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Comment author: Lumifer 02 June 2016 03:19:50PM 4 points [-]

I started seeing recognizable points being replaced by vomitous streams of consciousness, or article by anecdote. The blah blah blah continues until i stop reading, or gouge my eyes out.

That might be related to the process of news organizations (like newspapers and magazines) going out of business.

They used to make money. Some of that money was used to pay more-or-less professional journalists to write more-or-less competent articles and stories. Large papers maintained their own foreign bureaus, for example, and had their own man-on-the-spot who lived in that country and didn't just fly in for a few hours to do a quickie reportage in front of the issue du jour.

For a fresh example consider a remarkably candid description of how Ben Rhodes, a mid-level White House official, was able to effectively manipulate the media coverage of the Iran nuclear deal. He is quite open about it:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

As you have noticed, things changed. There is no money to pay professional journalists (or professional news photographers) any more. They've been replaced by "citizen journalists" and bloggers -- see HuffPo for where the whole thing goes.

Is it horrible and terrible and the end of the world? Well, as usual it depends :-) You gain some, you lose some. From my point of view you lose effortless access to competent summaries of what's happening. You gain somewhat effortful access (you need to do a LOT of filtering) to multiple and very different points of view. I count it as a net loss for issues I care little about and a net gain for issues I care more about. YMMV, of course.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:37:39AM 2 points [-]

They used to make money. Some of that money was used to pay more-or-less professional journalists to write more-or-less competent articles and stories. Large papers maintained their own foreign bureaus, for example, and had their own man-on-the-spot who lived in that country and didn't just fly in for a few hours to do a quickie reportage in front of the issue du jour.

Not that it stopped them from blatantly lying.

Comment author: ChristianKl 01 June 2016 11:35:07AM 2 points [-]

I don't think most people understood Aesops fables to be about a real fox at the time they were written.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:36:24AM 0 points [-]

True, and there were a number of Greeks commenting on how unusual this was.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 June 2016 02:19:07PM 4 points [-]

Storytelling, in the sense of telling a story that all the participants acknowledge to be false

That's a very weird concept of a "story".

is actually remarkably recent

Like ancient Greece and Rome are "remarkably recent"?

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:36:00AM 0 points [-]

Like ancient Greece and Rome are "remarkably recent"?

And most of their stories consisted of retelling myths that they believed to be true.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 June 2016 02:22:03PM 2 points [-]

doubt you can find any instance of a large group of people who generally acknowledge they were in the wrong and are responsible for significant unjustified harm to another large group.

Post-WW2 Germany.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:35:24AM 2 points [-]

Only because they ultimately lost.

Original thread here.

Comment author: Lumifer 31 May 2016 04:06:57PM 4 points [-]

Consider how old and universal story-telling is. Humans felt empathy for fictional characters since forever.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:33:32AM 0 points [-]

Storytelling, in the sense of telling a story that all the participants acknowledge to be false, is actually remarkably recent.

Original thread here.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:31:57AM 2 points [-]

The problems with this scenario is that it is at best incomplete as given, and the missing information is highly relevant.

Once upon a time the countries of Alpago and Byzantine had a war. Alpago was mostly undamaged during this war. Byzantine was severely damaged by this war, although they have caught up in some metrics such as education, their economy is still somewhat weaker. Alpago was the clear aggressor, and now, fifty years later, everyone who is reasonable now acknowledges that Alpago was in the wrong.

This is not the way things generally play out. Normally, after this kind of war everyone (at least outside Byzantine) acknowledges that Alpago was in the right (regardless of what an "objective" reading would suggest). While this is not always the case, your scenario failed to specify the reason.

Possible reasons:

1) While the Alpagoans were better at warfare, the Byzantines are better at education and culture and thus their version of history won out. In this case expect a lot of Alpagoans to present themselves as Byzantines.

2) Subsequently a stronger third power sided with the Byzantines and defeated the Alpagoans, without doing as much damage to them as the Alpagoans had done to Byzantine.

3) Following the war there was a revolution in Alpago and the new ruling class want's to portray their predecessors as warmongers to justify their revolution.

4) The Alpagoans are an extremely unusually fair minded people.

Original thread here.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:31:03AM 0 points [-]

By comparison, it seems like it would be much easier for algorithms to assess people's IQ

Look at the general social reaction to the existence of IQ tests. A large part of it consists of dogmatic denial that IQ even exists.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 May 2016 05:48:52PM 0 points [-]

How widely held, and how well supported, is the theory that the Roman empire failed because of overregulation and overtaxation? It's not a claim I've heard before, but I am about as far from being an expert in late Roman history as it is possible to be. In particular, how widely accepted is this theory outside circles in which everything is blamed on overregulation and overtaxation?

Overtaxation is a standard reason given for the fall of the Roman Empire, and I'm surprised you haven't heard of that before. I've never heard of overregulation being a reason; I've never looked into the Roman regulatory state, and have no idea how burdensome it was, or even if it substantively existed.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:30:35AM 0 points [-]

I've never heard of overregulation being a reason

Specifically Emperor Diocletian's attempt to fight inflation (caused by debasing the currency) with price controls. Then when that resulted in people not producing the goods being price controlled he issued further edicts forbidding people in those businesses from changing jobs and requiring sons to succeed their fathers.

Comment author: HungryHobo 10 May 2016 01:19:27PM 3 points [-]

Terrorists are a rounding error. Sure, some day they'll take out a city with a nuke but in history cities have been wiped out many many times without taking their parent civilization with them.

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:29:56AM 0 points [-]

The more technology advances, the more potentially destructive technologies get in the hands of average people.

Comment author: James_Miller 07 May 2016 10:50:21PM 9 points [-]

In response to the Quora question "What are some important, but uncomfortable truths that many people learn when transitioning into adulthood?"

  1. Every person is responsible for their own happiness -- not their parents, not their boss, not their spouse, not their friends, not their government, not their deity.

  2. One day we will all die, and 999 out of 1,000 people will be remembered by nobody on earth within a hundred years of that date.

  3. Practically all of the best opportunities (in business, in romance, etc) are only offered to people who already have more than they need.

  4. The idea that you will be happy after you make X amount of dollars is almost certainly an illusion.

  5. The idea that you will be happy after you meet [some amazing person] is almost certainly an illusion.

  6. For most people, death is pretty messy and uncomfortable.

  7. When you don't possess leverage (go look up "BATNA"), people will take advantage of you, whether they mean to or not.

  8. Almost everybody is making it up as they go along. Also, many (most?) people are incompetent at their jobs.

  9. When talking about their background and accomplishments, almost everybody is continually overstating their abilities, impact, relevance, and contributions.

  10. Physical beauty decays.

  11. Compared to others, certain ethnicities and races (and genders, and sexual orientations, and so on) are just plain royally f*cked from the day they're born.

  12. Bad things constantly happen to good people. Good things constantly happen to bad people.

  13. Very few people will ever give you 100% candid, honest feedback.

  14. People are constantly making enormous life decisions (marriage, children, etc) for all of the wrong reasons.

  15. Certain people -- some of whom are in positions of enormous power -- just do not give a damn about other human beings. A certain head of state in Syria comes to mind.

  16. Often, the most important and consequential moments of our lives (chance encounter, fatal car accident, etc) happen completely at random and seemingly for no good reason.

  17. Your sense of habitating a fully integrated reality is an illusion, and a privilege. Take the wrong drug, suffer a head injury, or somehow trigger a latent psychotic condition like schizophrenia -- and your grip on reality can be severed in an instant. Forever.

From Patrick Mathieson

Comment author: time2 05 June 2016 05:29:24AM 0 points [-]

The idea that you will be happy after you make X amount of dollars is almost certainly an illusion.

It can if you do it right, look up f** u money.

Original thread here.

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