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Comment author: fubarobfusco 26 March 2014 04:26:17PM *  -1 points [-]

I stipulate that the U.S. government has put unreasonable and unjust burdens on travelers.

But whether the attacks were a success or a failure at advancing the attackers' political agenda has nothing to do with that.

The stated goal of the 9/11 attacks was not to put burdens on American travelers, but to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia — notably to end U.S. support for Israel and force the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Muslim-majority nations. Another motive some scholars have inferred was to provoke a global war between the West and the Islamic world, leading to a global caliphate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motives_for_the_September_11_attacks

Since the attacks, the U.S. has continued to increase foreign aid (including military aid) to Israel; has prosecuted two aggressive wars in Muslim nations; and maintains significant military presence in a number of Muslim-majority nations including Kuwait, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.

The U.S. also killed the leaders of the groups responsible for the attacks.

The only stated goal of the attacks that can be charitably interpreted as having come to pass is the removal of U.S. soldiers from Saudi Arabia specifically. Those soldiers had been there as a force against the former Iraqi regime, no longer a concern.

Thus, I maintain the attacks were a huge failure at accomplishing the attackers' political agenda.

Your and your mother's ill-treatment at the hands of U.S. officials is indeed an offense to good sense, common decency, and good government. But that injustice and inconvenience does not appear on the political goals of al-Qaeda. It is a consequence of domestic maladministration, sloppiness, and corruption.


tl;dr: If Clippy fails at turning the world into paperclips and is shut down, but some asshole uses Clippy's existence as an excuse to punch you in the gut, we would not say that Clippy had accomplished its goals. We would say it sucks that some asshole punched you, but Clippy still failed.

Comment author: betterthanwell 30 March 2014 05:48:48PM 0 points [-]

Thus, I maintain the attacks were a huge failure at accomplishing the attackers' political agenda.

Osama Bin Laden (2004):

...All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two Mujahedin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qa'ida in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits to their private companies. This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers as we alongside the Mujahedin bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat. All Praise is due to Allah.

So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah is willing and nothing is too great for Allah. That being said, those who say that al-Qa'ida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise because when one scrutinizes the results, one cannot say that Al-Qa'ida is the sole factor in achieving these spectacular gains. Rather, the policy of the White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy their various corporations -- whether they be working in the field of arms or oil or reconstruction -- has helped al-Qa'ida to achieve those enormous results. And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States even if the intentions differ. And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (when they pointed out that) for example, al-Qa'ida spent $500,000 on the event, while America in the incident and its aftermath lost -- according to the lowest estimates -- more than 500 billion dollars, meaning that every dollar of al-Qa'ida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah besides the loss of a huge number of jobs. As for the size of the economic deficit, it has reached record, astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars. And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahedin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan with Allah's permission.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16990-2004Nov1.html

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 02 December 2013 06:25:11PM 1 point [-]

Other Media Thread

Comment author: betterthanwell 02 December 2013 10:28:23PM 9 points [-]

Gwern Branwen plays a notable part in this recent story about the demise of one ill-fated black market:

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/did-one-of-the-silk-roads-successors-just-commit-the-perfect-bitcoin-scam

Comment author: betterthanwell 17 June 2013 06:10:17PM *  4 points [-]

Aaron Winborn: Monday was my 46th birthday and likely my last. Anything awesome I should try after I die?

Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. In short, that means that my mind will increasingly become trapped in my body as the motor neurons continue to die, and the muscles atrophy and waste away, until my diaphragm dies, bringing me with it.

...

But yes, there is a silver lining to this all, such as it is. Kim Suozzi made a similar plea to the Internet a year ago today, and came up with the brilliant idea of freezing her body in the hopes of a distant advanced technology being able to revive her someday. Her body now rests at liquid nitrogen temperatures.

...

Comment author: shminux 09 May 2013 06:51:10AM *  6 points [-]

Here is another famous example:Chandrasekhar's limit. Eddington rejected the idea of black holes ("I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!"). Says wikipedia:

Chandra's discovery might well have transformed and accelerated developments in both physics and astrophysics in the 1930s. Instead, Eddington's heavy-handed intervention lent weighty support to the conservative community astrophysicists, who steadfastly refused even to consider the idea that stars might collapse to nothing.

I guess this is not quite what you are asking for, since the math was on Chandrasekhar's side, and Eddington was pinning his hopes on "new physics". To be fair, recent discussions about horizon firewalls could be such new physics.

Comment author: betterthanwell 10 May 2013 04:33:27AM 2 points [-]

"I think there should be a law of Nature to prevent a star from behaving in this absurd way!" (Eddington, 1935)

Eddington erroneously dismissed M(white dwarf) > Mlimit ⇒ "a black hole" , but didn't he correctly anticipate new physics?
Do event horizons (Finkelstein, 1958) not prevent nature from behaving in "that absurd way", so far as we can ever observe?

Comment author: betterthanwell 18 March 2013 06:04:58PM *  6 points [-]

With some awe and much respect, I would say that you are an inspiration, but that has already been said. I'll upvote that and say something else instead. For whatever reason, some part of my brain tells me; "Yeah, this is pretty much what I would expect the research interests of of a "supervillain"-in-training to look like". I don't pretend to know exactly what awesomeness is, but you have grown a lot of it.

Comment author: army1987 12 January 2013 06:14:32PM *  5 points [-]

That's the first think that came to my mind, but I dismissed it as paranoia. But if I'm not the only one...

EDIT: OTOH, there's this... What person makes a will at 26?

Comment author: betterthanwell 12 January 2013 07:29:01PM 7 points [-]

EDIT: OTOH, there's this... What person makes a will at 26?

It seems he published "If i get hit by a truck" in 2002, at age 16. Sad. Also, perhaps, awe-inspiring. Eliminating the problem of one's bus-factor would ordinarily be admirable... if you do it for the contingency where you simply get hit by a bus. I want, but can't, quite make myself believe that he didn't write this, at that time, in anticipation of an end like this. In that case; not awe-inspiring, only sad.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 December 2012 09:00:48PM 2 points [-]

I may have been overoptimistic. What are the odds that an anti-psychopath program will start by being run by a psychopath?

Comment author: betterthanwell 21 December 2012 02:11:07PM *  1 point [-]

Almost no chance at all. Keep in mind, the most important thing, when it comes to dealing with this, this... insidious threat, is to be intensely careful in avoiding any false negatives. There must be none what so ever. And besides, who cares, really — about a few — or a few million false positives. Oh, and this condition, it's really quite heritable, and, as head of the program, you would need to... well, deal with the children, in a like manner as that of the parents. Not that this would be a problem, of course.

Joe Stalin, the NKVD, the Moscow Trials, and the Great Purge sort of came to mind.

Comment author: alanog 21 December 2012 12:52:36PM 3 points [-]

done now, forgot you could edit these things.

Comment author: betterthanwell 21 December 2012 01:42:44PM 2 points [-]

Neat. Upvote delivered, as promised.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 20 December 2012 04:40:09PM 8 points [-]

Thanks for posting this. In the future, please consider adding a paragraph that provides a summary, or at least a snapshot, of the article's contents. In this case, you could have included this one:

For this month’s Carnival, we shall survey a selection of recent posts that are loosely arranged around the theme of existential threats to contemporary philosophy. I focus on four. Pre-theoretic intuitions seem a little less credible as sources of evidence. Talk about possible worlds seems just a bit less scientific. The very idea of rationality looks as though it is being taken over by cognate disciplines, like cognitive science and psychology. And some of the most talented philosophers of the last generation have taken up arms against a scientific theory that enjoys a strong consensus. Some of these threats are disturbing, while others are eminently solvable. All of them deserve wider attention.

Comment author: betterthanwell 21 December 2012 12:35:17PM *  5 points [-]

In the future, please consider adding a paragraph that provides a summary, or at least a snapshot, of the article's contents.

Yes. However, I would suggest not to wait for next time to do it right. Do it right, now.

I will downvote the top post, but I promise to upvote it, if and when benthamite's suggestion is followed.

Sorry for the carrot and stick, but doing so shouldn't take more than a minute.
(Which would be less than was spent on writing this.)

In response to Notes on Psychopathy
Comment author: buybuydandavis 20 December 2012 02:00:56AM 7 points [-]

Deviant but not necessarily diseased or dysfunctional minds can demonstrate resistance to all treatment and attempts to change their mind

Maybe they need better treatments. Has anyone asked psychopaths - "How would you convince a psychopath like you to stop doing X?" Has anyone let psychopaths try? Aren't they the master manipulators? They even have a readily available model of a psychopath to test out the theory on. How convenient! Sufficiently motivating a psychopath with rewards for changing the mind of another psychopath might be an effective treatment for the first psychopath. Did they try that treatment?

I don't mean to be pissy, but "resistance to all treatments and attempts to change their mind" strikes me as a huge claim. Ruling out the "it's something I didn't think of" theory is one of the worst cognitive biases.

Comment author: betterthanwell 20 December 2012 02:16:29PM *  9 points [-]

Maybe they need better treatments. Has anyone asked psychopaths - "How would you convince a psychopath like you to stop doing X?" Has anyone let psychopaths try? Aren't they the master manipulators? They even have a readily available model of a psychopath to test out the theory on. How convenient! Sufficiently motivating a psychopath with rewards for changing the mind of another psychopath might be an effective treatment for the first psychopath. Did they try that treatment?

Something like it was tried in Canada, in the sixties, with LSD, in a four year experiment where a group of 30 psychopaths were, at least apparently, temporarily reformed through unconventional means.

This strange and unique program was obliquely referenced in the top post:

...operated for over a decade in a maximum security psychiatric hospital and drew worldwide attention for its novelty. The program was described at length by Barker and colleagues…The results of a follow-up conducted an average of 10.5 years after completion of treatment showed that, compared to no program (in most cases, untreated offenders went to prison), treatment was associated with lower violent recidivism for non-psychopaths but higher violent recidivism for psychopaths.

The Insane Criminal as Therapist
E.T. Barker, M. H. Mason, The Canadian Journal of Corrections, Oct. 1968.

Here's an account from a recent pop-psychology book, The Psychopath Test:

In the late 1960s, a young Canadian psychiatrist believed he had the answer. His name was Elliott Barker and he had visited radical therapeutic communities around the world, including nude psychotherapy sessions occurring under the tutelage of an American psychotherapist named Paul Bindrim. Clients, mostly California free-thinkers and movie stars, would sit naked in a circle and dive headlong into a 24-hour emotional and mystical rollercoaster during which participants would scream and yell and sob and confess their innermost fears. Barker worked at a unit for psychopaths inside the Oak Ridge hospital for the criminally insane in Ontario. Although the inmates were undoubtedly insane, they seemed perfectly ordinary. This, Barker deduced, was because they were burying their insanity deep beneath a facade of normality. If the madness could only, somehow, be brought to the surface, maybe it would work itself through and they could be reborn as empathetic human beings.

And so he successfully sought permission from the Canadian government to obtain a large batch of LSD, hand-picked a group of psychopaths, led them into what he named the "total encounter capsule", a small room painted bright green, and asked them to remove their clothes. This was truly to be a radical milestone: the world's first ever marathon nude LSD-fuelled psychotherapy session for criminal psychopaths.

Barker's sessions lasted for epic 11-day stretches. There were no distractions – no television, no clothes, no clocks, no calendars, only a perpetual discussion (at least 100 hours every week) of their feelings. Much like Bindrim's sessions, the psychopaths were encouraged to go to their rawest emotional places by screaming and clawing at the walls and confessing fantasies of forbidden sexual longing for each other, even if they were, in the words of an internal Oak Ridge report of the time, "in a state of arousal while doing so".

...

Barker watched it all from behind a one-way mirror and his early reports were gloomy. The atmosphere inside the capsule was tense. Psychopaths would stare angrily at each other. Days would go by when nobody would exchange a word. But then, as the weeks turned into months, something unexpected began to happen.

The transformation was captured in an incredibly moving film. These tough young prisoners are, before our eyes, changing. They are learning to care for one another inside the capsule.

We see Barker in his office, and the look of delight on his face is quite heartbreaking. His psychopaths have become gentle. Some are even telling their parole boards not to consider them for release until after they've completed their therapy. The authorities are astonished.

Several of the 30 participants of the experiment went on to commit violent homicides some years after release.

An internal memo from the experiment: "LSD in a Coercive Milieu Therapy Program" (E.T Barker)

Intriguing.

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