Lex Fridman's Analysis of Putin and Ukraine
PowerfulJRE | Date added: 27-May-22


My response...

Lex provides an insightful perspective; from my understanding from the few discussions I've watched of him, he either has family or friends in both Ukraine and Russia. When this occurs it seems to stifle the incessant and blatant "this side is bad" "that man is evil". Well almost; but that comes from Joe Rogan.

However, while Lex talks about propaganda, and how it can (or the lack of can) be felt from within, he seems to completely believe that the West, i.e. America, on it's "Wars of Terror" and fighting for "Freedom", to "free oppressed people" was/has been/is all that, that wars for these things, and that innocent people dying in these conflicts is just a regrettable thing that happens, but that the fight is essentially right and noble... America is essentially good and noble in its fight for these causes.

But what if these fights, the "fight for freedom" or to "liberate oppressed people" was and is all just BS and a front for the arms (and other) companies that like wars because it means they get to sell more weapons? Instability causes more conflicts and "supply chain issues" and therefore price rises (which in turn mean someone somewhere is making more money. What if (claimed) wars to liberate people ultimately creates more restrictions, less freedom, and greater distrust amongst the nations of the world? What if, Lex, you don't see the wood for the trees, the propaganda for the "news"?

Joe talks about the need and desire for strong (male) leaders, but when you consider this in the context of Russia and Ukraine, you can perhaps see (or I can), how this works to prevent any one side backing down; I saw how the Ukrainian president immediately started appearing in news conferences at the start of the conflict, in "army clothes"; implying "I am here to fight"; Putin's dress on the other hand portrays a level-headed, almost business-like manner, more amicable if not there to discuss things.

The side note in the video about Putin's health and his apparent "puffy face" I had noticed myself and wondered what that was all about; is it just stress? The explanation in the video seems to be a reasonable one. Does a leader's health matter? I think so; if a decades-long leader of a super power nation is on their last legs, they might hold back less when it comes to "pulling out all the stops" or "going out guns blazing." We can also consider the mental health that comes with illness - Joe Biden's senility is a case in point and I don't think his weakness in this whole thing is doing the world any favours. The people surrounding Biden have already shown that they're not listening to him because he's senile - Boris Johnson carries the same kind of issue when he comes across as a moron.

What do you think?


Pizza Hut Nationalism
The Podcast of the Lotus Eaters | Date added: 15-May-22


My response...

I was recently away camping and walking, and while I was doing this, alone with my thoughts each day, I considered, mostly about computers and technology, what aspects I actually like of each.

I remember when I was new to computers and got my first PC, and what the internet was like then (around 1999); this is the era I like. I realise that while there are aspects that have necessarily changed as the masses have moved online for things like shopping and banking, but the (often) obsolete things I once enjoyed, and think back to with nostalgia, I can actually still enjoy if I so wish. Having a website on Neocities is a part of this, since it echoes some of what Geocities was about.

This video about Pizza Hut essentially reminisces a time when Pizza Hut (and others like McDonalds) were seemingly at their best.

I have very little nostalgia for such places since my parents avoided doing what was seemingly normal for many in taking us out to eat regularly. There also wasn't such an establishment close enough to us for me to just hang out at as a teenager.

For these reasons I perhaps look to these places through a different lens; I see how people have been using these places for all these years (decades) and the creeping changes (now made stark in the video) have gone un-noticed. What the video fails to question, therefore, is "why would anyone eat at such places [now]?" This is the obvious question from my perspective. I ask similar questions about a simple cup of coffee: "Why would I pay for coffee to be dispensed from a machine into a disposable receptacle (and sit on a plastic chair in a prison of a building) when I can make a proper cup for myself and drink it from a proper cup, in a comfortable location of my choosing?"

The answers seem to be that this is all a cultural thing, and I either never really fitted in with culture, or I just don't like where it has ended up (and where it is seemingly headed). My solution (as I try to apply to Christmas), is to pick the aspects I like, or find useful, and discard/boycott the rest.

What do you think?


When your Parents get a new Phone
Foil Arms and Hog | Date added: 13-May-22


My response...

While this is a comedy sketch, being in the business of setting up such devices for clients, I can attest to the accuracy of this video.

I'm convinced technology is messing with people's heads, and not just in the attention-deficit manner we are perhaps aware of, but among the older folk as memory begins to fail.

There is a breed of people that have been convinced that they need to "keep up with technology" and in order to do this, they have to buy [into] the latest crap, whether it be a smart phone or an electric car.

With all these things there is constant change, and remembering passwords for every app/service/account just reveals the cracks in minds of people losing their marbles (I don't mean to say this in an insensitive way because I see how troubling this is for people/friends/family - indeed it was troubling for me when I first witnessed it.)

Part of the constant change are those digital interfaces we interact with throughout each and every day. It might be how our email service is displayed, or the banking app we use, or the shopping site we visit. All of these things can change at a whim, and they do, and when they do, they f*ck with our heads. It's bad enough that when you buy a new device to replace an old one that you have to figure out how things are now done, but when you have a current device and things are changing with no prior warning... I can't help but think of some of the mental techniques used on prisoners to break them.

It's bad enough when our local supermarket has a subtle shuffle around of one or two sections and we approach that usual spot for the usual thing and it's not there. We become aware of something amiss; is it our memory of the place... or... "oh, they've moved things around."

The digital and online spaces are somewhat similar, but also quite different; they can also be more complex, so when things are changed behind the scenes, something we were used to going into to do something (in particular a settings change that we don't do all that often) we're buggered about by having to hunt around the houses to find that simple option that isn't there any more (numerous times I've had to "ask Google" because an interface isn't intuitive. The amount of time wasted because powers that be have decided on a new/more efficient/better way of doing things is not negligible, and it's a waste of OUR time. Add all this time up for the span of the population and we can see lives being wasted.

Originally I saw the money I had invested into technology only for it to be superseded by something newer and better, or cheaper, or just made obsolete. Lately I've become more concerned with the time cost, and the mental cost of thinking about such material things that shouldn't really matter.

My first experience with a client losing his marbles, so to speak, was when he started to call me out multiple times for the same apparent (to him) issue with his email. Something had been changed and he couldn't find his way, I think I just had to create a shortcut on his desktop to get him back on somewhat familiar ground, but when he called me out a week later claiming the same issues, and getting there to see nothing was different, I realised he was losing the plot; he was seemingly remembering how the email system used to be some time in the past, and now it looked different to that. His wife kept out of the way during these first couple of visits until she finally hinted at being aware of his mental state - I was almost convinced at first that because she lived with him she hadn't noticed a gradual decline in his faculties (and I was tempted to say something), but I sort of came to accept that she knew, but was finding ways to deal with it herself. Some time later I saw the guy go into a newsagents to buy a paper, only to queue for so long that he forgot what he was in there for, and walk out (paper still in hand).

Every other week I have to deal with people that either forget which passwords they are using for what, or are struggling to figure out how to do something they were once used to doing.

What do you think?


Brian Cox: How Can We Trust the Objectiveness of Science
Russell Brand | Date added: 09-May-22


My response...

This offering in my feed appeared quite fitting given that I'm currently reading a book about the 'history of scientific ideas' (by Charles Singer) and as I got into that I couldn't help but consider the so-called 'science' deployed during the pandemic.

First off, I don't much like Brian Cox (I'm sure I've mentioned that elsewhere). In this video clip in which the science of the pandemic is briefly spoken of, he defends science basically by saying it, and scientists (like him) can't be wrong. He elaborates by pointing out that our understanding of things (whether it can be a newly discovered virus and how it passes from person to person, or how the universe operates) is open to change.

Granted, we shouldn't blame scientists for the understanding they present, but perhaps those (i.e. the politicians) that take that information and inflict it on others as unquestionable facts.

Cox accuses people of picking and choosing their argument based on personal bias and this is where I object, and would like to point out that the science born out of the pandemic was little different to a belief system, partly akin to a religion, but given that there are still people stuck living by the advice/rules given early on, in now more akin to a cult - and which is more dangerous?

Just this past week I was walking through a port town where there were numerous foreign tourists (this I consider to be relevant), and many of them were walking around (outdoors) with masks on, some seemingly not only hiding behind theses, but using sunglasses in a similar manner, to hide from the rest of the world/society and a questioning gaze - I tended to avoid looking directly at such people, especially since I might have presented a facial expression that deemed them to be crazed cult-following morons. It's not that I consider everyone of this appearance that, since some might have a valid reason for masking up - each to their own and all that - but some appeared young, fit and healthy, rather than elderly or in a high risk category.

Occasionally I'll see someone riding a bike with a mask on. If they really think what they do, then they are surely triple-vaccinated and double-boosted; in which case they have been given immunity. Every so often if I'm visiting someone I'll be asked if I want them to wear a mask, I'll typically reply with "No, that's ok, I'm immune" which will usually be met with the response that they are too, that they've had the vaccines and latest boosters... Persistent mask-wearers are not following The Science, and if they're not following The Science, then what are they following?

If someone is behaving irrationally, are they not a risk to society? At the height of the pandemic I was occasionally spoken to as if I was such a risk when I was picking the science that made sense to me (i.e. maintain my natural immunity, get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and Vitamin D), now it appears the shoe is on the other foot.

What do you think?



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