be/qme3cDTKDK8

    That kid did not stop smiling for days. I don't think I've ever seen anyone smile like that because he conquered a video game.
  27. @ohwilleke
    FWIW, I'm scared shitless. In particular, I disagree with the statement:

    But, accusations that he is a racist, a fascist, an anti-Semite, etc. are election year rodomontade, and should be disregarded.
     
    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    It is going to be a white knuckled, hanging on for dear life, four years.

    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.

    Trump certainly raised a dragon of anti-Trump exaggeration. Unless you have some special evidence unmentioned in the news, there’s nothing remotely connecting your illustration of “some people dead” to Trump.

    “Police, who are working with the FBI on the case, have said it’s unclear whether Alnahdi was the victim of a hate crime.”

    http://www.twincities.com/2016/11/14/2-women-sought-in-uw-stout-students-brain-injury-death/

    Read More
    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @iffen
    I can see the Sailer headline now:

    Blacks Kill Arab; White Racism at Fault
  28. @iffen
    it may have been a dragon without a rider – a possibly more frightening prospect

    I agree with you here, Talha. Trump's election will mollify most of the anger and resentment.

    As to the long term, we will just have to wait and see. If the Democrats select the NOI follower as DNC chair, it should just about finish off the Democratic Party in 2020. Then, without having the Democrats to worry about the Republican Party can choose up sides and split.

    Hey iffen,

    I had to do a double take on this one:

    If the Democrats select the NOI follower as DNC chair

    I looked it up – and I guess they are talking about Keith Ellison taking that position. From what I know, the man is soundly Sunni – but came through the NOI like many Black Muslims* that are past a certain age. But I agree, I don’t think that is a strategic move at all and will likely tank the DNC further. I have known some big shots in the large Muslim organizations in the past, and I disagree with their strategy. A lot of their tactics mimic those of Jewish groups, but that doesn’t work for us since we are not simply an ethnic minority.

    Peace.

    *Not joking – I know a white brother who came to Sunni Islam because the NOI rejected him since he had no Black ancestry. They felt bad for the guy so they said something like “Well, we won’t take you, but you might want to try those guys.”

    Read More
  29. “Atheist Muslim” reminds me of the old joke here in Ireland,

    “So you’re an Atheist?, would you be a Catholic Atheist or a Protestant Atheist?”

    Read More
  30. @European-American

    Trump has roused a dragon that may be very hard to bind again. Those accusations have a very solid factual basis and are not mere electioneering. The hope he has given to those likeminded has already triggered a wave of violence. This wave of violence has left some people dead, like this UW-Stout student in a town I visit regularly, where I have a friend who is a professor.
     
    Trump certainly raised a dragon of anti-Trump exaggeration. Unless you have some special evidence unmentioned in the news, there's nothing remotely connecting your illustration of "some people dead" to Trump.

    "Police, who are working with the FBI on the case, have said it’s unclear whether Alnahdi was the victim of a hate crime."
    http://www.twincities.com/2016/11/14/2-women-sought-in-uw-stout-students-brain-injury-death/
     

    I can see the Sailer headline now:

    Blacks Kill Arab; White Racism at Fault

    Read More
  31. @Christopher

    I don’t understand the fascination with video games. I see even alleged adults playing shoot’em up games, and I just shake my head. Why not go out and do actual shooting or hunting? It’s much more fun and exciting than staring dumbstruck at a fast moving electronic image while furiously pushing little buttons in a dark basement.
     
    With single player, there's the challenge of beating the game (which has gotten easier over years). Many of the games are thick with non-interactive plots ... which often struggles to reach typical television-storytelling quality. But it is there.

    Multiplayer has the competitive angle, with local multiplayer (i.e. you and bunch of friends sitting around a single television and console) there is also the social interaction. I've got a feeling that has declined with console internet access. Playing anonymously over the Internet strikes me as unpleasant, given how people act on the Internet.


    And the same with people playing sports games – go out shoot some hoops, play catch or kick around a soccer ball.
     
    My impression (I am almost totally unfamiliar with the genre) is that modern sports game - at least for the major team sports like association/American football, hockey, baseball, etc. - is all about being the team coach/manger as much as it is about being the players (at least for season mode). It what you call a "god game", like war or 4X games. So while you can go out and play amateur games on the evenings and the weekend, you cannot easily indulge the fantasy of micromanaging your team to victory. It's closer to sport spectating and fantasy sports than the act of playing those sports.

    Which is arguable worse than playing video games, since at least during the latter you are doing something. TIME has a recent article pointed how during the 20th century medicine and sport science became all about perfecting elite athletic performance for mass audiences who were slowly becoming more sedentary and unhealthy.

    there’s the challenge of beating the game

    In all the physical endeavors I mentioned there are challenges, whether it is tracking down and killing an animal or outsmarting a human opponent.

    you cannot easily indulge the fantasy of micromanaging your team to victory.

    If team management is your desire, there is always coaching or managing your kids’ bumble bee soccer team to the league championship.

    Read More
  32. @Karl Zimmerman
    I haven't been a console gamer since childhood. I did keep up with PC gaming for a long time - mostly strategy and role-playing games. This has fallen to the wayside as I have gotten older and have more responsibilities regarding work and family of course, although I may do it for an hour or two before bed on occasion if I'm not reading a book.

    A few years back I read an article which perfectly encapsulated the appeal of gaming - it's basically addictive problem solving. Our minds have evolved in such a way that we get a sense of accomplishment from coming up with a solution to any sort of problem. Gaming is appealing because it takes the seemingly infinite and ambiguous choices of reality and narrows them down to a handful of "right" solutions (in some cases, just one). It also puts only challenges in front of us which the average consumer can easily figure out. And it eliminates a lot of the drudgery which is involved in making decisions in reality - the only physical "work" involved being a handful of clicks. And you often get immediate numeric feedback - you get points, or gain a level, or get an achievement on Steam. The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.

    What the popularity of gaming shows, at least to me, is that there is a lot of untapped cognitive potential yet in the modern era. Of course, many people simply like passive entertainment, or mindless arcade-style games. But many people spend hundreds of hours crafting perfect strategies and uncovering every "Easter egg" in games as well. It's a heck of a lot of cognitive load for something which has absolutely no practical or economic application. I can't help but think that if offered with more engaging work, many of these people could accomplish great things for society. Perhaps the solution in the future will be to make what work remains more "gamelike" with immediately visible "achievements" once standards are met.

    the appeal of gaming – it’s basically addictive problem solving.

    It’s an addiction all right, just not a healthy one. There are other, healthier kinds of obsessions that involve problem solving and reward for correct solutions.

    When my eldest child first started doing Judo and Jujitsu formally as a small child, he’d get pinned by bigger and more experienced kids during sparring. He would get really frustrated and even cried once when he was thrown cleanly over his head and then pinned by a kid who outweighed him by 30 lb. He got scared and froze (thankfully that was it – one time of crying – there were kids who cried the whole training session… for weeks).

    I explained to him that, once he overcame the panic from the physical discomfort, he’d realize that his training partner/opponent was presenting him with a problem, a four dimensional (three physical dimensions plus time, with the latter being the most important dimension) puzzle. I told him that what he should do is take a deep breath, relax, empty/refresh his mind, and think about the solution to the puzzle and then implement it (physically). And that once he got good, he’d be the one presenting puzzles to his training partners, non-stop. Opening one door, then closing it, then opening another one, then closing it. And imposing his will on another.

    Over the years, he never took to video games (of course, my wife and I strongly discouraged it), but as a teenager he tosses, pins, and submits many of the adult training partners. And he’s had six-pack abs since he was about 8. He occasionally even gets the better of me if I nap during sparring – of course he’s getting stronger every day while I am getting weaker, but I do have my guile from decades of training. It’s a little bit scary what he’ll be like when he becomes a full grown adult. He’ll be putting people to sleep with one grip. He’ll have to take it easy on me sooner rather than later. And he will realize – my goodness – he can BEAT HIS FATHER!

    That’s what a good kind of problem solving game does for you. What does one get after a decade of playing video games hour or two a day? Probably ADHD and bad eyes.

    My children don’t know how to play “Tour of Duty” or whatever those shoot’em games are called, but they can survive in the wilderness with a knife. That’s real. That’s tangible.

    The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.

    You should have seen his face the first time my son was able to do this in sparring to a resisting opponent: https://youtu.be/qme3cDTKDK8

    That kid did not stop smiling for days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone smile like that because he conquered a video game.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    You can certainly make the point that there are real-life challenges which are much more fulfilling than being a gamer - a point that I would agree with. I don't think martial arts are for everyone however. Speaking personally although I have no issue with physical exertion, my hand-eye coordination was always rather poor - to the point that, for example, I found it pretty much impossible to hit a moving ball in any competitive sport.

    Regardless, even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming, society is bringing none of them to the fore. For example, our culture has been rightly pointing out what needs to be done to avoid obesity for decades now, yet the obesity rate continues to rise. The reason is not that people don't logically know what needs to be done. It's that our way of life is constructed in such a way to make staying a reasonable weight hard work - and we're surrounded by peers who often are in worse shape than we are, which allows us to rationalize our current situation as "not so bad really." It's a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing. It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation, or at least incentives which delicately nudge behaviors to a different direction.
  33. @Twinkie

    the appeal of gaming – it’s basically addictive problem solving.
     
    It's an addiction all right, just not a healthy one. There are other, healthier kinds of obsessions that involve problem solving and reward for correct solutions.

    When my eldest child first started doing Judo and Jujitsu formally as a small child, he'd get pinned by bigger and more experienced kids during sparring. He would get really frustrated and even cried once when he was thrown cleanly over his head and then pinned by a kid who outweighed him by 30 lb. He got scared and froze (thankfully that was it - one time of crying - there were kids who cried the whole training session... for weeks).

    I explained to him that, once he overcame the panic from the physical discomfort, he'd realize that his training partner/opponent was presenting him with a problem, a four dimensional (three physical dimensions plus time, with the latter being the most important dimension) puzzle. I told him that what he should do is take a deep breath, relax, empty/refresh his mind, and think about the solution to the puzzle and then implement it (physically). And that once he got good, he'd be the one presenting puzzles to his training partners, non-stop. Opening one door, then closing it, then opening another one, then closing it. And imposing his will on another.

    Over the years, he never took to video games (of course, my wife and I strongly discouraged it), but as a teenager he tosses, pins, and submits many of the adult training partners. And he's had six-pack abs since he was about 8. He occasionally even gets the better of me if I nap during sparring - of course he's getting stronger every day while I am getting weaker, but I do have my guile from decades of training. It's a little bit scary what he'll be like when he becomes a full grown adult. He'll be putting people to sleep with one grip. He'll have to take it easy on me sooner rather than later. And he will realize - my goodness - he can BEAT HIS FATHER!

    That's what a good kind of problem solving game does for you. What does one get after a decade of playing video games hour or two a day? Probably ADHD and bad eyes.

    My children don't know how to play "Tour of Duty" or whatever those shoot'em games are called, but they can survive in the wilderness with a knife. That's real. That's tangible.

    The result is solving a problem in a game world is often more appealing than solving one in your work and/or personal life, so you come back for more, and more, and more.
     
    You should have seen his face the first time my son was able to do this in sparring to a resisting opponent: https://youtu.be/qme3cDTKDK8

    That kid did not stop smiling for days. I don't think I've ever seen anyone smile like that because he conquered a video game.

    You can certainly make the point that there are real-life challenges which are much more fulfilling than being a gamer – a point that I would agree with. I don’t think martial arts are for everyone however. Speaking personally although I have no issue with physical exertion, my hand-eye coordination was always rather poor – to the point that, for example, I found it pretty much impossible to hit a moving ball in any competitive sport.

    Regardless, even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming, society is bringing none of them to the fore. For example, our culture has been rightly pointing out what needs to be done to avoid obesity for decades now, yet the obesity rate continues to rise. The reason is not that people don’t logically know what needs to be done. It’s that our way of life is constructed in such a way to make staying a reasonable weight hard work – and we’re surrounded by peers who often are in worse shape than we are, which allows us to rationalize our current situation as “not so bad really.” It’s a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing. It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation, or at least incentives which delicately nudge behaviors to a different direction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Twinkie

    even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming
     
    You got that all wrong. Gaming is a very bad alternative to the real thing.

    It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation
     
    No. Just no.

    It’s a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing.
     
    I recommend Julius Evola's "Ride the Tiger."

    In the mean time, I present to you a young woman (whose father shares a similar parenting philosophy as I do) who probably does not find video games all that exciting. I believe she is 12:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BIghTqYjtFs/

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BIagtwujQnO/
    , @iffen
    It’s a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing.

    It is both. Our weaknesses as individuals can be overcome or held under control with "good" group support. "Our" group is in failure mode so the sliding scale of individual deficiencies are coming to the fore. "Fix" our group and it will lift many more individuals to a higher plane, which will, of course, lift the group even more.
  34. New paper about Native Americans

    http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13175#abstract

    Nothing too surprising – modern Pacific Northwest natives have recent Northwest European admixture ancients lack, reduction in effective population size.

    TreeMix shows strong residuals between East Asians and Sub-Saharan groups, indicating the need for a migration edge seen in many previous runs. The big picture of Eurasian population history still missing significant pieces?

    http://oi66.tinypic.com/4r9uyx.jpg

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  35. @Karl Zimmerman
    Depending upon how the next four years go, Donald Trump's administration may quite literally put me out of work., with my prospects for other employment very dim indeed. That said, I've settled more into a "watch and wait" mode right now. Trump has said so many different (and often diametrically opposite) things that it's hard for me to predict what he will be like in office. I could foresee anything from a largely ineffectual, non-ideological populist to a pretty conventional movement conservative depending upon which inclinations he goes with (and how much he decides to let his cabinet make decisions he cares little about. I'd prefer to wait to criticize what Trump actually does than litigate what he has said, given now that the campaign is over words are once again just that.

    But as Razib said, I'm trying to put things in the wider perspective. My son's cancer treatment is almost over, and all signs are that he's remaining in remission (full diagnostic scans are coming in January. All things considered, I prefer a live son over a Clinton presidency greatly- not that I greeted the prospect of the latter with anything more than a shrug regardless.

    Very best of luck for your son!

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  36. @Karl Zimmerman
    You can certainly make the point that there are real-life challenges which are much more fulfilling than being a gamer - a point that I would agree with. I don't think martial arts are for everyone however. Speaking personally although I have no issue with physical exertion, my hand-eye coordination was always rather poor - to the point that, for example, I found it pretty much impossible to hit a moving ball in any competitive sport.

    Regardless, even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming, society is bringing none of them to the fore. For example, our culture has been rightly pointing out what needs to be done to avoid obesity for decades now, yet the obesity rate continues to rise. The reason is not that people don't logically know what needs to be done. It's that our way of life is constructed in such a way to make staying a reasonable weight hard work - and we're surrounded by peers who often are in worse shape than we are, which allows us to rationalize our current situation as "not so bad really." It's a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing. It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation, or at least incentives which delicately nudge behaviors to a different direction.

    even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming

    You got that all wrong. Gaming is a very bad alternative to the real thing.

    It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation

    No. Just no.

    It’s a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing.

    I recommend Julius Evola’s “Ride the Tiger.”

    In the mean time, I present to you a young woman (whose father shares a similar parenting philosophy as I do) who probably does not find video games all that exciting. I believe she is 12:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BIghTqYjtFs/

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BIagtwujQnO/

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  37. @Karl Zimmerman
    You can certainly make the point that there are real-life challenges which are much more fulfilling than being a gamer - a point that I would agree with. I don't think martial arts are for everyone however. Speaking personally although I have no issue with physical exertion, my hand-eye coordination was always rather poor - to the point that, for example, I found it pretty much impossible to hit a moving ball in any competitive sport.

    Regardless, even if good alternatives currently exist to gaming, society is bringing none of them to the fore. For example, our culture has been rightly pointing out what needs to be done to avoid obesity for decades now, yet the obesity rate continues to rise. The reason is not that people don't logically know what needs to be done. It's that our way of life is constructed in such a way to make staying a reasonable weight hard work - and we're surrounded by peers who often are in worse shape than we are, which allows us to rationalize our current situation as "not so bad really." It's a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing. It might be the socialist in me talking, but the only way I can see a fundamental shift in issues such as these (barring chaotic social breakdown) is through legislation, or at least incentives which delicately nudge behaviors to a different direction.

    It’s a sickness of our culture, not a sickness of individual moral failing.

    It is both. Our weaknesses as individuals can be overcome or held under control with “good” group support. “Our” group is in failure mode so the sliding scale of individual deficiencies are coming to the fore. “Fix” our group and it will lift many more individuals to a higher plane, which will, of course, lift the group even more.

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